I'm trying to track down the specification of Unity window button themes. By this I mean the specification specific to Unity, (/usr/share/themes/Radiance/unity), not the gtk or metacity specifications (/usr/share/themes/Radiance/metacity-1 or /usr/share/themes/Radiance/gtk-x.0).

The only themes I've found that appear to use this specification are the Radiance and Ambiance ones (in package light-themes).

Upon looking in /usr/share/themes/(Ambiance|Radiance)/unity, I see the images:

  • role.png
  • role_focusstate_state.png


  • role is one of close, maximize, minimize or unmaximize;
  • focusstate is focused or unfocused;
  • state is normal, prelight or pressed.

Is there some specification on how to create a unity window theme? Which of the above files is required at minimum? when each is used?

(For example, is the close.png ever used if close_[focusstate]_[state].png exists for all focus states and states already? If so, when? If not, why is close.png included with Ambiance/Radiance, which appear to cover all focus states and all states already?)

  • I hope someone competent answers you :) There is the possibility that some icons are vestigial and have no role currently. You may already have tried this, but I rename stuff and if nothing breaks over a while, I get the feeling that it isn't needed at least with my usage pattern. – user25656 Jun 3 '13 at 4:59

I've done a bit more digging, and I suspect that:

  • unity uses the metacity theme (metacity-1 subfolder) for all window decorations;
  • unity uses the unity subfolder to draw window buttons in the top unity panel only (when a window is maximized and the titlebar has been hidden (?))

(I don't currently have Unity available to me to test).

The relevant bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/unity/+bug/740232

In particular, comment 22:

This has been fixed. Check /usr/share/themes/ambiance/unity, you'll find buttons there which are loaded into panel. So, yes Unity window control buttons are now themable.

The relevant code (3/Jun/2013): http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~unity-team/unity/trunk/view/3355/unity-shared/PanelStyle.cpp#L197

I do not believe there is any documentation.

However, reading the relevant code (above) it seems like

  • The window button types are CLOSE, MINIMIZE, UNMAXIMIZE, MAXIMIZE

These seem much the same as metacity.

To find the image corresponding to the button with type type and state state, we look up unity/<type_><state_>.png, where:

  • type_ is:
    • 'close' for type CLOSE;
    • 'minimize' for type MINIMIZE;
    • 'maximize' for type MAXIMIZE;
    • 'unmaximize' for type UNMAXIMIZE.
  • state_ is:
    • '' (nothing) for state NORMAL (a button on the active window);
    • '_focused_prelight' for state PRELIGHT (a button on the active window that is being hovered over);
    • '_focused_pressed' for state PRESSED (a button on the active window that is being pressed);
    • '_unfocused' for state DISABLED; (??)
    • '_unfocused' for state UNFOCUSED (a button on an unfocused window);
    • '_unfocused_prelight' for state UNFOCUSED_PRELIGHT(a button on an unfocused window that is being hovered over);
    • '_unfocused_pressed' for state UNFOCUSED_PRESSED (a button on an unfocused window that is being pressed).

Hence note that of the images in the unity subfolder of (say) Ambiance, <role>_focused_normal.png is not used, even though it's provided in the package (??).

If the image for a particular (type, state) is not found, it looks like some sort of default button is drawn (rather than using one of the existing images).

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