I was trying out openbox, the superlightweight window manager, and something that struck me was "Wow, this is downright ugly".

So, how do I install a ambiance theme to make it "fit in" more?

2 Answers 2


First, (if you don't already) install Openbox and themes:

sudo apt-get install openbox openbox-themes

Now that you've got openbox installed, you need to replace your current window manager with openbox - for Unity 3D, you can't do this, for Unity 2D, do Alt+F2 and run openbox --replace.

Download the theme from here

Then, open the "Openbox configuration manager".

enter image description here

select the "Install a new theme" button, navigate to the .obt file, then install it.

Select the theme Ambiance_ob_test, and your windows should start looking like the default Ambiance theme (as close as you can get them at least).


I am using Ubuntu 12.04 and I'd like to add a couple of tweaks:

Load the gnome-settings-daemon and use gtk-theme-switch (this is a package you need to install called gtk-theme-switch2) and composition:

Add to your ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh the following lines:

gnome-settings-daemon &
gtk-theme-switch2 /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/ &
xcompmgr &

gnome-settings-daemon loads most settings you may have set up in unity, such as font smoothing/argb or something.

gtk-theme-switch2 loads the Ambiance theme (unity's default theme).

xcompmgr is supposed to reduce flickering when switching windows provide shadows for windows (but shadows don't work on the latest version).

With this, openbox will look as good as Unity. Without the performance cost.

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