How to install Mac OS X Theme for Ubuntu 11.04

Upon installing Ubuntu 11.04, the first thing I done was play about with different backgrounds and themes. After wanting something a bit more than what was available, I decided to try out the Macbuntu theme.

Which, funnily enough, makes your Ubuntu desktop look similar to a Mac running OS X.

Real Deal: This is Ubuntu 11.04 Running the Macbuntu Theme


Not only does the theme imitate the Mac operating system’s looks pretty well, but it also installs some very cool applications at the same time. Applications such as Ubuntu Tweak, Compiz Extras and ‘Docky’ – which displays a dock at the bottom of your desktop containing different programs similar to that on a Mac. The theme also has a custom-login screen and global menu.

It also installs various effects that you see on a mac aswell, such as the Genie/wobbly window effect and 3D desktop rotate cube (shown below). There are also many other effects you can enable such as the ‘Expose all windows’ option – this allows you to see all currently open windows in mini-windows on the desktop. You can also enable the ‘window swift-switcher’ – which allows you to slide between different open windows.

Macbuntu: Genie/Wobbly Window Effect

Macbuntu: 3D Desktop & Rotate Cube via Compiz Manager

Macbuntu: Expose all windows feature

Macbuntu: Window Swift-Switcher Feature

Installing this theme is very straight forward, but as it was designed for Ubuntu 10.10, there is one small thing we have to do for it to install properly on 11.04. Follow the steps below and you’ll have your Macbuntu theme installed in no time (this should take around 5-10 minutes). This guide will presume you are running Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwhal.

Step 1 – If you are using the Unity shell (default 11.04 layout) we first need to log-out, then re-log in using the GNOME (or Ubuntu classic) in order for the theme to work. When you log out and are just about to log back in, look at the very bottom of your screen, 3 drop-down boxes will appear, click on the one furthest to the right and select Ubuntu classic, then enter your password if you have one and sign-in. It is very important we use the Ubuntu classic using the Macbuntu theme otherwise it will not work properly. You shouldn’t have any problems at this stage, but if you do please write in the comment box below and I’ll help you out.
Step 2 – Download the latest version of Macbuntu from here. Once downloaded, extract the Macbuntu 10.10 folder to your desktop. After extraction, open the folder and look for a file called We need to edit this file so that the theme installs in 11.04 instead of 10.10. Dont worry its easy.
Step 3 – Once you have found the file, double-click it and choose ‘display’. This will open the file in an edit menu. You should see some code now. Scroll down the code slowly until you find this section….
echo “”
echo “Checking Ubuntu version…”
s=`cat /etc/issue | grep -i “$UBUNTU”`
if [ ! -n “$s” ]; then
echo “Failed. System not supported, script will end here”
echo “To ignore their compatibility with current OS try ./ force”
echo “Exiting…”
exit 1;
echo “Passed”

Now drag your mouse over the code (highlighted in red above) and hit delete so the code now looks like…

echo “Passed”

Click save and close the edit window. 

Step 4 – Now that we have modified the code so that the install will work for Ubuntu 11.04, open up a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+T by default). When the terminal window opens, simply drag the file from the Macbuntu folder on your desktop into the terminal and press enter, this will start the installation.

Step 5 – That’s it really. All you have to do now is follow the install through and answer the questions it asks you: such as ‘do you want to enable wobbly windows (y/n)’. I said yes (y) to all of them as I wanted the theme to resemble the Mac theme as much as possible so I said yes to all of them. It will also ask you which size of Apple logo and font type you would like, I just chose the default options and it looks awesome.

To enable the dock on your theme (the bar at the bottom of the desktop with all the various icons) – you can do this by clicking the small apple logo in the top left hand corner of your screen, then accessories then select ‘Docky’. There is also an option within docky so that it appears each time you log in, this saves you having to select Docky from the accessories menu each time you log it.


About smellslikevictory

BEng (Hons) graduate in Electrical & Electronic Engineering. Enjoy travelling, working out and all things techy

Posted on October 14, 2011, in How-to-Guides, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hope it will work…. i am going to install it on my Sony Vaio laptop….!!

  2. Thanks for this excellent tutorial . i can install mac theme on ubuntu properly but i have a problem. i can not find “Docky” under accessories so that mac theme does not show the bottom panel. how can i solve this problem ??

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