Pantheon

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Pantheon is the desktop environment originally created for the elementary OS distribution. It is written from scratch in Vala, using GTK3 and Granite. With regards to usability and appearance, the desktop has some similarities with GNOME Shell and macOS.

Project Status

Although the elementary OS release schedule and toolchain are bound to Ubuntu's LTS release cycle, development moves quickly and has recently moved to github.

Installation

Packages

Unofficial repository

Alucryd's unofficial repository contains more and more up-to-date packages than the few available in the community repository. To use it add the following lines at the top of your sources in /etc/pacman.conf:

[extra-alucryd]
Server = https://pkgbuild.com/~alucryd/$repo/$arch

Do note that some packages are missing from the repository due to issues with upstream. You will have to supplement the repo with locally compiled packages.

AUR

Alternatively, the PKGBUILDs for the pantheon packages are also available in the AUR.

As of 6 November 2018, gala-gitAUR will fail to build with the current version of mutter, and will require a downgrade to the latest compatible version (3.28). (This is the reason why some packages are missing from the unofficial repo.) You can either downgrade, package mutter 3.28 separately (do consider submitting to AUR if you do), or wait until upstream decides to adapt the most recent version. gala-gitAUR is a dependency for a lot of packages; you need to take care of this for a lot of the applications.

Desktop Environment

For the minimal Pantheon shell, install pantheon-session-gitAUR, which pulls--among other dependencies--the core components:

Services and Configuration

These optional packages provide background services and default settings for Pantheon and elementary OS applications:

Theme

These optional packages contribute to the look and feel of the desktop:

It is also recommended to install the following fonts:

Applications

These are some of the original, patched, and selected packages that comprise the optional elementary OS software suite:

Launching Pantheon

Via Display manager

pantheon-session-gitAUR provides a gnome-session entry for display managers such as gdm or lightdm.

Autostart applications with a display manager

As a gnome-session, Pantheon implements XDG Autostart.

Via xinit

Alternatively, you can use ~/.xinitrc to launch the Pantheon shell, by adding exec cerbere to the end of the file.

Autostart applications with xinit

For applications which do not provide a systemd unit, consider these options:

  • Run once when X starts:
Add it to your ~/.xinitrc Shell script, before the exec cerbere line.
  • Keep running in the background:
Add it to the dconf key org.pantheon.desktop.cerbere.monitored-processes.
Should the process stop, cerbereAUR will respawn it.
Use a program like dapperAUR, dex-gitAUR, or fbautostartAUR to implement XDG Autostart.

Configuration

Configure Pantheon via switchboardAUR or switchboard-gitAUR and its plugs (switchboard-plug-*), which must be installed separately. Not all of gnome-control-center's settings panels have been ported. In addition, except plank, all the Pantheon components store their configuration in the org.pantheon or io.elementary gsettings keys, which can be edited with dconf-editor.

Wingpanel

Wingpanel does not come with any indicators; they must be installed separately.

At the minimum, you'll probably want to install:

Note: wingpanelAUR supports Ayatana indicators, while wingpanel-gitAUR has native indicators (wingpanel-indicator-*-git).

Third-party indicators

  • If launched by ~/.xinitrc, add third-party indicators to one of the start-up methods described above.

Indicator-session menus unresponsive

  • indicator-sessionAUR relies on dbus methods provided by Unity for most of its functions and fails to fallback to gnome or systemd methods in its absence.

Plank

Adding new application icons

Either drag and drop a desktop file on to the dock, or right click on a running application and select "Keep in dock". You can then reorder icons by drag and drop.

Note: Plank stores .dockitem launchers in ~/.config/plank/ and configuration in the gsettings key net.launchpad.plank

Pantheon Files

Enable context menu entries

If you want to enable context menu entries such as for file-roller to extract/compress archives, then you have to additionally install contractor or contractor-gitAUR.

Terminal

Opacity

To make pantheon-terminal (semi-)transparent, set the dconf key org.pantheon.terminal.settings.opacity to your desired opacity; for pantheon-terminal-gitAUR, the background color and transparency are set by io.elementary.terminal.settings.background.

Known Issues

Appearance

Pantheon-terminal transparency

Transparency in pantheon-terminal is not yet fully functional with GTK themes other than the elmentary OS theme. Either use gtk-theme-elementaryAUR, gtk-theme-elementary-gitAUR or add the following code to your theme's css or the override file in ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css:

/************
 * Terminal *
 ***********/

PantheonTerminalPantheonTerminalWindow.background {
   background-color: transparent;
}

Wingpanel transparency

Wingpanel is transparent by design when using gtk-theme-elementaryAUR or gtk-theme-elementary-gitAUR, and becomes opaque when a maximized window occupies your screen. However, using other GTK themes will produce a solid panel most of the time.

To achieve the former behavior within another theme, add the following code to its css or the override file in ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css:

/*********************
 * wingpanel support *
 ********************/

.panel {
    background-color: transparent;
    transition: all 1s ease-in-out;
}

.panel.maximized {
    background-color: #000;
}