What is the procedure to calibrate the monitor and what software to use?

Edit: I think what I mean is "colour profile" if that's what it is called. I happened to notice that the same photos look very differently indeed on my home laptop and on other computers…

  • 3
    you mean Gamma settings? – theTuxRacer Oct 25 '10 at 17:56

You can use GNOME Color Manager to install color profiles, perform calibration and adjust color settings. For full functionality, you'll need ICC profiles that provide the required information for your devices.

  • 4
    Really calibrating a monitor requires a rather expensive piece of hardware though... – JanC Oct 25 '10 at 20:05
  • 6
    Not really. The Pantone Huey Pro, which works with GNOME Color Manager, costs $100, which is nothing if you're doing professional work that necessitates proper calibration. – mgunes Oct 25 '10 at 22:06
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    GCM developer Richard Hughes recently announced ColorHug, a colorimeter with open hardware specs and drivers -- hughski.com – mgunes Nov 22 '11 at 10:33
  • Even the imaging industry standards like the Spyder4 are only around $220 (US). And the Spyder4 works with gcm-calibrate. – Ian Santopietro Feb 5 '14 at 18:37
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    gcm works if you have calibration hardware or an icc file to install (or if one of the bundled profiles is acceptable). What it doesn't do is what Windows and Mac users have the option of - go through a bunch of screens dragging contrast/gamma sliders to generate a profile for the display. I don't know of a Linux tool for that. – David C. Mar 10 '16 at 20:35

If you don't use unity (or gnome), using gnome-color-manager does NOT work (see How do you set system display color profiles in Xubuntu and Lubuntu? for the glory details).

However, there is an excellent german howto all necessary things manually: http://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/Monitor_profilieren_mit_ArgyllCMS

  • Actually, you can get it to work by either running xiccd (not in regular repos, but not too hard to install) or gnome-settings-daemon (not that many gnome dependencies): askubuntu.com/q/427821/25639 – unhammer Jun 8 '15 at 10:05

I think that a ColorHug2 (http://www.hughski.com/colorhug2.html) is probably the best choice IMHO. I want something with Linux software out of the box and this looks like the right product.

I'm writting this so that other people googling will find the product.


I ran into the same issue using Ubuntu Mate 16.04. The solution was really simple. Go to Ubuntu Software Center and do a search for DisplayCal. Their direct url is http://displaycal.net/. It works amazingly well and quite simply utilizing my Spyder 3 Elite spectrometer. You will have to have a spectrometer to do this. In a dual boot system with Windows, you can import the icc or icm profile from Windows to Ubuntu.

Hope this will help others who have run into this issue.

j.Michael Hill Photography


I am not sure what you mean by calibrate, so ill take a few stabs.

  1. You can try pressing "Auto" on your monitor, if its an LCD.
  2. YOu can try installing f.lux That will manage your color tint according to the time, and brightness setting.
  3. If none of the above are answers to your question, then try adding a few more detials to your question.

EDIT: after OP added a detail, this should help: type this on a console/terminal.

first, just type xgamma to get the RGB values, in case you want to revert. Then,

xgamma -gamma 0.9 the 0.9 is the gamma value. Try a few diff combinations of RGB.

  • 1
    f.lux seems like a nice piece of software but I think it is not quite what I need – kounryusui Oct 25 '10 at 17:55
  • just in case anyone finds this useful: an alternative to f.lux: jonls.dk/redshift – kounryusui Oct 25 '10 at 21:37
  • 2
    This answer has nothing to do with the question. – user92125 Aug 9 '15 at 22:47
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    it does provide a command line tool to change the color calibration, that's not nothing. when I start X on an external monitor, my driver incorrectly sets my color profile and my screen is unusable. Running xgamma -gamma 1.0 fixes the problem (and is scriptable). Thanks! – Colin Sep 29 '15 at 15:34
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    From man xgamma: Note that the xgamma utility is obsolete and deficient, xrandr should be used with drivers that support the XRandr extension. – nafg Jun 9 '16 at 4:47

To do a colour calibration (this is the process that the 'Calibrate...' button will start) you would need to use a spectrophotometer. These measure the colour produced by monitors or printers.

The basic process is that the screen will display a number of coloured patches one after the other and the spectrophotometer will detect the actual colour produced on the screen. This allows the software to compare the colour produced with the colour that was requested.

After the process is completed Ubuntu will have a profile specifically for that monitor (or printer) that will tell it what colour to request to get the colour that it actually wants.


If you want to change screen settings without calibration hardware, you can use terminal utility xcalib, it is in the ubuntu repository, so type

sudo apt-get install xcalib

and you can see the options with the command

xcalib -help

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