Posted by: reformedmusings | May 24, 2010

Ubuntu Lucid light themes vs. legacy Firefox and Thunderbird themes

I decided to run the Ambiance theme from Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS‘ new light theme set. It looks OK and the icons aren’t bad, but it doesn’t play well with legacy Firefox and Thunderbird themes. Specifically, the fonts colors sometimes match the background making the text invisible.

One approach is to use personas to change the menu bar background. There are some pretty slick ones, especially Electric Chaos and The Solar System – you are here. In the end, though, I found these more of a distraction. In addition, text against the complex colors of the solar system is hit or miss. The problem with dark menu bar backgrounds in personas like Electric Chaos is that the text from extensions like ForecastFox became dark against dark.

Another approach is to edit the  /home/[USER]/.mozilla/firefox/[PROFILE].default/chrome/userChrome.css file to change the text color on the menu bar. I got the idea from this comment. It’s not necessarily a perfect solution, but it does OK.

My problem was light text on a light background with the Mostly Crystal Firefox theme under the Ambiance Ubuntu theme. I needed the menu bar text to be dark. So, I added these lines to userChrome.css:

menu{
color: black ! important;
}

This produced the desired result on the menu bar, but unfortunately made the menus themselves a bit funky:

Note that the core Firefox menu items are light text on dark as they should be. However, menu items added by extensions took up the black color of the menu bar text. There may be a way to fix this, but I don’t know what it is yet. The text is still readable, though, so I’m not all that worried about it.

Change is inevitable, and the legacy themes like Mostly Crystal will surely be updated to work with the Lucid light themes. In the meantime, this workaround will do.

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