I discovered the Solarized color palette about a month ago, and have been using it since. I’ve found it helpful for reducing eye strain.
Getting the palette colors to accurately display in terminal-based Emacs under Ubuntu 11.10 took a bit of work. There’s a lot of scattered info about this topic if you google around. I first tried to do it with as little modification to my system as possible (I’m a minimalist), but I found that I absolutely had to do these three things to get it working.
1) Set the color palette in gnome-terminal. No matter what I tried, I could not get Emacs colors to look right without this step, so it’s a crucial one. Don’t skip it.
Solarized comes with an Xdefaults file, but that didn’t work for me. This blog post had instructions for setting gnome-terminal colors using gconftool-2, and that worked very nicely.
I put the commands in a handy little shell script that allows you to choose either the light or dark version of the palette. You can get it here:
2) Your TERM environment variable needs to be set to “xterm-256color.” The default “xterm” will cause the Solarized color theme to look completely crazy in emacs.
Add the following line to your ~/.bashrc line (if you already set TERM there or some elsewhere else, change it instead of adding this):
3) Use this version of the Emacs color theme for Solarized:
Put the files in a directory. In your .emacs file, you’ll need to add the directory to your load-path; I also added a bit of conditional logic for how to load the color theme in Emacs 23 and 24, since I switch between them:
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/emacs-color-theme-solarized") (if (equal 0 (string-match "^24" emacs-version)) ;; it's emacs24, so use built-in theme (require 'solarized-dark-theme) ;; it's NOT emacs24, so use color-theme (progn (require 'color-theme) (color-theme-initialize) (require 'color-theme-solarized) (color-theme-solarized-dark)))
That should do it.