Make your linux ubuntu look like a mac – hardy heron

Make your linux ubuntu look like a mac – hardy heron

source :
MAC OS has been traditionally known for their impressive graphical interface and stability. Now even though i have been an avid Linux follower over the past 9 years I have been using Linux still i find my self attracted to MAC OS .Now even though these days it’s possible to run Hackintosh on normal Intel hardware but it’s not stable and well there are hardware compatibility issues . So well other alternative to using MAC OS is either to purchase MAC hardware(which would be naturally expensive) and run full fledged MAC OS or you could tweak and customize your Ubuntu desktop to look more like MAC OS X .

In this tutorial i describe step by step how to make your Ubuntu 8.04 desktop look more like MAC OS X Leopard 🙂 .
Installing Cursor , GTK and Icon Theme

To install cursor,gtk and icon theme first download the package from the link given below :

Now to install the theme package we have created in the above step , go to (System -> Preferences -> Appearance) and click Install and point to our newly downloaded Mytheme.tar.gz archive.

This should start installing the theme package (Cursors/Icons/Theme) once installation is completed . Chose Customize in theme and click on Customize .

You will find a window like this:

Customize Dialog Box

In this window in Icons chose LeopardX , in Controls Mac4Lin_GTK_Aqua_v0.3 , in Window Border Mac4Lin_GTK_Aqua_v0.3 and in Pointers White Cursor .

If you have followed the steps properly the theme and icons should have been installed , and you should be able to see the new theme applied to your default desktop .

Enabling Compiz Graphic Effects and installing Mac4Lin Theme

Ubuntu 8.04 comes with Compiz Fusion pre-installed and on supported hardware offers a wide array of Visual Effect . Now depending on graphic hardware of computer one could chose from three level of Visual Effect (From
System -> Preferences -> Appearance )

None : – This mode causes Ubuntu to use Metacity instead of Compiz Fusion , with no visual effect

Basic : – Has only simple visual effects like shadows , fading windows-menus etc

Advanced : – Recommended for PC with descent graphic hardware , enables effects like wobbly windows, transparency , animated workspace switching etc

Visual Effect Dialog Box

However , compiz-fusion is capable of much more and you can enable more desktop effects /customize compiz by typing the following command in the terminal window : –

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

After completing above step , you can customize compiz by going to System > Preferences > Advanced Desktop Effects Settings .
After installation is over , open Terminal from (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal ) and issue the following command to install emerald which is necessary for using themes in compiz .

sudo apt-get install emerald

After installation is over download MacOS X Emerald theme from this link :

Now open (System -> Preferences -> Emerald Theme Manager )

After Emerald theme manager opens click on import and point to the downloaded theme package from withing the Theme Manager , you will find Mac4Lin Theme listed select the theme , click on refresh and quit the application .

Emerald Theme Manager

Mac like Dock with Avant Window Navigator

IMPORTANT : – To use AWN Compiz-Fusion should be up and running as mentioned in the step above

Avant Windows Navigator is cool little tool that allows you to have a cute looking dock at the bottom of the screen . Even though AWN is still very buggy, still because it is so feature rich and cool looking you could install it .

To install AWN you need to add extra repositories, now adding any additional repository carries certain amount of risk of screwing up your system so follow these step at your own risk :

To add repository :

echo “deb hardy main” | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list


echo “deb-src hardy main” | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

After issuing above command type the following command to update your repositories :

sudo apt-get update

anf finally to install AWN issue the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install awn-manager-trunk awn-extras-applets-trunk

Now after completing above mentioned steps AWN should be properly installed , To Launch AWN go to (Applications -> Accessories -> Avant Window Navigator )

Now you could customize AWN by choosing to add more applets , configuring 3D effects for AWN etc by going to AWN Manager ( System -> Preferences -> Awn Manager )

Three ScreenShots of AWN Manager

Though the theme which AWN comes with preinstalled is also good , you might like to try this it’s cool and very Mac like

you could install this theme through AWN Manager go to (System->Preferences->AWN manager) and go to themes there and click on “Add” and point it to the downloaded theme.

You will see a confirmation dialog box that theme has been added properly. Close AWN Manager and start it again and chose the theme just installed and press apply button to make this theme default theme of AWN.

This is how my AWN Dock looks(with the above theme installed) like : –


Desktop Widgets with Screenlets
Screenlets gives user a collection of impressive widgets that can be placed on desktop this is similar to feature available on Windows Vista and Mac OS X Dashboard , it gives impressive look to the desktop.

To install Screenlets type in the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install screenlets

Now , After the installation is over you can add Widgets/Screenlets on your desktop by going to (System -> Preferences -> Screenlets ) , you will find a dialog box like this from where you could add Screenlets onto the desktop .Also you might like to tick the checkbox “Autostart on login” so screenlets starts automatically when Gnome starts.

Changing the Log In Screen / GDM Theme

To change the Log In Screen/GDM Theme download the package from website listed below :

After downloading the package , open (System -> Administration -> Log in Window ) and there go to Local and click on Add and point to the downloaded theme package (osx-login.tar.gz) . Now you would find OSX-Login theme listed in the window , select OSX-Login and close the window . Logout and Login again you should find the new theme installed .

Log-in Window allows easy changing of the Login Screen Theme

Getting MAC OS X Leopard Wallpaper
Finally you can get MAC OS X Leopard wallpaper from the following website :

This is how my desktop looks after following all the above steps :

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney


21 thoughts on “Make your linux ubuntu look like a mac – hardy heron

  1. rockmanx says:

    the system information clock and radio and the calendar. 🙂

    Thanks for visiting

    and enjoy your ubuntu hardy heron! Im really loving it!! 😀

  2. Billy says:

    the extra repositories command is does not work i keep getting
    E: Type ‘“deb-src’ is not known on line 57 in source list /etc/apt/sources.list
    can anyone help?

  3. Liam says:

    thats nice. i like it. there is some things u could add. like the file edit view bar could be on the top panal. cairo dock looks more like the mac dock and has the fisheye effect.ur icons could be on the right side. and u could have a widget layer insted of having the on ur desktop more like mac. i like ur article it got me started with my theme. thanks.

  4. Freddie Crack says:

    open a terminal window and type sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.backup
    that will backup your sources.list file just in case
    Then type sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

    Go to line #57 and remove the quotes, you most likely copied them directly from his instructions.
    Go ahead save and exit.


    Ohh and rockmanx this is great work.. thanks for the write up !

  5. Vinoth says:

    The last link, pointing to the mac os login screen is broken, can u fix it.

    But, the screen is awesome after applying your theme, i ve tried lots of mac themes nothing worked. But your blog post is fantastic. it works man

  6. Adri says:

    Thanks for your how-to! My desktop looks great! But how do you get that transluscent sidebar showing your system information?

    Serj, do you get an error message or something?

  7. James P says:

    I have a problem on adding 2 repositories. When I typed ‘sudo apt-get update’ and ran, I got these messages:

    W: GPG error: hardy Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY A015287D24698AA9
    W: GPG error: hardy Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 7D2C7A23BF810CD5
    W: You may want to run apt-get update to correct these problems

    After that, I typed the final command ‘sudo apt-get install awn-manager-trunk awn-extras-applets-trunk’, I got these massages:

    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
    requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
    distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
    or been moved out of Incoming.
    The following information may help to resolve the situation:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    awn-extras-applets-trunk: Depends: libawn0-trunk (>= 0.3.0) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libffi4 but it is not installable
    Depends: libgnome-desktop-2 (>= 1:2.22) but it is not installable
    Depends: python (= 0.2) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: python-awn-trunk but it is not going to be installed
    E: Broken packages

    Please, help me T T

  8. chogydan says:

    if you get:
    E: Type ‘“deb-src’ is not known on line

    That is because the echo command has quotes. Simply open up your sources.list file and remove the quotes on whatever line is mentioned.

    Use this to open your sources:
    gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

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