Want A Mac OS Look With Linux Power? Have It All With Zukimac, A GTK Theme

Danny Stieben 06-10-2014

It’s OK if you enjoy the power of Linux but the aesthetics of Mac OS X — you can get your Linux installation to look more like Mac OS X with the Zukimac theme.


One of the great benefits of Linux is that you can customize it however you’d like. And while some customizations can be completely unique, others can be oddly familiar to other operating systems. We’ve already shown you how you can make a Lubuntu installation look like Windows XP How To Make Lubuntu Look Like Windows XP If you have a Windows XP user in your life, you may want to try migrating them to Linux so they can use a free, secure operating system still getting security updates. Read More .

About Zukimac

Zukimac is a simple GTK theme that supports the latest versions of GTK 3. In other words, this is for up-to-date Linux installations that use Gnome or any desktop environment based on Gnome, so KDE users won’t be able to enjoy Zukimac. It can easily be downloaded and installed with the right tools. Interested? Keep reading to see how good it is and how to get it.

Theme Elements

Mac OS X is known for its silver windows, and this theme matches that just about perfectly. It also does the gradient from light silver to a darker silver brilliantly to where even Chrome looks flawless with it — Chrome usually has some strange visual blemishes with certain themes. This great look is on all windows and panels. For example, the top panel on Ubuntu desktops will have a similar silver finish as it does in Mac OS X.

What else is Mac OS X known for? How about the icon window control buttons? These are included as well, and are extremely accurate. For Ubuntu users, these buttons will already be on the left side of the window, just like in Mac OS X. However, if you apply this theme on other distributions where the window control buttons are usually on the right side, you’ll need to move them over. You can do this by simply running the following command in a terminal: dconf write /org/gnome/shell/overrides/button-layout "'close,minimize,maximize:'". Then, do a quick restart of your system and the buttons should now be on the left side.

For a complete Mac OS look, you’ll also want to make sure your system font is Lucida Grande. Perhaps you’ll also want to look into setting up a Mac-like dock.


The only downside to this theme, really, is that it does not include an icon theme to complete the look. Sadly, nor is there any good one available — the only one available is quite old, and the Mac4Lin project has long been dead. So for the time being, you can use whatever icon theme you’d like to pair up with it.

Something else to keep in mind is that Mavericks is going to change the Mac OS look completely very soon, so this whole theme will need an update. Until then, it’s almost spot on.

Installation of Zukimac

In order to use the Zukimac theme, you need two things: the theme itself, and (most likely) the Gnome Tweak Tool, which will give you an extra set of Gnome-related settings Configure Your Gnome 3 Desktop With Gnome Tweak Tool There aren't exactly a bazillion different customization options for just about anything, as GNOME 3/Shell is still relatively new. If you're one of those people who can't stand GNOME 3 as long as you cannot... Read More . On Ubuntu, you can install it using the command: sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool. You’ll also need some GTK2 engines for the theme to work properly, which can be installed on Ubuntu with the command: sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbuf.

Then, download the Zukimac theme. Now, open your file browser, go to your Home folder if you’re not there already, make it show all hidden folders (often with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + H), and then extract the contents of the downloaded theme into the .themes folder. Once this is done, launch the Gnome Tweak Tool (or any other appropriate tool, such as the Themes section of your System Settings for users of the Cinnamon desktop environment Cinnamon 2.0 Ditches GNOME, Features Enhanced User and Window Management Cinnamon, the desktop shell using in Linux Mint, has finally released v2.0, which features new window tiling and snapping, along with enhanced user management options. Read More ), go to the Appearance tab, and then switch the value of GTK+ to Zukimac. If the change doesn’t apply immediately, do a quick restart of your system and you’ll be using the new theme!


Which Linux Customizations Do You Love?

A lot of Linux users give crap to other users that try to make their system look a lot like Windows or Mac OS X, but honestly, people should do whatever makes them happy. Even if a system looks like something else, it’s still Linux under the hood that let’s you do whatever you want. So if this looks interesting to you, check it out! It’s easy to revert back to your old theme if you end up not liking it.

What are your favorite customizations for your Linux system? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: Two penguins Via Shutterstock

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  1. KT
    October 11, 2014 at 12:45 am

    I now it's just aesthetics, but I want Compiz Fusion or something similar on my Pclinuxos MATE! Just rotating cube desktop and some effects would be sweet.

  2. Bart
    October 9, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I have an idea, it's really silly I know, but if you want your entire system to look and act like a MAC..... wait for it.... buy a MAC.

    • Steve Knobs
      October 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Yeah... But then you'd have a mac. They're pretty, but functionally leave much to be desired.

      • LayChil
        October 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm

        Linux is also used when you dont have Mac money.

  3. dragonmouth
    October 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Another example of appearance over substance.

  4. Katie F
    October 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Interesting article, I am due to be studying Linux soon and I would like to make it have the look and feel of Mac OS. As soon as I am more familiar with Linux I will be sure to let you know of my favourite customisation!

  5. Kenny Stier
    October 7, 2014 at 1:59 am

    Try Trenta OS!

    • Gee Deezy
      November 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Yeah! Let's all go move our systems over to a release that is so early in development, their website isn't even functional yet!

  6. Roger Caldwell
    October 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    If you want a Mac, then buy a Mac. 'Nuff said.

  7. Alx
    October 6, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Any suggestions on how to make Linux (peferably a gnome, cinnamon, or lastly a kde distro) look as much close to Windows 2000 (or "win7 classic" theme) ?

    • Mike
      October 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      I use Linux Mint. You can easly install a win7 classic theam.

    • Anonymous
      March 22, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      The theme you want is called Redmond

  8. Sudeepto Dutta
    October 6, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Hello Danny. What distribution are you using ?? It looks really nice. I am currently using Ubuntu 14.04 because I am new to Linux .

    Btw really nice theme. I'll try it on Ubuntu as well.

  9. Werner Bihl
    October 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Zukimac doesn't come close to elementary OS - but both are terrible as a Mac UI replacement though.

  10. J Simon van der Walt
    October 6, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    What would be *really* cool would be if there were a mac-alike linux distro which included the standard mac text nagivation commands, alt-left arrow to go back a word, command left arrow to go back a line etc. Oh, and also mac-like shortcuts for diacritics like é and ç.

    • Dels
      October 8, 2014 at 4:37 am

      PearOS? but sadly they gone