Another Scroll bar width question

I don’t really agree with this. Maybe small time applications, but that’s rare. Instead, I’ve often heard “everyone is doing this”, “this looks modern”, “that looks like it’s from the '90s”, quite the opposite from what you’re saying. This was on the occasion of replacing grids with lists (phone influence?), no ability to apply custom themes (web? commercialization?), single-window mode only (phone again? commercialization?), notification centers instead of a highlighted taskbar entry (phones?), booting custom window icons (no idea why tho). There is experimentation, but not a lot of it in the mainstream.

It sounds like you are trying to edit:
instead of:
where ~ is your home directory. You will have full rights to files in your home directory.

/.config doesn’t exist with a default PureOS install, which brings me to a few questions:

  1. Are you on a Purism computer (Librem) or some other brand?
  2. Is it a shared computer, meaning there is more than one user who logs in, or are you the only one?
  3. What version of PureOS are you running? If you have PureOS 9, in the upper right menu, the settings icon is a crossed screwdriver & wrench. In PureOS 10 there will be just the word “Settings”.

Here’s what the upper right menu looks like in PureOS 9:
In PureOS 10 it will be like this, though I don’t actually have PureOS 10 yet, but it’s based on Debian 11, which is what this screen shot is from:

I think it’s my fault… I started by describing how to do it within the file manager app, rather than in the terminal.

Already with gedit (Text Editor) 3.30.2 under PureOS 9, when you open a file long enough to need scrollbars, you will see a thin scrollbar on the right. If you scroll with a mouse wheel, trackpad, trackball, etc., it moves to give you visual feedback. If you mouse over it, it gets wider so you can grab it. I’m way over 40 as well, but this is brilliant design that does two things:

  1. Make the scrollbar thin to get a wider display width (super important on the Librem 5 but also appreciated on bigger screens) while providing visual feedback while scrolling without using the scrollbars.
  2. Make the scrollbar wider if you cursor over it so you can grab it and use it directly if you want to.

Of course, widths (and probably more) are configurable, as @amarok pointed out.

To continue with opinions and flames about what we don’t like, especially after given options to fix whatever that is, is to descend into what @mladen refers to in the forum rules as bikeshedding.

Thanks! I use Okular for annotating PDF files because it has options that Evince doesn’t and it handles very large PDF files that Evince (Document Viewer) has trouble with (unless you tweak a memory setting). I’m using the Amber repository versions under PureOS 9, but I might check out the versions in Debian 11 Bullseye in preparation for PureOS 10.

Maybe the older programmers still feel the pain from the “look and feel” lawsuits?

If the scroll bar gets wider when you mouse-over, I can see that changing everything, especially on the Librem 5.

I see it’s a difficult thing, this _avoiding looking like the other O/Ss (sacrifice some logic) _ and a sensible (IMO) width for a scroll bar is not happening without ‘intervention’, so I’ll just buy a smaller mouse. :slight_smile:


Hi @nochelibre

This is about Pure OS 9. It runs on a 5-boot HP- Z400 Workstation 5 drives, no SSD. They are:

  • Windows 10
  • Mint
  • Pure OS
  • Pop OS
  • Ubuntu 20.04 (died after upgrade.)

But don’t show up in that order at boot.

This is about Pure, and I imagine the others could be fixed in a similar way - sans Windows of course.

Only one person has access. The most I know about Pop and others is how to spell their names :slight_smile:

Screwdriver. If it means anything, when I click the screwdriver/settings It displays “Gnome Version 3.30.02”

I have a separate Windows 7 desktop that I use for gaming, Internet and email until I’m more capable to swap out to a Linux based system.

I hesitate to get the L14 because of some of the recent feedback’s, as I did have my eyes set on the now disowned L15. IMO, L5 is a genius-at-large, but as with all geniuses, they have some inherent quirks. When ever possible, I’ll wait 30 - 60 days before installing updates and take the old update. That way, I’m not wasting my time as a free beta tester irked by bugs.

Thanks for the answers. It’s always interesting to find out what people are using. So I guess you’re testing out different versions of Linux; I did the same thing: Mklinux, Yellow Dog Linux, Debian, Xubuntu, Ubuntu, even Lubuntu for an old 32-bit Intel iMac, which is now gathering dust. I had an HP Brio Windows 95 box I bought for a project and 9 years later it wasn’t worth anything, but HP gave me a prepaid UPS shipping label & I shipped it back to HP for recycling. I had a bunch of Apple computers before and after, but Apple started to cramp my style so I got serious about GNU/Linux. I started switching to software libre (aka free software, which is always open source) on Apple gear so that once I moved to Linux I would be using the same software.

  • Never used MS Word, but got OpenOffice and stayed with it, and then it became LibreOffice
  • Stayed with Firefox (I occasionally use Chromium - NOT Google Chrome)
  • Switched from Apple Mail to Thunderbird
  • Switched from 1Password to KeePassXC
  • Switched from Quicken to GnuCash (I also use KMyMoney)
  • Switched from Photoshop to GIMP
  • Switched from Illustrator to Inkscape
  • Switched from iTunes to Rhythmbox (and I also like Shortwave)
  • Switched from BBEdit to Kate and gedit (aka “Text Editor”)

There is more, but the list is getting long! For every software libre program I listed, there are probably 2 or 3 more that other people prefer. That’s one of the beauties of the software libre world: huge amounts of choice.


If I didn’t already have a Librem 15v4 and I needed a laptop with the best privacy and security, I would buy the Librem 14v1. It’s more powerful than the 15 and better in every way except: 1) the screen is 1.6 inches smaller and, 2) there’s no dedicated numeric keypad (which some people hate anyway :slightly_smiling_face:). A friend of mine just got theirs and they like it a lot. Their big thing was being able to run 2 external screens. Mine only runs 1 external screen, but that’s all I need.

p.s. I bet your GNOME version is 3.30.2 (not 3.30.02). My screen shows this:

p.p.s. One thing you can do with PureOS and other Debian-based GNU/Linux distributions is roll back to a previous version if you do an update and something breaks. Try that with Windows or macOS. I actually had to do that for the first time a couple of months ago, and the program I used is called Synaptic (a graphic front-end to apt, the Advanced Packaging Tool which keeps the system up to date). You can use the command line for everything, but Synaptic made it quick.


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The O/S came with a mini-bar that I’d like to make better use of than target practice. I’m using a desktop with a 30" monitor. If I remember, when I used a pixel ruler, I think it was 4 pixels wide verses (Win 7) the 16 pixels I am seeing right now, here @ Puri forum.

The problem I encountered was needing permission to write to (the folder shown in @amarok post) but because it seems it will work on some bars, not all, I might just get a smaller mouse :slight_smile: Mood will dictate today’s efforts.

BTW, the Custom Scrollbars add-on in FF lets you change the colors, if not the width, of the scrollbar and its track.

In Pale Moon, a similar add-on is NewScrollbars (aka NoiaScrollbars), which does allow changing widths.

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Just found something that may be helpful for anyone trying to escape Scrollbar Hell…

I was baffled that my FF-ESR was ignoring my gtk.css, whereas regular FF was applying my gtk.css.

I verified in about:config that I had stylesheets enabled in both versions of the browser:

toolkit.legacyUserProfileCustomizations.stylesheets … true

Scrollbars were still miniscule in FF-ESR!

Went searching and found info on a Linux user blog that the following must be set to false (whereas the default is “true”):

widget.non-native-theme.enabled … false

Bingo! Now both FF-regular and FF-ESR respect my gtk.css settings, which are:

scrollbar slider {
    /* Size of the slider */
    min-width: 13px;
    min-height: 15px;
    border-radius: 13px;

    /* Padding around the slider */
    border: 1px solid transparent;

(Location of the above gtk.css file: /home/myusername/.config/gtk-3.0 )

It’s possible to add some colorizing to the scrollbar and the scrolltrack in the gtk.css file as well, but instead I use the Custom Scrollbars add-on for Firefox to accomplish that. (It is unable to adjust width, though… because Mozilla.)

As a sweet bonus, the above solution also works on the FF Settings panel, except for correcting the horrible white on white scrolltrack. (But that can maybe be adjusted by adding colorizing to the gtk.css file, as I said. I haven’t tried that yet.)

These settings get applied to anything that uses gtk-3, such as file managers, etc. It doesn’t fix any browser that doesn’t use gtk-3.

Hope this is useful to other forum members.


You can make Thunderbird use these gtk styles, too. In Thunderbird, open Preferences, scroll down to the bottom, click on Config Editor, then adjust the same two entries in about:config as I described above.

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You’d win. I was probably typing a little lysdexic at the time.

I had a good read - thank you, and I am envious of your system.

HP gave me a prepaid UPS shipping label & I shipped it back to HP for recycling.

I think I ended up with it before I bought the workstation :slight_smile:

As far as the scroll colour and width goes I’ll just have to live with the one that works and skip Fire Fox and others that are too small. FF updates so often, I’d be changing it too often. There is still a few things about FF privacy I do not have 100% faith in. I mean, I do use FF, but left the scroll alone and just play closies with it.

Not sure where I saw it, but there was a website where the scroll bar was skinny, mouse over it and it expanded width-wise automatically. I think I was using Google’s chrome at the time.

Thanks for all your input on this. You’re right - it is interesting to see what others are using and doing with their rigs.

I still do not see why the bar has to be played with anyway. Now I’m to go and pout over it.


FF 98: Mozilla screwed us again. Here’s what you now have to do to increase the scrollbar width:

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