The Power of Plasma theming – a gallery of 23 themes [Update]

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One of the most often mentioned concerns at the KDE booth at LinuxTag was the question if Plasma would force the user to have a black panel. While we did have a second machine showing another theme to resolve all doubts it showed that not all users now yet the power of Plasma theming.

KDE is well known for the possibilities to configure it just like you want. And Plasma is no exclusion of this rule. Instead, the theming is well documented and there are already many user themes available at kde-look.org.

However, the shots shown below were made with the KDE 4.1 development version, and not all Plasma themes were created or tested for that version. Please keep this in mind and be tolerant regarding smaller issues. Additionally, I picked almost all themes which were offered via the GetHotNewStuff dialog, so there are themes of all types of quality.

But the gallery does indeed give quite a good impression of how flexible Plasma theming really is: it doesn’t matter if you want to include reflections, different colors, decorated borders or different backgrounds – everything is possible.

Update:
I forgot to stress that the shots were made using KDE4Daily in VirtualBox – there was no way to enable funky effects like transparency. Some themes do not look like they should because they are made with such composition effects in mind. So keep that in mind when judging my screen shots of themes like Glassified!

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36 thoughts on “The Power of Plasma theming – a gallery of 23 themes [Update]

  1. yes – this themes look awesome, but they all are black or gray. i would like to see something “fresh”, something that makes you happy.

  2. a very basic preview of a theme I need to finish : “Prairie” (meadow). I just have the plasmoids and panel borders for now, it still need a lot of work

    Don’t know if this is very usable but KDE is also about fun, no ? :) ATM, the main problem is that it render very badly on dark wallpapers

    Any comments ?

  3. > yes – this themes look awesome, but they all are black or > gray. i would like to see something “fresh”, something that > makes you happy.
    What about the pink (SlickBack) or orange (Orange OLED) ones?

  4. Hi,
    if you turn on composite effects then it looks much better, eg. the panels get little transcluency effects.
    And perhaps one could change the default wallpaper, it’s not bad, but a more colerful wallpaper would be nice.

  5. > Any comments ?

    Awesome! One of the best I ever seen! Post it as soon as possible! (clap)

  6. These themes are very nice, but I was always wondering why the new menu (kickoff) is not themeable. It can look pretty incosistent with the general look of the desktop. Shouldn’t every theme also define the menu appearance, so that it seems more integrated ?

  7. (Slickback author)
    I thought Slickback was more “purple” than “pink”. :P
    But hey! What can go wrong with bling’d up pimp canes?
    (Yes, I just made this theme for fun/to see what Plasma could do. I’m now convinced that you can make Plasma look like anything you want.)

  8. “if you turn on composite effects then it looks much better, eg. the panels get little transcluency effects.”

    I see other applets with transparency so why does the Panel need compositing?

    I don’t plan on using compositing as on both my Nvidia desktop and ATI laptop, KWin runs quite jerky (Compiz runs a charm on em (in Ubutnu as Kubuntu/Compiz integrated runs badly as well)?).

  9. @Danakil: It looks awesome :) Keep it up!

    @michael: OMG! You’re so funny!…….

    @liquidat: Thanks for another great post :)

  10. @DanaKil

    It is awesome you should publish it in kde-look ASAP, I would really like to try it out. :)

  11. :) That’s a lot of themes. Well at least this will stop people saying “It looks like Vista because there’s a black bar!”

  12. This is a well done compilation of growing plasma themes which are defenitely just the beginning!

    But why did you made these screenshots without desktop effects on? Now we just can see 50% of the beatifulness by this themes.
    For me as the creator of the Glassified Theme (http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Glassified?content=81388)
    isn’t this screenshot very representative, because my theme ‘needs’ the translucency espacially for the panel.
    So if people really want to see the full power of plasma themes they should go to the plasma theme section on kde-look.org.

    But nevertheless well done though :-)

  13. ffffffffff, still those black frame around icons on the desktop ( see the trash applet), sorry but this is really ugly, otherwise it is a charm.

    ps: i use glassified theme, it rocks, thanks painkiller, btw your nickname has anything to do with the game ?

  14. Simple hack is to right click on a image (in konq) and select: “View image”. In the opening tab just strip everything after ?, including the question mark.

  15. @Liquidat: If you use XRENDER compositing with kwin on 4.1 you can get compositing with any X driver (that I know of), and get transparencies and shadows and lots of other kwin plugins also work like this.

    Try it, it’s pretty cool (I can use those effects on my old 500mhz laptop even!).

  16. I think the default should be Aya because it adheres system color settings, so the taste of the user. GUI elements with hard-coded colors were unacceptable even 10 years ago.

  17. “I think the default should be Aya because it adheres system color settings”

    I understand your point of view but some people (like me) like that the desktop elements (panels, widgets…) are different from the classic windows. It help to focus on what really matters (the application) whereas the desktop things are mainly here to launchs these apps and keep an eye on some things. And I love the black themes :).

  18. Painkiller101, I had to, because I was using a virtual machine. But I will include a note to make that clear!

    Anonymous, yes, there is a bug with the gallery plugin of wordpress.com, the devs are working on it right now.

    IAnjo, I will give it a test, thx for the hint.

  19. @mimoune
    Nice to hear that you like my theme! The name Painkiller comes from a same-named Depeche Mode track.

    @liquidat
    Thanks for the extra note on your site. Keep up your nice blog :-)

  20. My reaction, so what, they even all look pretty much the same. So you can change a few colours around, and make some elements transparent. This is hardly an example of what I would have expected from a theme engine. The demo was all rather disappointing.

  21. These look sweet! I love the way the new KDE looks. Unfortunately, I hate the way it runs. For example, I often need to select several icons at a time on my desktop. The easiest and fastest way of doing this is “dragging a square” over the area of icons you want to select. I have not found a way to do this in KDE4 since icons are treated like “desklets”.

  22. @Jonathan Thomas: Neat and fun, but shouldn’t it be called “A Theme Named Slickback”? ;)

  23. It is powerful, but,

    according to plasma documentation, when you create a plasma theme for the taskbar, you can specify backgrounds for:

    # focus: background of focused task item
    # hover: background when the pointer hovers the task item
    # attention: background when tasks item is trying to get attention
    # normal: background of normal, unfocused task item

    but… what about minimized windows? Their task item always appears without any decoration (I mean, with transparent background). Is there any way to specify the background of minimized items?

    thanks a lot!
    silencer

  24. liquidat, I sent an email to panel-devel mailing list, and they added minimized minimized prefix support :)

    Hopefully we can expect a lot of prettier plasma themes now :)

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