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How To Install The Pop GTK Theme On Linux

One of the largest Linux PC manufacturers has their own desktop theme now; the Pop GTK theme It’s built for GTK and works well with Gnome Shell, Gnome Shell, Gnome Classic, Unity 7, Xfce, Mate LXDE and even Budgie. The theme itself is based on the popular Materia theme.

SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.

Overall, the Pop GTK theme is mainly for System 76’s own Pop OS Linux distribution. Pop OS uses Ubuntu as a base, so it’s not surprising that the main instructions for this theme center around it. However, just because system 76 would prefer you install it on Pop OS, doesn’t mean it’s not possible to use it on other Linux distributions.

In this tutorial, we’ll go over exactly how to install the Pop GTK theme for all major Linux distributions. In addition, we’ll go over how to install the Pop icon theme (a must when using this GTK theme).

Installing Dependencies

There are several libraries and important tools needed for Pop to build correctly. Specifically, you’ll need Sassc, Inkscape, Optipng, and Libglib2. Additionally, Git is required to interact with the System76 Pop theme Github repository. Open up a terminal and follow the instructions.


sudo apt install libsass0 sassc inkscape optipng libglib2.0-dev-bin git gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbuf


sudo apt-get install libsass0 sassc inkscape optipng libglib2.0-dev-bin git gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbuf


sudo dnf install inkscape optipng gtk-murrine-engine sassc git


sudo zypper install install inkscape optipng gtk-murrine-engine sassc git

Other Linuxes

Building the theme on Linux distributions not mentioned isn’t impossible, though not as easy as the listed operating systems. To get started on a lesser-known Linux distribution, head over to Pkgs.org and search for the various dependencies you’ll need to build the code. Additionally, consider checking out the theme’s official Github page, as it may help as well. Be sure to also look through your operating system’s official Wiki for these packages as well.

Here are the items you’ll need in an easy to read list:

  • sassc
  • git
  • inkscape
  • optipng
  • gtk-murrine-engine

Install Pop GTK Theme From Source

Now that the important files and libraries are present on the system, we can pull the code directly from Github and start building the Pop theme. Start off by opening a terminal window and using the Git tool to download everything. Keep in mind that this part of the guide doesn’t need sudo or root access.

git clone https://github.com/pop-os/gtk-theme

Let Git download the source code. When it finishes, use the MV tool to rename the folder from gtk-theme to something more appropriate. This isn’t required, but it will help as the Git downloader labels the folder something generic and you may forget what the folder is for.

mv gtk-theme pop-theme

Next, use the CD command to change directories from where the terminal started to the newly created Pop theme folder.

cd pop-theme

Downloading the source code from Github means that the theme isn’t in a usable state. To change this, you’ll need to run the make command.


Make will quickly compile the theme and change it from unusable to useable. From there, use make install. At this point, it’s OK to use sudo, as we want the Pop theme to install for every user.

sudo make install

Install Via Ubuntu PPA

Are you an Ubuntu user and don’t really feel like going through the trouble of building the Pop GTK theme from source? If so, you’re in luck as there’s a PPA available. To enable the PPA, first open up a terminal window. Once open, enter the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:system76/pop

The new Pop PPA is on your Ubuntu PC. Next, update Ubuntu’s software sources so that it can see the new PPA and allow you to install software from it.

sudo apt update

After updating, you may notice that some updates are available for installation. Quickly get them out of the way with the upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Lastly, install the new Pop GTK theme with apt install.

sudo apt install pop-gtk-theme

Need to uninstall the theme? Try apt uninstall:

sudo apt uninstall pop-gtk-theme

Install Via Arch Linux User Repository

Arch users have it easy, as compiling and installing the Pop GTK theme is much easier. Getting it working starts by installing the Git tool with the Pacman packaging tool.

sudo pacman -S git

From there, use Git to download the latest pkgbuild file of the Pop theme from the AUR.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/pop-gtk-theme-bin.git

Pop Icon Theme

System76 recommends users of the Pop GTK theme also install the Pop icon theme. If you’ve already added the Pop PPA on Ubuntu, installing the icon theme is as easy as:

sudo apt install pop-icon-theme

Otherwise, visit this Git page to learn how to build and install the theme from scratch.

Enabling The Pop GTK Theme

As mentioned before, Pop supports all major GTK desktop environments. Once it is built and installed, enable it through the theme settings in your desktop environment. Having trouble enabling these themes? If so, do yourself a favor and check out our in-depth customization guides. They go over in detail how to apply themes!

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