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Converting Older Window Maker Themes

The successful conversion of an older theme to the current scheme can be done quickly and easily, with just a little leg work.

First, some background on Window Maker theming:

When Window Maker was at release 0.52 and earlier, the themes consisted of files scattered in subdirectories under the ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker directory. With the release level of 0.60 and higher, the themes were unified under the directory ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/Themes. Each theme was organized under a subdirectory called "[theme name].themed". For example, the files of a theme called Snoopy will be found under the directory ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/Themes/Snoopy.themed.

Luckily, there are tools available which make it easy to convert a theme from the old system to the new.

For the purposes of this article, I downloaded an older theme named "Nocturne" from A quick dump of the tar file reveals the file distribution:

$ tar -tzvf ~/nocturne-0.52.tar.gz

The file Themes/Nocturne defines the "style" of the theme.

How to Convert Themes

Step 1

Unpack the target theme in the ~/GNUStep/Library/WindowMaker directory.


$ cd ~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker
$ tar -xzvf ~/nocturne-0.52.tar.gz

Step 2

Move the Themes/[themename] file up one directory.


$ mv Themes/Nocturne .

Step 3

Use the setstyle command to set the theme's style, based on the enclosed style file. Conversion to the current scheme is done automatically.


$ setstyle ./Nocturne

Step 4

Lastly, change directory to the Themes subdirectory (~/GNUstep/Library/WindowMaker/Themes) and repackage the theme using the getstyle command. Ignore any error messages which might occur; they are irrelevant. Note that you may want to clean the subdirectories afterward.


$ cd Themes
$ getstyle -p Nocturne

That's all there is to it! So don't give up on the whole rich history of Window Maker themes; you can use any old theme you like with just a minute's work. Enjoy!

Recent comments

06 Aug 2007 16:02 Avatar Romestar5

life saver
thank you so much!

01 Jan 2006 23:23 Avatar demiz

Thank you
you saved my more than 300 old themes. Thank you! Thank you!


killed my marriage, but saved my life


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