If I had to choose my favorite classic Ubuntu style that award would go to Maverick Meerkcat which was the regular support release that immediately preceded Ubuntu’s switch to the Unity desktop the following year.
Note: If you’re looking for an authentic classic Ubuntu experience updated for 2020 install Ubuntu Mate, you won’t be disappointed.
In late 2010 I was still a new desktop Linux user bouncing from Ubuntu, its variants, and Linux Mint, Arch Linux, Fedora… even Gentoo. In almost every case I installed LXDE or XFCE and styled it to look more like Ubuntu’s classic Gnome desktop. Everything played nicely in our little GTK desktop community. (Sorry KDE)
The Humanity icon theme reached its plateau and featured an orange style with some aubergine sprinkled in. The wallpaper was designed for 4:3 screens and reinforced Canonical’s love of everything eggplant.
What to Download
You’ll then need to expand the .zip file to get the .obt theme file. If you prefer you can download it at its Pling page.
You’ll also want to download an SVG of the Ubuntu Logo straight from Canonical’s Designs Download Page where you’ll find their Circle of Friends set for Web assets. They’ve got some other cool graphics but keep in mind it’s all privately licensed which is why I didn’t link to the download directly.
Lubuntu Focal Fosa
The beauty of Lubuntu’s minimalist approach is how easy it is to theme. Open the LXQT menu and navigate to Preferences > LXQT Settings > LXQT Configuration Center or tap your Meta Key and start typing to search for LXQT Configuration Center.
There you’ll find almost all the settings to change.
Open Openbox Settings and install a new theme… using 133075-Ambiance_Maverick.obt file extracted from the .zip file provided above. Then select Ambiance_Maverick from the Theme menu. Lubuntu Arc is superior so if you don’t like the look of this window manager go with another. I’m a long time fan of 1977.
Leave Qt Style set to Breeze, its the one of three defaults available with Lubuntu. Unfortunately it’s not customized for an orange palette but that’s a minor setback.
Next select your Icon Theme, Ubuntu Mono Light is also available by default.
Next select Ambiance which is also available by default.
I suspect upstream designs and the complications with application theming is probably the reason they didn’t include a orange breeze variant. I hope a Qt Yaru version of Breeze isn’t far off.
Now its time to select your system Font which is likely already set to Ubuntu.
Now select the Breeze cursor.
Time to configure Application Menu. Right Click on that little humming bird.
Select Icon: and navigate to the folder where you saved your Ubuntu Circle of Friends assets.
I stored them in my Pictures folder as I tend to purge my Downloads folder fairly regularly. Be sure to save the SVG of your choice to a more permanent location where it won’t be deleted by accident.
LXQT has a few overlooked design mistakes… Mixed usage of Lettercase in panel menus, conflicts and the rendering of panel borders, and its notification drop shadow margin.
Obscuring the border
These 1-2px borders appear around the Task Manager some notification icons but not the Application Menu shortcuts, clock, or volume control. To slap a band-aid on it we’re going to “right click” on the LXQT Panel and select Configure Panel.
Next we’ll go to the Custom styling box and create a Background color of #2b2b29 and a background opacity of 100% which will obscure the borders.
Removing the drop shadows
Drop shadows are handled poorly in LXQT’s notification pop up and some third party menus such in Firefox. Lets face it, drop shadows lost favor after the ’10s, let them live in the past.
Disable all options in the Shadow tab.
A GTK world, QT is just living in it
This isn’t a fault of LXQT but a reality of the Open Source ecosystem, QT applications look great and GTK2 and GTK3 software renders as it would in GNOME.