It's me again. I am creating an Ubuntu-based distribution by remastering 14.04's ISO (not with remastersys or any similar tool). I have all of my programs set up, including my default desktop enviroment (xfce4). But now I need to know which files I need to modify to change xfce's appearance from command line, in a chroot environment. I need to:

a) Set a default desktop background image;

b) Change the desktop enviroment/icon theme to Numix;

c) Tweak the window manager (xfwm4) settings.

I already went to the ground up from a command line to a full-blown desktop with the programs I need, but I don't know how to change those settings in the chroot environment. If possible, I would want to edit configuration files so I can put them in /etc/skel. Any help is appreciated.

  • b+c no idea. But probably the same as a: you need to find out how you change it from command line in your current install, then execute the same commands on your chrooted system. The background: you need to edit with dconf-editor. The same might apply for the theme but it could also be that you need to put it into the themes directory ;) – Rinzwind Jan 16 '16 at 20:29
  • Dconf-editor. I'll take a look. Thanks for the quick comment. – Eduardo Cola Jan 16 '16 at 20:32
  • zyisrad.com/linux-livecd-customization might help. – Rinzwind Jan 16 '16 at 20:35

You can use xfconf-query to edit Appearance settings from command line.

Set Window Manager:

xfconf-query -c xfwm4 -p /general/theme -s Numix

Set theme:

xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Net/ThemeName -s Numix

Set icon theme:

xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Net/IconThemeName -s Numix

(I believe you need to install the Numix icon theme package in Xubuntu 14.04. It was not listed in mine.)

Set background image:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-desktop -p /backdrop/screen0/monitorHDMI-0/workspace0/last-image -s /path/to/your/image.jpg

In the man page for xfconf-query:

-c, --channel
              The channel to query/modify
-p, --property
              The property to query/modify
-s, --set
              The new value to set for the property

If you remove the -s and everything after it will tell you the current setting for what you are querying.

To make your own particular changes, you can open Settings Editor. Find the left hand menu item that contains the category that you want to change. This is the channel -c. Then for the property -p you can click on the property (for example, theme) to highlight it then click Edit to get the path. Finally type the name for what you want to change it to. It is caps sensitive. If there are two words, you'll want to put quotes around it. If there is an error in the name it goes to default. You'll need to add in the specifics of your display and background image.

The commands above change the following configuration files:


Enjoy! Sounds like a nice project. :)

  • Thank you very much! Have my upvote while I can't test it (it's late in Brazil right now, so I need to do it tomorrow). I'll come back to tell you my experience. – Eduardo Cola Jan 19 '16 at 0:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.