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A New Zenburn Theme for Emacs

Zenburn is a popular colour theme for vim, developed by Jani Nurminen. It’s my personal belief (and probably that of many of its users I presume) that it’s one of the best low contrast themes out there and that Zenburn is exceptionally easy on the eyes. Btw, I love Zenburn so much that I’ve even created a Zenburn theme for Jekyll to be able to use for my blog.

The project was originally ported to Emacs by Daniel Brockman, but it seems that he has lost interest in it recently – very few updates has been published by him in the past few years. This is the reason why I gathered all improvements that I could find laying around the Internet and applied them to the last official Zenburn version, effectively starting a fork of the project. So far, so good…

Daniel’s version of Zenburn, however, had reached a state in which it took me too much to make improvements to it – since a lot of users had direct access to modify it everything in it was in complete disarray – it’s full of uses of colours that were not defined by the original zenburn, questionable coding practices and inconsistent theming of faces. Yesterday I decided to take a closer look at the code of the theme and clean it up a little – 20 minutes later I was writing a new zenburn theme from scratch. I decided that making everything from the start will probably be less effort anyways.

I’ve added enough faces in the new theme to make it usable for most users and I’ll (hopefully) continue to improve the theme and expand the supported modes constantly. If you’re interested – give it a try! If you’re unhappy with something – create an issue in GitHub (or even better send me a pull request with your suggested improvements).

It’s my desire to make the new Zenburn for Emacs just as good as the original.