Make CentOS 7 MATE & Xfce ultra fine with Numix

Updated: November 28, 2016

I am back at it again. CentOS pimpage - pronounced pimpazh (like garage in French), and this time, we are going to focus on the Xfce and MATE desktops. You will surely remember the revolution, no, not the French one, I'm talking about my more recent effort to get CentOS 7 running on a UEFI-powered laptop. Great success.

Since, we have had four reviews - KDE, Gnome, Xfce and MATE, and I've even shown you how to beautify the first of these. Now, we will have another look at the often neglected and cosmetically challenged Xfce and MATE frameworks, and make them into the dog's bollocks of the open-source world. To wit, the finest customization ever done. EVAR.


The painted distro

All right. So yes, we may not share the same taste. That should be the basic premise of this article. Provided you do agree with my sense of aesthetics, let us proceed. You will need two external sources slash packages to obtain the results we have here.

To wit, we will use the Numix theme and icons. This is an extremely pretty set that has taken the Linux world by the storm, and we saw the awesome set of its visual action in both my Apricity and Manjaro reviews. Now, we will apply these to CentOS 7.2, both in the Xfce and MATE desktops.

Our first task will be to grab the Numix icon theme. Copy it to your yum.repos.d directory. The download command is broken over two lines, so do assemble it before executing, and of course, exercise all the necessary precautions and whatnot.

wget ->
-> paolorotolo:numix/RedHat_RHEL-6/home:paolorotolo:numix.repo

yum install numix-icon-theme-circle

Then, you will also need the Gtk theme, which is available from GitHub, either as a project that you can clone or a direct download, if you're more interested in a one-off result. The extracted contents of the archive need to go into the hidden .themes folder in your home directory. We've done this before, when we pimped the Xfce version.

Once this piece is done, you will need to apply the theme and the icon set, dark or light, depending on what you prefer, add a nice little wallpaper into the equation and enjoy probably the finest look in the whole of distro space. Xfce has an advantage over MATE in that it offers a full menu with inline search, but it does gimp a little bit in some of the other areas. BTW, Gnome can be tweaked the same way, too. Just choose whatever you fancy.

MATE version

Behold and weep, for the images were true and pure!

MATE + Numix icons and themes

MATE + Numix, Control Center

MATE + Numix desktop, apps

MATE + Numix desktop, file manager

MATE + Numix, system menu

Xfce version

Some more lovely screenshots:

Xfce + Numix, desktop

Xfce + Numix, menu

Xfce + Numix, apps

Xfce + Numix, file manager

Xfce + Numix, pretty icons


Did we win the Internet for today? We sure did. CentOS 7 was released before we had electricity in our homes, and yet it is still here with us, and will be supported by the time the Bennu asteroid comes visiting by. And yet, it is pretty and hip, like any 2016 distro, and it does not take too much effort to get there.

We started by booting on G50, done. Then we had all four major desktop environments running without any issues. Now, we're deep into the customization and tweaking phase, discovering new aesthetic wonders every day. I am really pleased with how easy it is to make CentOS rival all those other distros, with the added benefit of lightness, speed, stability, and everlasting updates. The way Linux was meant to be. If you want more images, additional testing, other themes, whatever, do let me know, and I shall provide the requested visual delights. Take care.