How to transform our Debian into the first versions of Ubuntu

Debian looking like ubuntu

Ubuntu is a distribution that has evolved rapidly in a short time and that has caused many users who loved the first interfaces of the distribution to go to other distributions.

This has stopped being a problem a short time ago thanks to the nostalgic developers who long for Gnome 2. This means that we can transform any distribution into Ubuntu 6.04 or Ubuntu 7.10 thanks to the old version of Gnome and the release of the icons and other artwork. In this case we are going to do it on Debian, the base distribution on which Ubuntu and many other distributions are built.

Gnome Flashback will allow us to have the Gnome of the first versions of Ubuntu

First we have to install the old new Gnome desktop, this is called Gnome-Flashback. This version totally recreates the Gnome desktop before the Gnome-Shell appeared. To install it, we have to write the following in the terminal:

sudo apt install gnome-session-flashback

Now we have to install elements of the Ubuntu artwork, such as fonts, icons, colors, etc…. For this we have to go to this address via terminal

wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/u/unico/gtk3-engines-unico_1.0.3+14.04.20140109-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i gtk3-engines-unico_1.0.3+14.04.20140109-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb

Now we have to download the Ubuntu light themes to be able to have our debian as the first versions of Ubuntu:

wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/u/ubuntu-themes/light-themes_14.04+14.04.20140410-0ubuntu1_all.deb
wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/h/humanity-icon-theme/humanity-icon-theme_0.6.5_all.deb
wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/u/ubuntu-themes/ubuntu-mono_14.04+14.04.20140410-0ubuntu1_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i humanity-icon-theme*.deb ubuntu-mono*.deb light-themes*.deb

And now we install the Gnome-tweak-tool which will allow us to make the necessary changes manually:

sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool

Then we have to get specific icons, cursors and fonts:

sudo cp debian-swirl.svg /usr/share/icons/ubuntu-mono-dark/apps/22/start-here.svg
sudo apt-get install dmz-cursor-theme
wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/u/ubuntu-wallpapers/ubuntu-wallpapers_16.04.1-0ubuntu1_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i ubuntu-wallpapers*.deb
wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/u/ubuntu-font-family-sources/ttf-ubuntu-font-family_0.80-0ubuntu6_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i ttf-ubuntu-font-family*.deb

And after all this work in the terminal, we go to Gnome Tweak Tool and modify the Appearance and Fonts tabs, leaving it as in the images.

Gnome Flashback

Gnome Tweak Tool

There are also elements that we can change to make our Debian completely resemble the first versions of Ubuntu, such as the file manager or the terminal. But these elements do not seem as necessary to customize as the desktop, a desktop that attracts more attention if we have this aspect but we say that it is Debian What do you think?


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  1.   mitcoes1604 said

    THANKS, nice to read, but I think it would be much closer to the old Ubuntus to use that same art (artwork) in Mate than in Gnome.

    And if a second part of the article does not cost you much explaining it for novice users and incidentally to do it in other distributions (converting those debs to arch and rpm installers) it would complete the article a lot

  2.   g said

    interesting theme for debian

  3.   D'Artagnan said

    Interesting Very interesting. Although in my humble opinion Gnome 2 has already gone down in history. Now there are other things that are better or worse for the future. For me they are better now. I think Cinnamon when fully polished will be as good as Gnome was in its day. On the other hand I think that the stability and generosity of a desktop like Debian is totally different from Gnome or Unity. It is not that it is better or worse but it is different. In any case I still think that it is interesting for those nostalgic who can be happy.