How to Theme KDE

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Hi everyone, it's me again, and I know that I've asked for a TON of help and gotten lots with the help of this forum, but I feel that it is now my turn to help. My most recent problem has been with themes, styles, window decorations, etc. I have asked numerous times for help, but it seems that almost nobody has successfully installed them, and if they did, they did not have time to give others the proper help they have needed. That's where I step in. After getting many different scraps of help, searching other sites with, and finding out some stuff on my own, I bring you the FIRST (as far as I can tell) MINI-tutorial for installing these maddening mishaps of mayhem that are one of the curses of KDE 3.2 and up. Exclamation Now, I say KDE 3.2 and up because I have absolutely NO experience with the older, now obsolete versions of KDE. Also KDE 3.2 and 3.3 are EXTREMELY similar when it comes to this "theming" technology. This tutorial is based on the END of FILENAMES (which will be explained in stunning clarity in a moment). So when you go in search of that perfect theme on, you know which part of this tutorial to use. NO successes based on these instructions are guarenteed, but having successfully followed these instructions myself, and seeing the very little other help that is out there, I HIGHLY suggest at least trying these instructions.

Step number ONE: What do I actually want to download and install? If you would like to change the "bar" on the top of your programs( the one with the maximize, minimize, and exit buttons), you are yearning for a WINDOW DECORATION. If you would like to change the scroll bar( the thing that scrolls through the entire page or screen of a program or browser, commonly located on the far right side of the program, the colors of the buttons and the patterns or colors of any "white space" that is just there in a program (take a look at Konqueror. open it up and look at the space between the buttons on the second toolbar from the top, and the "K" icon that moves when you are loading a page, most likely white or tinted gray or a tinted white color now)- YOU WANT A STYLE! If you want to change EVERYTHING (Window Decorations and the Styles + text and other oddities like wallpaper), you want an ALL IN ONE THEME! *nOTe!!!- There is a "theme manager" separate download for KDE 3.2, and a theme manager in KDE 3.3 ["K" icon on taskbar, settings, control center]. BUT the theme manager does very little at this point. It only installs themes with a .kth extension, and I've found only ONE theme with that extension, so most themes can probably also be installed by source code(a bit advanced NOT TOO HARD) or a .deb package.

Step number TWO: Let's change my desktop! This is the installation phase. Please note that to avoid some problems, you should install from the ROOT user's desktop. Although I suspect that this will work with a regular account too. Also PLEASE NOTE!!! ONLY KNOPPIX hd- installed users can install themes or any other thing for that matter. The CD live version cannot install anything. ---but first--- When you find the theme/style/window decoration that you want to install PLEASE, you MUST save the file to your HOME directory["k" icon on the taskbar, quick browser, 'home folder'] that way you will have ZERO problems. Now, Im not going to tell you how to install a specific thing like how to install a Window Decoration (this is where the end of the filenames/filetypes come into play). Go to and find WHAT YOU WANT. Click the "download" link. This may take you to another page ( usually the author's homepage) to download or will begin downloading IMMEDIATELY. When the dialogue box pops up, LOOK AT THE END OF THE FILENAME THAT IT IS ASKING YOU TO SAVE. [ filename.{this is the filetype}] Such as: crystal08.tgz - .tgz is the filetype. That's what you need to look for as you download to make sure you install it correctly. Now, ONTO THE INSTALLING.

  • Also. If you are not in the root user account, you must get into a root console by clicking[ session, new root console] in the Konsole.

--COMPILING-- for .tar.gz, .tgz, .tar.bz2 files Yes, indeed the hardest one comes first. IF your file has one of the filename- endings (filetypes) mentioned above, you must compile. People say that compiling is extremely hard- I say NO. Here we go: 1. "Unpack" your file after you've downloaded it into your home directory. [right click the file, click actions, extract here] This will create a folder in your home directory 2. Open a 'terminal program' or 'console' ( the little black computer screen with some symbols on it on the taskbar, or the "K" menu, System, and Terminal Program (Konsole) program is what you select. A rectangular window should appear. wait for some letters and symbols to appear in the window. Such as, (but text may vary) root@box:~# . 3. Type Code: cd [filename] Where [filename] is your EXTRACTED file's folder name ( no brackets of course, and DO NOT GIVE ITS LOCATION, like (/home/filename). NONONONONONONO! That is not correct. No filetypes. 4. So, after you've done that, the text in the box should have moved down a line and say: Code: root@box:~/acqua-3.2#

Demo Konsole view: Code: root@box:~# cd acqua-3.2 root@box:~/acqua-3.2#

acqua-3.2 was the name of the folder that was created after the "extract here" NOW TYPE: Code: ./configure --prefix=`kde-config --prefix` (it probably would be better to copy and paste this code directly from this page. OR type: Code: ./configure

5. that will run and cause the Konsole to madly execute different commands, which will show up on the screen as never ending words- WAIT for about 5 minutes. 6. then, type at the prompt: Code: make

7. then: Code: make install

8. The install should finish. These are generic instructions, remember, so if something goes wrong, or if you get an error, please copy and paste the error into a reply to this post. Sometimes, the theme/style, etc. needs stuff like qt version 3.3 or so which you don't have. in that case, try another. (ON KDE-LOOK.ORG, THE AUTHORS OFTEN TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE INSTALL TO WORK) Look for your installed theme/style/windowdec in the appropriate location in the Control Center.

--AHA! DEBIAN PACKAGES-- .deb files These are incredibly simple to install. 1. Open a Konsole as described above, and type Code: dpkg -i [filename.deb] This time, it's a bit different. YOU DO include the filetype at the end in the filename, and once again, NO BRACKETS. Look for your installed thing in the appropriate location in the Control Center.

--aha!- i found a suse .rpm package!-- .rpm files 1. THIS iS not a method that has been tested! Try anyway, can't hurt Wink 2. OPen the Konsole. 3. type: Code: alien [filename.rpm]

OR if not in a root console Code: fakeroot alien [filename.rpm]

4. Then perform the same steps you would as with a Debian Package.(above)

--Theme Manager-- .kth There is only one theme i found for that. If you find any others, just download it to ANYPLACE on your harddrive, open the control center, and go to appearance, theme manager, install new theme. If you want to install the theme manager and have KDE 3.2, download the manager from and compile using the above instructions for compiling. Restart the computer, and it should appear under appearance in the control center.

I hope this helps all who once were confused like me. And remember, if you run into problems, stick with this: 1. Download to the HOME directory, much easier 2. Make sure your computer matches the requirements the author specifies on 3. Run in root 4. Send me a Private Message or reply to this forum. I also would like feedback if these instructions WORKED in addition to if it didn't work. I will also post a list of themes/styles/Windowdecorations that worked for me from KDE look soon.