In Ubuntu 23.10 the default Yaru theme uses a light style for GNOME Shell elements — but there’s a new GNOME extension that lets you change this without affecting the rest of your desktop.
Upstream GNOME Shell uses Adwaita, and Adwaita gives the Quick Settings menu, the calendar applet, and desktop notification a dark background.
Ubuntu 23.10 uses a light background for these elements (though the distro has flipped between light and dark a few times in earlier releases).
You can make GNOME Shell dark in Ubuntu by turning the ‘Dark Style’ toggle on but that also makes apps use a dark theme too. Not everyone wants that; they want a ‘mixed’ look.
Now, the obvious: many Ubuntu users neither notice nor care about the background colour used by GNOME Shell (and just because I’m writing this post I’m not suggesting they should, either).
But if you would like to use dark GNOME Shell elements in Ubuntu 23.10 without using the dark mode preference (which, as said, will turn your apps dark too) then the Dark Style GNOME extension is exactly what you need.
It gives you that upstream ‘mixed theme’ GNOME look, but Yaru-style:
This particular extension (which fact fans may be interested to know is a fork of GNOME’s “Light Style” extension) only works with Ubuntu 23.10 and GNOME 45.
Obviously, Ubuntu 23.10 isn’t out at the time I write this (the beta is coming on September 21) but I figured I’d write about the extension anyway. That way folks will know it exists and that it’s there waiting for them once the Mantic Minotaur makes its debut.
If you’re running daily builds, go try it out!