We’ve established how easy it is to make Ubuntu look like a Mac but theming Linux Mint, the popular Ubuntu-based offshoot, is a little trickier.
But no more.
It’s now possible to make Linux Mint look like a Mac too, and it’s all thanks to a customised version of the uncannily accurate macOS Mojave GTK theme we highlighted a few weeks ago.
So if you long to add some Cupertino styling to the Cinnamon desktop, read on!
Mac Theme for Linux Mint 19
Mac themes for Linux Mint are not new.
But good ones? Well, they have been a bit hard to come by due, in part, to the Cinnamon desktop being based around an older version of GTK, the underlying toolkit that’s used to “draw” the GUI of many apps.
Major compatibility issues and refactoring changes between GTK versions has meant that many popular modern GTK themes were not directly compatible with Linux Mint — and that included crop of clonetastic Mac themes too.
Updated GTK in Linux Mint 19
The recent release of Linux Mint 19 changes the game; ‘Tara’ ships with a newer version of GTK that supports many of the advanced theming capabilities that themes often use.
And ready to take full advantage of the new theming capabilities available to Linux Mint 19 is prolific Linux theme maker PaulXfce.
Paul creates and maintains a bunch of well designed and well made themes for various GTK+ based desktop environments, including GNOME Shell, Budgie and, more relevant to those of you reading this post, Cinnamon.
Having recently raved about his creepily accurate macOS Mojave theme I was thrilled to learn that Paul has made a custom version of his macOS mojave theme available for the Cinnamon desktop.
Not that the task was entirely smooth sailing, as Paul points out:
“This has proven to be a much more difficult thing to do, because of the way Linux Mint uses Muffin as a window-manager, which has some drawbacks (like: Server-Side-Decoration, so no transparency in Nemo, ) and the ‘multitude’ of toolbars that take half the real-estate of the window… Reducing the size of them was my first priority.”
Undeterred, Paul has re-engineered his Mac os theme for Linux Mint, building a new Metacity theme that blends with the rest of the UI while still allowing apps using Client Side Decoration (CSD) to look the part too.
The downside is that, for now, Paul’s excellent Mac os theme only affects the look and feel of applications and app window borders. A Cinnamon desktop theme is not (currently) available (and the Cinnamon Spices website turns up nothing Apple-related).
Still; the theme is a sterling attempt and well worth trying out — even if only as a novelty. You can download the theme directly from GNOME-Look:
To install, extract the archive file to the hidden ‘.themes’ folder in your Home folder (if you don’t have one, create one).
Finally, to apply the theme, Open System Settings > Appearance > Themes and select the theme in both the window-borders and controls section.
More Ways to Make Linux Mint Look like a Mac
If you’re minded to make the Mint desktop more like Mac OS X there are some additional things you can do to curate a Cupertino-style aesthetic on the Cinnamon desktop.
You can move Mint desktop panels easily. Just right-click on an empty section of the panel, choose the ‘Properties’ menu option and, from the settings you see, move the panel from the bottom of the screen to the top.
This makes way for what is surely the most iconic element of the Mac desktop: the dock.
A chunky task bar, the dock puts large app icons and folder shortcuts within reach at the bottom of the screen. There are plenty of Linux docks available but we think that Plank is by far and away the best. You can install Plank on Linux Mint be searching for it in the Software Manager app.
You can add more applications to your Plank dock by dragging a shortcut out of the Mint Menu and dropping it on to the dock. You can even add folders to Plank too!
- Change the desktop wallpaper to a Mac background
- Replace the bottom panel with a dock app like Plank
- Install a Mac icon theme for Linux
- Move the bottom panel to the top of the screen
- Install/enable Nemo Preview, analogous to Quick Look
- Install Synapse, Kupfer, Alfred or similar for a Spotlight equivalent
So get started and share your screenshots in the comments.