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Off-Theme Presents: Commonality

For the fourth installment of Off-Theme we have a global theme based on the granddaddy of all the classic Unix desktops, a desktop that ruled the roost of the workstations from a bygone era. It is time to pay tribute to the DE that once dominated the Unix world.

(In case you don’t know what Off-Theme is, check out the Going Off-Theme introductory post and you’ll be introduced to the series while learning stuff that could come in handy when installing and managing global themes showcased in the series.)

The Motif: What is Commonality?

Desktop using the Commonality global theme

Elisa (top left), Konsole (bottom left), and KWrite (right) are open in a tiled layoutDesktop using the Commonality Sol global theme

Elisa (top left), Konsole (bottom left), and KWrite (right) are open in a tiled layout
Commonality (left) and Commonality Sol (right)

Commonality, and its Solaris-flavoured variant Commonality Sol by phob1an, are global themes inspired by the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). CDE was the king of desktop environments back in the day, often found on Unix workstations running Solaris, HP-UX, and many others. In fact, it was The Standard Desktop among Unices for a while. A most notable exception to this were the Unix workstations running SGI IRIX, but there’s another global theme from the same themer for that. The soon-to-be-usurpers KDE, GNOME, and Xfce all took major cues from CDE, since, at the time, CDE and its toolkit, Motif, were not yet open-source.

Commonality comes with a Konsole colour scheme and a theme for your login screen for a common look across your system.

Login screen themed with Commonality

On the left:

Welcome to Plasma-Desktop
Enter your username and password

Username: Phobian347
Password: [empty]

Shutdown, Reboot, session switcher (IceWM session selected), and Login buttons beneath the Username and Password text fields

On the right:

Login screen themed with Commonality
Konsole with the Commonality colour scheme, themed with the Commonality global theme alongside Krusader

There are Kvantum themes for Commonality and Commonality Sol available.

The recommends: Icon Themes, Qt Style Plugins, and a lot more

The icon theme: GNUstep

A LXQt desktop using the GNUstep icon theme
A LXQt desktop using the GNUstep icon theme

GNUstep from themer abgr is an icon theme using both icons from the titular toolkit’s ecosystem and original icons in the same, NeXT-esque style. It’s here since it strongly evokes the 90s UNIX aesthetic, the same era which CDE also hails from.

The icon theme: KDE 1.1.2

Collection of icons in the KDE 1.1.2 Style icon theme

KDE 1.1.2 Style is an icon theme created by vasszo which recreates the default iconset from KDE 1.1.2, but as vector icons. KDE 1 took plenty of cues from CDE, so some of that CDE look shines through even in this modernised take. It blends the old and the new in an interesting remix.

The mouse cursor theme: KDE Classic Remastered

KDE Classic Remastered mouse cursors beside old renditions of the KDE logo and Konqi

KDE Classic Remastered is the default mouse cursor set from KDE 3 and earlier redone in SVG by Alexis Ruiz to be scalable at multiple sizes.

The Firefox theme: CDE

Firefox using the CDE theme

English Wikipedia page for Common Desktop Environment
Firefox using the CDE theme

CDE from Goodra is, as the name suggests, a Firefox theme using CDE colours. Highly recommended for anybody using this web browser for matching it with the rest of the desktop using Commonality.

The Firefox theme: Solaris8 Style

Firefox using the Solaris8 Style theme

English Wikipedia page for Oracle Solaris
Firefox using the Solaris8 Style theme

Solaris8 Style by nuthatch is a Firefox theme based on the CDE colour scheme of older Solaris releases. This is best used with the Commonality Sol global theme.

The GTK theme: Common Desktop

GTK3 Widget Factory using the Common Desktop theme

Common Desktop by Christian Medel and the B00MERANG Project is a GTK3 theme based on the CDE look from old Solaris releases. Best paired with the Commonality Sol global theme for GTK3 apps to make them mesh well with the system.

The Qt style plugins: CDE and Motif

Applicationg Style settings in System Settings

Style labeled "cde" is selected
Application Style settings

Some distributions have a package containing extra Qt Application Styles. These include styles intended to mimic CDE and the Motif toolkit as accurately as possible. When available, either of these can be used without the need to install a Kvantum theme.

The End… Or is it?

The four themes of Off-Theme: Commonality (left), Graphite (top), Nostrum (bottom left), and Shades of Purple (bottom centre)

And with that we reach the end of the Off-Theme series… At least for now.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this showcase of some interesting global themes! Perhaps you’ve already picked one of them for your Plasma setup. Or maybe you have been inspired with ideas to make your own.

Off-Theme may return someday, given the right circumstances. With enough suggestions and qualifying global themes, this probably won’t be the final curtain call. But for now, goodbye and may your themes persist!

One thought on “Off-Theme Presents: Commonality

  • @win8linux CDE tribute theme? First response probably is “shut up and take my money. Need to give it a try I guess. It’s been a while… 😁

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