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Thread: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    As a Star Trek fan I have always had a mild urge to turn my desktop into an LCARS terminal. For years, when I was younger, I was frustrated by Windows, and its inability to customize, so I gave up my dream.

    Recently after using Ubuntu for a few years I realized that now, with the help of Gnome, I could finally turn my desktop into the LCARS terminal I had always dreamed of. I searched around for pre-existing LCARS themes for GTK-2.x but found that the only avaliable themes were for GTK-1.x and were relatively ugly.

    I finally had enough of searching and decided to create my own theme with the following criteria:
    (ranked by importance)

    1) Intuitive and easy to use.
    2) Can be used for extended periods of work.
    3) Resembles LCARS as much as possible.
    4) Easily customized by other users.

    Keeping these criteria in mind I decided to write the main part of my theme using a meta-city theme. Because of this the theme is somewhat crude: no transparencies, no rounded window edges, etc. However, it is easy to use, fast, and very easily customized. I actually took the basic outline to the Sandwish theme (standard with 6.06) and modified it to fit my needs.

    I then found a GTK theme that would mesh well with the meta-city theme, and decided on "darkening" which gives a simple dark approach. Using gdesklets I was able to come up with a decent menubar look, and I finished it off with some system monitors and a customized background.

    The shades of blue for this theme (active window, inactive window, background) were all taken from First Contact. I realize that using only blue is significantly different from most LCARS terminals, but I also felt that having a bunch of colors would make extended use with the theme a bit tedious.

    The theme, along with screenshots is available at:

    To install the theme, as seen in the screenshots, follow these instructions.

    1) Download the "darkening" theme from

    2) Install the "darkening" theme. This can either be done manually, or by Menu->System->Theme. Once the theme box has opened, drag the file onto the list and the theme will install automatically.

    3) Download the LCARS theme from

    4) Install this theme, same as step 2.

    5) Install GDesklets and OpenBox. This can be done with the Synaptic Package manager. Just search for GDesklets and OpenBox and mark for installation.

    6) Get the latest version of GnomeBar (2.22) from

    7) Install the GnomeBar by opening the GDesklets manager and dragging and dropping the .tar file into the list.

    8) Add the GnomeBar to your desktop along with whatever system monitors you want. Customize away!

    9) The background is included in the .tar package of the theme. Just extract "Voyager.png" and use it as the background.

    10) The Federation icon is also located in the .tar package of the theme. Exctract it (menu.png) and then use it by changing the icon for the menu in GnomeBar.
    Last edited by philten; July 10th, 2006 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Re: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    Nice Idea, but i suggest to use "39187-Polycarbonate-Dark-0.6.1" not darkening, you get problems with OpenOffice if you use it with darkening.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Re: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    2nd download link won't work

    can you make it easier to install please?
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Birmingham UK
    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    Good stuff, might try and tweak it to the yellow, orange color schemes
    If you're not paranoid, you're not paying enough attention

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    Can you please reupload the link please!!! i realy want this theme!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Re: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    Downloaded and tried to install but no luck it says file format invalid.
    I really would love to get this working on my Ubuntu computer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    Too much blue. An LCARS display usually gravitates more to soft oranges and purples than blue. Nice effort, though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Portland, OR
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: HOWTO LCARS Desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoonakwa View Post
    Downloaded and tried to install but no luck it says file format invalid.
    I really would love to get this working on my Ubuntu computer.
    I also had this problem. Did anyone find a solution?


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