Help changing Linux KDE mouse cursor shape

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ledzep
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Help changing Linux KDE mouse cursor shape

Unread postby ledzep » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:56 am

I've tried to Google this but I'm not finding what I'm looking for. I am running Ubuntu (12.04 but will switch to 16.04 soon) with a KDE desktop and I've been wanting to change the standard arrowhead-looking cursor to something more interesting. But I can't find the basic steps for how to do that (most web hits are for GNOME or Unity). I am assuming there's a PNG file somewhere that is the cursor, possibly sitting in a specific theme subdirectory but I have no idea if that's right and what I'd need to do. Can someone walk me through this? I would guess that -

1) I use GIMP or something else to make a PNG cursor shape, I'm not sure what size it should be (16x16?) or if it could be animated (cycle through different shapes as it moves but stay the same when idle),
2) Track down the subdirectory where the current cursor lives, I suppose there has to be one for each theme and so I'd have to find that specific subdirectory,
3) copy the cursor file to some name_old version and then copy my new one in its place.

Or maybe I could make a new theme directory and store that (and other ideas) in there? Is there a standard way to assemble that stuff so that then I can switch to that through the System Settings or whatever? Sorry for the noob questions but I've never done this before and I'm getting little/no help online.

jpstewart
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Re: Help changing Linux KDE mouse cursor shape

Unread postby jpstewart » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:33 am

First off, AFAICT, cursors are handled by X11 directly rather than KDE or any other desktop. So Googling for "X11 cursor" might be more useful than "KDE cursor". That said:

1) X11 cursors are stored in their own, unique format. Fortunately, GIMP does support both opening and saving X11 Mouse Cursor (.xmc) files. (Note, however, that the .xmc extension is not used on the actual cursor files.) When exporting a cursor file from GIMP, you'll be given options to specify it's hotspot, it's size, etc. There are a few options pertaining to multiple frames, so you might be able to have the animated cursor you want. The sizing option is important, since it lets you design at a larger, more comfortable size and then scale down to something reasonable on output. Opening an existing cursor on my system gives me a 96x96 file but the one that's displayed is much smaller.

2) On Debian (and derivatives, I assume) cursors are stored in /usr/share/icons/<theme name>/cursors. There's a bunch of cursors for a bunch of purposes. You might have a lot of files to edit! On my system, there's a /usr/share/icons/default directory that contains a single index.theme text file, whose contents indicate which actual theme is in use.

3) There's an xcursor-themes package in Debian, so presumably in Ubuntu, too. It's contents might serve as useful examples for configuring new cursor themes and it's documentation might have more pointers for you.

Sorry I can't be more specific. It's something I've looked into in the past but never actually done. So I only know a little bit about the subject, not the nitty-gritty details.

Good luck!
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jpstewart
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Re: Help changing Linux KDE mouse cursor shape

Unread postby jpstewart » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:12 pm

I should also add that the xcursorgen utility (in the x11-apps package) could be useful, especially for creating animated cursors. Its man page has plenty of good info.
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ledzep
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Re: Help changing Linux KDE mouse cursor shape

Unread postby ledzep » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:14 am

Oh cool, thanks for the info!


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