text is unreadable in ardour menu bar


my system theme is light, Lucid new default theme, but it doesn’t match well with ardour. ardour menu bar is almost white, and the text, being light colored as well, is almost unreadable. is it possible to build ardour with an option to have the menu bar of the same color of ardour background? Or is there anything I can do to solve this annoying problem?


Ardour pays no attention to your system themes. If the system theme is interfering with Ardour, then the distroy or you have done something to affect that “separation”. A screenshot might help idenitify the issue (or it might not).

are you using a global menubar?

no global menu, I built Ardour once with the GTK=1 option, but then I uninstalled it and built it again without that option, but it looks like I can’t get rid of it anymore…

I also removed the .ardour2 dir in the home dir but it didn’t help… this is driving me nuts!

scons is remembering the options you choose once in the file called ‘scache.conf’ until you revert them. so if you give the GTK=1 option once, you will have to run scons with GTK=0.
btw, i do not see a GTK option, only GTKOSX option, but this is only related to mac…


where exactly is that file?
Anyway, it has the same behaviour with ardour from ubuntu’s repositories, and I already though that GTK=0 was the solution, but it didn’t work… could it be something related to the latest murrine engine in lucid?

found di schace.conf file inside ardour tarball, but this can’t be the problem, since I untar ardour from the original tar.gz everytime I build it…


I can’t post a screenshot right now, but it’s easy to describe: ardour is using my system theme for the menu bar background just until 44khz after the help menu button. Also, highlighting is not ardour default blu but it’s some sort of grey…

Does anybody have a clue what’s going on in my laptop? Is there an option to force ardour using its own theme?

I’m using ardour on Ubuntu 9.10 to test some things, and I have one of the Ubuntu dark themes (‘Dust’ I think)- my ardour menu bar background is black (same as the theme colour for the window border and decorations) - up to the 44.1KHz part, after which it is grey, same as the normal ardour theme, and the menu highlight is also dark (same as the theme colour for the window border). So there is some interaction between the Ubuntu theme and those aspects of the ardour theme. My install of ardour is compiled from source, I haven’t altered it in any way. I’m not too familiar with the latest GTK theme tweaks in ubuntu (I’ll have a play with the theme and see what happens). I didn’t investigate this much, because as it was a dark theme I was still able to read the text.

glad to hear I’m not alone :slight_smile: I also never noticed the issue since I was using the dust and the human themes. But now with the new radiance theme I can’t read anything anymore, and this is really annoying cause I love the new light theme and dark themes make me feel sad…

@vervelover: I’ve ‘fixed’ the problem I was having with the ardour menubar colour in my ubuntu 9.10 install by a slight modification to the theme. This may be (and probably is) a bit of a hack, but if you want to try it, do so at your own risk:

Find the theme you are using in /usr/share/themes

Mine was based on ‘Dust’ so I went to


Make a backup of the gtkrc file contained in that folder so:

cd /usr/share/themes/Dust/gtkrc-2.0

sudo cp gtkrc original_gtkrc

Then edit the gtkrc file:

sudo gedit gtkrc

Search in the file for class “GtkMenuBar” style:highest “menubar”

and edit it so it now reads

class “GtkMenuBar” style “menubar”

Save the file

Now log out and back in again. When you start up ardour the window manager should now respect the ardour menubar colour instead of using the one from the ubuntu theme

I hope this is of some use. (It may have side effects on other applications, I haven’t fully tested it)


Thanks you so much for your efforts trying to solve this problem! Unfortunately, the workaround you posted only works at the expenses of the system theme, because the menu bar color now differs from the metacity colors even in nautilus and all other apps, while the two were meant to blend.

Maybe we could just change ardour’s font color in its menubar, I’m messing with the ardour2_ui.rc file with no success yet (though I managed to make ardour use my system fonts :slight_smile: -but not changing its color…)

And maybe I should report this bug to launchpad, since every ubuntu lucid user will be greeted by this…

here’s the launchpad bug report:


I thought it might affect other applications although it didn’t seem too bad on my 9.10 install with a darker theme. I tried altering Ardour’s _ui.rc file before I altered the main desktop theme file - but it seemed that because of the settings in the desktop theme file, the theme colours would always override Ardours colours. Normally I just use a very lightweight window manager (blackbox) and I don’t run into too many theme problems - that being said, I don’t normally use Ubuntu either - but since it seems now that linux = ubuntu, I have to test my software with it :frowning:

the bug has been solved upstream by the ubuntu guys… awesome!!

That’s good news - I’ve downloaded the beta ubuntu lucid but I haven’t had time to test it with anything yet, I hope to get chance to try it out soon.