Android fans pining after Material You-inspired personalisation on their Linux desktop need look no further than the following new GNOME Shell extension.

When enabled, ‘Material You Color Theming’ GNOME extension generates a patched version of GNOME desktop’s stock libadwaita theme accented by colours pulled directly from the desktop wallpaper.

Then, every time you change your wallpaper the extension generates a new re-coloured Adwaita theme that affects the appearance all installed GTK4/libadwaita applications from the archive:

material you gnome libadwaita with a blue tint
Material You, GNOME-stylee

The exact “tone” the extension derives from a wallpaper isn’t rarely obvious or predictable, making the end result surprising – mostly in the good way. That said, you will want to try out a variety of different wallpapers to find a colour palette combination that suits your own tastes or mood.

The look can be applied (albeit with a bit of extra effort) to GTK3 apps using the ‘libadwaita’ GTK3 theme, and it is able to recolour GTK4 Flatpak apps too once permission is granted through an app like Flatseal. Instructions for how to apply Material You tones to those can be found on the extension’s GitHub page.

Frustratingly (though no fault of the extensions) you must quit and re-open all libadwaita apps after generating a new theme (i.e. the new theme is not applied automatically).

But when the results are can look as sweet as this, it’s more than worth the small interruption:

It works with light and dark variants

You must be running GNOME 42 to use the ‘Material You Color Theme’ extension. You should also keep in mind that the extension works with libadwaita apps primarily, and does not affect Ubuntu’s default Yaru theme.

This extension has been updated a few times since I discover it. It will ‘reset’ (i.e. undo) changes made by the extension when disabled (so you don’t need to delete ~/.config/gtk-4.0/gtk.css and ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css as a workaround).

There are also a handful of options available including various color profiles, a toggle to disable the “restart” notification, and values for wallpaper sampling width/height.

In summary, this ‘Material You’ implementation for GNOME work really rather well. It’s certainly much faster than downloading an entirely separate theme (with modest differences) and then applying it using the GNOME Tweak tool.

Give this extension a try from GNOME Extensions website (though my pro tip: use the Extension Manager app instead, it’s much easier) and do let me know what you think of the results down in the comments.

This extension + Blur My Shell + Dash to Panel = 🫶

Download News Eye Candy GNOME Extensions libadwaita material design