Don't like the Gnome foot logo for your launcher icon or want something new? Here's how to change it.

Many themes and icons are shared among Humanity, Gnome, High Color most or all having originated from the Gnome2 desktop before Unity was developed (and then abandoned) by Canonical. You'll find the launcher icon in distributions from Arch to Debian through Ubuntu and its flavors.

The Ubuntu MATE developers once again have delivered a great post-Mutiny experience for 20.04 LTS. However, your theme may use the default Gnome foot logo (not the greatest aesthetic unless your boss wears over-the-top cheese graders circa 1987).

start here suru plus ubuntuGnome ≠ Foot Clan, or does it?

Be warned, as others have suggested, playing around in the dconf-editor or gconf-editor (gsettings) will NOT change the icon. You must manually override it with an image of your own making based upon the original file.

We'll use our favorite icon set Suru Plus Ubuntu for this demonstration. Although this theme does have a respectable launcher icon, (a very clean Gnome3-esque app grid) it'll be a good example to demonstrate the procedure for your own theme.

As mentioned in our previous article for 18.04, the Brisk menu continues to use both png and SVG icons titled "start-here-symbolic" for the menu launcher. It does take a bit of sleuthing to deduce which one your current desktop might be using, based upon your menu/taskbar/launcher size. For example, if your MATE desktop panel is set to 64px, the location could be in: /usr/share/icons/Adwaita/64x64/places/ folder.

If you were using a panel size of 48px the location would be: /usr/share/icons/Adwaita/48x48/places/.

If you do not have those folders your current theme might be relying on the .svg variant located in the scalable folder at: /usr/share/icons/Adwaita/scalable/.

The Suru Plus Ubuntu theme utilizes the scalable SVG file 10px x 10px at 96 dpi located at: /usr/share/icons/Suru++-Ubuntu/places/symbolic.

start here suru plus ubuntuMost launcher icons are found within a theme's "symbolic" icon folders.

Using administrator rights in Caja, we immediately make a copy of the original file with a quick Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V in case we need to revert back to a stock version.

Next, we can open Inkscape to investigate the original file. Notice; some themes will not display raster images inside an SVG file so you might have to experiment on the results a bit. Its best to start with another SVG file at first.

We found a suitable test icon with Peter Putz's Suncompass' app icon from the UBPorts app ecosystem (so thanks Peter).

At once we see the original app launcher from the theme vs the new icon is the overall size drastically different. Resize the new image group to match the original size in pixels. After logging out of your profile and returning we can see the new icon is much too small. The white space padding around the original is up to 50% of the overall width on the drawing board. This makes perfect sense for the original but makes our new test icon look pretty bad. So we need to increase the size of our replacement to fit the entire board in Inkscape.

start here suru plus ubuntuChange is possible but with further resize required.

In order to better display the new icon, we must increase the image to include the entire art board/drawing in Inkscape. This information can be found in the Export PNG Image properties (Shift+Ctrl+E) panel under the Page tab. This example is 16px x 16px. The padding is shown in the image below while the second image shows the new result after updating the SVG file and a new login session:

start here suru plus ubuntuThe test image sized to match original; notice the padding.

start here suru plus ubuntuSize corrected; requires further layer editing for readability.

At this point, your image is now changed. Your mileage will vary a little depending upon your preferred icon set and theme. You will notice the monochromatic color scheme of our final test result. The Suru Plus Ubuntu icon theme is built with a particular and explicit look. With a quick edit of the background in Inkscape, and one last reboot, we find the results quite good. From here on out, your own launcher icon is only limited to your creativity in Inkscape.

start here suru plus ubuntuThe symbolic SVG is now customized.

Linux can be modified in many ways far beyond what can be done with any other operating system. Although this article focuses on our favored desktop distro, Ubuntu MATE, the underlying concept could be applied to most desktop environments. Some use cases could be in company specific kiosks, signage and many other high-visibility customer applications. If you are interested in customization beyond what is offered by Windows, Chromebooks or Apple operating systems please comment below and or reach out to us.

About the Writer
Chris Lessley
Author: Chris Lessley
A server admin, dev ops warrior and website designer since 2002, Chris is a lover of all things Linux and open-source! Each blog topic has been tested by fire in the real world and shared with the hope to help others. Need more help? Hire me! Chris' other interests include fine art and the humanities in the classical tradition and can be found writing for our friends over at If you like this content, kindly consider donating to keep this website free to all, without ads.

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