Do you want to customize your Ubuntu desktop with the transparent panels, menus, and windows? As we know, Compiz can do the job, but what if you don’t need a complete transparency and want the font and controls/buttons is still perfectly visible?

This tutorial is about how to enable RGBA transparency in Gnome desktop, and this might be what you want.

Preparation :

To get RGBA transparency enabled in your Ubuntu, first you need to install and enable graphics driver properly.
And in right-click desktop menu “Change Desktop Background” option Visual Effects tab, make sure Normal or Extra was enabled.


Open up a teminal from Appications -> Accessoires menu and add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:erik-b-andersen/rgba-gtk
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now, install gnome-color-chooser and you can use it to enable RGBA:

sudo apt-get install gnome-color-chooser gtk2-module-rgba

Launch gnome-color-chooser at System > Preferences > Gnome Color Chooser. Go to Engines tab, tick “Global” and select “Murrine” in the drop-down box.

Now, click Preferences button to go to its configuration window and check the two check-boxes after “Configuration of Enable/Disable RGBA support”

Finally, logout and back in.


1. You can also install murrine themes with below command, and use it in right-click desktop -> Change Desktop Background -> Theme tab -> click Customize button.

sudo apt-get install murrine-themes

2. Due to bugs, the panel is only partially transparent and only GTK+ applications support RGBA transparency.