Sadly, the integration of those GNOME apps (which rely on a theme engine known as GTK) with KDE’s appearance (where KDE uses a theme engine known as Qt) has never quite worked out. In turn, GNOME apps looked straight out ugly when run under KDE, as seen in the screenshot below.
The need for a better solution was increasing greatly as time passed. Not too long ago, though, a new project has started to try to finally bring the sides closer, and I must say it does quite an exceptional job.
The package we’re talking about is called Oxygen-GTK.The aim of this package is to visually integrate GNOME apps with KDE’s main theme, called Oxygen. Why is this project different than all the other attempts to visually match KDE? Aside from the fact that this package actually works as people might expect, there’s really nothing too much fancy about it. Other projects tended to use outside theme engines (neither GTK nor Qt), and the final results were never more than a nice attempt (in my personal experience). Oxygen-GTK takes the simple approach of using the GTK engine to look almost exactly like the default Qt version. The only inconsistency I ever found so far was that menu items were more spaced out. That was it.
To get Oxygen-GTK on your system, you can go to your package manager and search for
. Unless your distro has strange naming schemes on many packages, you should be able to find it right there. If not, just search with ‘oxygen’ and scroll around.
You can also download the latest files yourself, but note that your distro should have the latest version that goes with your version of KDE.
The latest version of Oxygen-GTK that is being offered (v1.1.0 at the time of this article) is actually meant for KDE 4.7, which at the time of this article hasn’t yet been released as stable. For future versions of Oxygen-GTK, please read the information on the download page to make certain you’re using the correct version. If you downloaded your own copy instead of installing the package, you can extract the contents of the download to
so that the system correctly identifies that it exists on your system.
Once that is installed, you’re not done yet. Even though the package is installed the system does not know that it should use it instead of the current “ugly” theme for GNOME apps. To finalize the changes, you’ll need to go into your Desktop/System Settings, then Application Appearance, and finally GTK+ Style. Here you need to change the widget style to oxygen-gtk. Hit Apply, and now you can open any GNOME application and see that it visually fits right along all your other applications!
Oxygen-GTK is a great way to get the best of both worlds and to enjoy your desktop experience. Remember that this is a way to visually integrate GNOME apps to the KDE desktop, but GNOME applications may still operate under settings stored and changed by GNOME tools. The KDE Control Panel may not be able to change a setting that will affect GNOME apps. However, KDE apps will always follow the changes.
Are you someone who’d like to use KDE but still keep the GNOME apps? Would a solution like this allow you to make the switch? What would you like to see happen? Let us know in the comments!