Install Oxygen-transparent in KDE 4.8 (Kubuntu 11.10)

Desktop 1_002

What’s Wrong With Being Beautiful?

So, you want to make your desktop look like the screenshot above, huh?  Mystified by the process?

No more!

This guide will show you how to install and use the Oxygen-transparent theme for KDE 4.8 in Kubuntu 11.10.

What Is Oxygen-transparent?

Oxygen-transparent is a spin on the default Oxygen theme for KDE 4 the makes the widget background transparent and blurred, not entirely unlike the effect provided by Aero in Windows 7.  Oxygen is already an attractive theme that’s nice to look at, but this piece of software simply takes it to the next level.

The Process

Get Your Deps!

You’ll need git to get the sources for oxygen-transparent.  You’ll need some other packages too.  Run this command:

sudo apt-get install git build-essential cmake kdelibs5-dev kdebase-workspace-dev libxrender-dev libx11-dev

Now, since you’ve still got your terminal open, let’s finish the job.  Get the sources like this:

git clone git://

Now, navigate to the directory you’ve downloaded:

cd oxygen-transparent

Almost there kids. Let’s run the setup script.


Getting closer…

sudo make && make install

Provided there were no errors, you should be able to use this immediately. Just open up System Settings and go to Application Appearance. Click Style and find Widget Style. Select Oxygen Transparent and click Apply at the bottom.

Now, click on Configure.  Lower your Opacity to a level that’s comfortable for you to look at all the time.  Hit OK as the bottom of the window, and you are all done?

When you’re finished, maybe you can do this to your wife’s computer too…  Like this.  :)

About Dean Howell

Aside from being a huge Sega fan, Dean is an LPIC certified Linux professional with over a decade experience. In addition to spending his free time burning through the classics from Sega and evangelizing open source, he's also the editor-in-cheif of The Powerbase.
  • Mike


  • Addegsson

    Doesn’t work on my machine (kubuntu 11.10 kde 4.7.4):

    “Install the project…
    — Install configuration: “release”
    — Installing: /usr/lib/
    CMake Error at libs/cmake_install.cmake:50 (FILE):
    file INSTALL cannot copy file
    to “/usr/lib/”.
    Call Stack (most recent call first):
    cmake_install.cmake:37 (INCLUDE)

    make: *** [install] error 1″

    • Dean Howell

      Cannot copy… Make sure you have admin rights. If you sudoed, you can copy anywhere.

      • Addegsson

        Made it work by typing “1. cd build 2. sudo make install” instead of “sudo make && make install”.
        Btw this looks fantastic, thanks! :)

        • Dean Howell

          You’re very welcome.

  • X Algorithm

    Where is the background file? It wasn’t in the git repo

    • Dean Howell

      Are you talking about the awesome Sonic The Hedgehog wallpaper?

  • Nicholas James Snyder

    Hello, I tried to run the script and got the following error, (running Linux Mint 12 KDE Edition)

    make[2]: *** [decoration/CMakeFiles/kwin3_oxygen_transparent.dir/oxygenbutton.o] Error 1
    make[1]: *** [decoration/CMakeFiles/kwin3_oxygen_transparent.dir/all] Error 2
    make: *** [all] Error 2
    system make>&1 failed: 512

    Any suggestions?

    • Wahyu Yoga

      i got the same issue

      • Dean Howell

        Hey guys, I haven’t tried this in Mint yet… Do you have root access?

        • Wahyu Yoga

          i’m running kubuntu 11.10,, but still get this error,

          In file included from /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenbutton.cpp:30:0:
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h: In member function ‘bool Oxygen::Client::isForcedActive() const’:
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h:92:43: error: ‘tabCount’ was not declared in this scope
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h: In member function ‘bool Oxygen::Client::hideTitleBar() const’:
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h:119:26: error: ‘tabCount’ was not declared in this scope
          In file included from /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenbutton.cpp:30:0:
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h: In member function ‘bool Oxygen::Client::hasTitleOutline() const’:
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h:365:26: error: ‘tabCount’ was not declared in this scope
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h: In member function ‘bool Oxygen::Client::hideTitleBar() const’:
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h:120:9: error: control reaches end of non-void function [-Werror=return-type]
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h: In member function ‘bool Oxygen::Client::isForcedActive() const’:
          /home/wahyu_yoga/oxygen-transparent/src/decoration/oxygenclient.h:92:50: error: control reaches end of non-void function [-Werror=return-type]
          cc1plus: some warnings being treated as errors

          make[2]: *** [decoration/CMakeFiles/kwin3_oxygen_transparent.dir/oxygenbutton.o] Error 1
          make[1]: *** [decoration/CMakeFiles/kwin3_oxygen_transparent.dir/all] Error 2
          make: *** [all] Error 2
          system make>&1 failed: 512

          • Kenny Fairweather

            Hmm, I get this too. Kubuntu 11.10, kde 4.8.0

          • Nicksmith22

            I have the same problem… runing Kubuntu 11.10 kde 4.8 when I try to instal oxygen-tranperent iI get Error 2 failed: 512 ANYBODY SOLVE THIS ????

          • pkout

            Run the perl script this way: sudo ./ –branch stable

          • Nicksmith22

            Thanks! I finally succeeded… It was worth the effort… because really looks fantastic.. :)

  • Pingback: Install Oxygen-transparent in KDE 4.8 (Kubuntu... | Linux | Syngu()

  • Pingback: Links 16/2/2012: Netrunner 4.1, More Ubuntu 12.04 Previews | Techrights()

  • MB

    What is the “Color Scheme” used in your screenshot?
    I like it very much…

    • Dean Howell

      The Pink one at the bottom? Fluffy-bunny.

  • Windsigra

    same errors on running script

  • Windsigra

    use this command when it errors on you for step “sudo ./ –stable”

    • pkout

      I think you have a typo there: It’s supposed to be “sudo ./ –branch stable”

  • Mike

    Got this working despite your instructions (thanks to those who commented). The last 2 commands are wrong…it should be the following
    – sudo ./ –branch stable
    -cd build
    -sudo make install

    It would help if you fixed this in your article

    • Moraru A. Lilian

      Thanks, it installed this time. It was asking for KDE 4.8.4 while I am on 4.8.2 and the newest is 4.8.3.

    • Zach

      Yes, please fix this in your article. I did what you said the first time and it completely broke my system. Ive spent the last hour reinstalling.
      Thanks Mike for posting working commands.

    • akbillj

      Good job folks, this is one of my first attempts at building something, and as a newbe linux user too, I’m enjoying the new style and the learning I’ve received, thank you all.

  • Wladisov

    Ok, now how about somebody explain how to do away with all desktop effects in KDE and bring it visually to a point along the lines of a fluxbox or openbox. I love KDE functionality (custimizability), I love the KDE programs (okular, K3B), but I hate how the environment is saturated with effects. I move the mouse and the result is a mega-display of visual fireworks that serve no desirable/useful functionality.

    • jgm

      Embrace the attractiveness. If we made it look like openbox we’d get zero new converts.

    • Andrew

      Just go to system settings > Desktop Effects > General Tab > Uncheck “Enable Desktop Effects at startup”, and if you want, use the shortcut to turn them on or off.

  • Flips30240

    Great but one thing thats left off. If ./ returns an error throughout the process (like it did me) ./ –branch stable will work :)

  • Halligamar

    steps work as described, which is super. if i would like to change the git source to some other url, i.e., something other than git://, how would i go about doing that?

  • Sohussain

    Hey i installed oxygen-transparent after that once i login from the login screen all i get is a black screen with my mouse on it, nothing happens, help would be highly appreciated.

  • Izzay Carlitox Lucazz

    Whats the name of your gray color scheme?

  • Pascalproject

    after install oxygen-transparent theme, i don’t see any window have transparent!

  • Sven

    I love KDE but I hate the Oxygen buttons with a passion. actually, i cant think of one person I have put on Linux that has kept it once I show them there are other options.
    older people or those with bad eyes especially hate the small size which make it hard to click on the min-max-close buttons. Plastik seems to be popular with seniors as does the red,yellow, green round buttons too.

    I like transparent when i drag windows but the only time I use it, its not for hte whole desktop but rather I go to the left corner of the window Im using, right click on it and change Opacity. But rarely do it to more than one window at a time.

    still, i can see people liking the transparent effect so its always a good thing.

    • kuschku

      You can change both the colour of the buttons and the size of the buttons.

  • ScionicSpectre

    Yay for the shinies. I’m glad this theme is still maintained. It would be sweet if it were just an option built into Oxygen, and if oxygen-gtk took advantage of the RGBA support in GTK 3 now.

    I dream of a day when no one can even tell or care whether the application they’re using is GTK or Qt, even with crazy features like this. It’d be one Hell of an achievement if there were a common theming syntax and engine(s) on I just hope we get bored and realize when we’ve gained feature parity with objects in the real world and quit breaking things.

  • Juancarloscastilloespitia

    — Configuring incomplete, errors occurred!
    system cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=`kde4-config –prefix` -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=release /root/oxygen-transparent/src>&1 failed: 256

    now what???

    • Moraru A. Lilian

      Mike wrote:
      “Got this working despite your instructions (thanks to those who commented). The last 2 commands are wrong…it should be the following
      – sudo ./ –branch stable
      -cd build
      -sudo make install

      It would help if you fixed this in your article”

  • Moraru A. Lilian

    My title bar is not transparent…

  • Hiphoperm

    its not working for me, got Kubuntu 12.04 LTS. first I tried this manual but I could not make it work, so I tried this one. instalation was succesfull but when I used oxygen transparent, set the opacity nothing happened, tried reboot no change. do I need to uninstall the software from the first try (youtube) ?

    • Hiphoperm

      its weird, but after shutting down and turning on the netbook, its working but another problem is, that netbook is like 20times slower than it was before installing oxygen-transparent. Even if I switch back to the oxygen theme, its always slow. After shout down the Kwin process, netbook works normaly but I miss top panel of windows so I can not close, maximize, minimize … and other
      how to uninstall all the oxygen-transparent theme and its parts?

      btw I ran Backtrack 5, with kubuntu plasma desktop and had transparent windows, terminal… and it works fine, not slow so problems shoud not be in the HW (asus eee 1000H)