[Ubuntu 12.04 only; 14.04 see README] A theme, which despite the name, takes the ’stock Ubuntu Precise 12.04 Ambiance theme and reverts the light menus’ to their former dark design.
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This is the stock Ubuntu Precise 12.04 Ambiance theme with light menus reverted.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Update

Looking for a 14.04 update? The stock theme has changed a lot between 12.04 and 14.04. If you install AmbianceOneiric on trusty, you may notice square windows (rather than previously rounded top left & right corners), loss of dark elements in toolbars, etc.

The stock theme in 14.04 comes pretty close, though, except for the loss of dark menus/submenus in certain apps.

A workaround by Launchpad user luigimarco is available and was brought to my attention by affected user James Shriner:

  • copy Ambiance theme in my home directory from /usr/share/themes to ~/.themes.

  • open the file gtk2.0/gtkrc

  • replace the line

      style "menu" {

    with the line

    style "menu" = "dark" {


The design team at Canonical has decided to refresh the default theme in Ubuntu for its LTS release to feature light menus from light sources and dark menus from dark sources.

While the idea sounds good at first, there are several immediate issues with it:

  • It doesn't play well with other apps. E.g., Firefox and Thunderbird can be 'themed' resulting in, possibly, the wrong menu being 'given off'.
  • Even within Ubuntu the convention is violated - menus from window titlebars and toolbars, such as those in Nautilus, are light (these UI elements are dark by default).
  • The context menu on the desktop doesn't take into account the brightness of the wallpaper. While we are now used to chameleonic behaviour for the Dash and notifications, this behaviour doesn't carry across for menus.

There is a long discussion on Launchpad with many affected Users which you should read if you want the full story.


There is one known workaround which advises that light-themes is installed in Precise. While this will work for most, it throws away all other improvements in the theme since its Oneiric release. One of the most notable changes is making elements in non-active windows less prominent.

This version compares the stock theme (found in /usr/share/themes/Ambiance) against r167 from lp:light-themes instead. Only changes related to light menus have been reverted, both for Gtk2 and Gtk3 apps.


Download this repository and extract it in ~/.themes/. Use gnome-tweak-tools or ubuntu-tweak to change the theme to 'AmbianceOneiric'. Note it will not show up in the list of available themes in the 'Appearance' settings panel.


Any theme glitches should be reported against the master Light Themes project. Those related to wrong menu colouring should be reported in here.

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