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Your CL new (easily customizable) looks



Let’s admit it: the appearance of Calculate Linux 17 and earlier was not easy to configure. As all system tools use static paths to image files, you can not change anything unless you delete the theme package first, or create and apply templates for more automated configuration. In the latter case, you had also to think about image resolution, so that not to overload your computer with too big a wallpaper, nor to distort a too small one. And should you want to change appearances on a CL Live USB drive, bootable on different hardware, you had provide for all possible resolution patterns, at least for the Grub or bootup screen. All this was cumbersome and tricky. That is why Calculate users often preferred standard appearance, even though many maintained their customized version of the distribution.

It took us some time to find a flexible solution for unfamiliar or non-expert users, working either on a hard disk or on a Live USB drive. Calculate tools and templates were rewritten.


If you have never updated your CL system before, it’s time now! Once updated, a new file, ini.env.example, will appear in the /etc/calculate/ directory. Note that it is indented identically to the smb.conf.default file. The file contains three sections: “system”, “theme” and “profile”, for advanced settings of the system, its themes, and the user profile, respectively.

ini.env.example is a dinamically generated file. For instance, the “profile” section contains only settings that are available on your desktop system, while on a server CL no “profile” is suggested at all and the “theme” section is much shorter. As well as /etc/portage/make.conf/custom, the ini.env.example file is localized.

If you want to modify the theme settings, simply rename the file you are editing as ini.env and remove the commentary symbol, ‘;’ at the beginning of the relevant lines. To apply the new parameters, use the cl-setup-themes command. Note that you can also modify them on a Live USB. To do so, use option ‘–update-themes’ with cl-builder-image.


Example 1. Get a new wallpaper

# Download a wallpaper image file (the paths are likely to be different):

wget -P /usr/share/themes/MF

# Edit the image path:

cp /etc/calculate/ini.env.example /etc/calculate/ini.env
vi /etc/calculate/ini.env
profile-background = /usr/share/themes/MF/wallpaper.jpg

# Update the theme settings:


The wallpaper will be updated immediately if you never changed it after installation. If this is not the case, please go to the Desktop settings and choose the new wallpaper manually. If nothing happens still, relogin to the session.


In the “profile” section of ini.env note the ‘appearance-wallpaper’ option. It can be used as well to specify the image path that Calculate templates refer to when configuring the profile. In the example above, though, the image resolution will be adjusted automatically to the screen size.

Example 2. Change your boot screen

# Download an image you want for your boot splash screen:

wget*.jpg -P /usr/share/themes/MF

# Edit the image path:

vi /etc/calculate/ini.env
splash-silent-background = /usr/share/themes/MF/splash-silent.jpg
splash-verbose-background = /usr/share/themes/MF/splash-verbose.jpg
splash-shutdown-background = /usr/share/themes/MF/splash-shutdown.jpg

# Update the theme settings:


Now have a look at your boot screen:

splash_manager -c demo --steps=20 -t calculate


…and at your shutdown screen:

splash_manager -c demo --steps=20 -t calculate_shutdown


Press Ctrl+Alt+F1 to visualize your command line background image. To switch back to the window manager environment, press Alt+F7.


Example 3. Make your Grub look nice

# As before, start by downloading an image:

wget -P /usr/share/themes/MF

# Edit the image path:

vi /etc/calculate/ini.env
grub-background = /usr/share/themes/MF/grub.jpg

# Update the theme settings:


Now reboot to see the result.


Example 4. Change your Grub screen on a Live USB

If you used the cl-install-flash tool to create your bootable USB, you can start from it directly. Otherwise you can use a CL distribution version 20170407 or later. In the example below, the latest Calculate Linux Desktop MATE was tested; please edit the path if you are using another Calculate flavour.

# Let us first get the system ready for building. If operating in a Live USB environment, you can omit the ‘–source’ option if you want your modifications to be temporarily saved on it. Once you are finished building, cl-builder will show the path to the image you have been working on:

cl-builder-prepare --source /var/calculate/linux/cldm-20170407-x86_64.iso

# Download the image you want to use:

wget -P /run/calculate/mount/distros_CLDM_amd64/usr/share/themes/MF

# Create the ini.env file providing the image path:

vi /run/calculate/mount/distros_CLDM_amd64/etc/calculate/ini.env
gfxboot-background = /usr/share/themes/MF/gfxboot.jpg

# Build the system image with new themes inside:

cl-builder-image --update-themes

# Clean up the builder files:


To see the results, reboot from the Live USB drive.


Example 5. Remove themes

You can also remove themes easily, as your system will apply the new settings automatically.

# Remove the Grub screen theme:

emerge -C media-gfx/grub-splashes-calculate

# Remove the bootup theme:

emerge -C media-gfx/splash-themes-calculate

# Remove the display manager theme:

emerge -C media-gfx/dm-themes-calculate

# Remove the wallpaper:

emerge -C media-gfx/calculate-wallpapers

Many packages have USE flags that allow you to desactivate the themes you don’t need.

Even then, there is something you can do if you wish so. For instance, change the font color for your current Grub theme:

vi /etc/calculate/ini.env
grub-text-color = light-cyan/black
grub-text-highlight-color = white/cyan

Now update the theme settings:




As you can see, managing your CL appearance has become as simple as it seemed possible. Resolution is adjusted automatically with no images distorted or badly cut out. All configuration files thus created are then associated to the relevant packages, such as media-gfx/splashutils, sys-boot/grub, etc., to avoid leaving orphan image or configuration files when a theme package is removed. Images are only checked once, for faster operation. The only package required for installing new themes is media-gfx/imagemagick. Therefore you will find no theme packages in Calculate Linux Scratch, for example.

Thank you once more for choosing Calculate Linux, and feel free to help us improve the translation(s) of the /etc/calculate/ini.env.example file!

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