Screen Compositing without Compiz, Metacity or KWin

By Pratik Shivarkar | Labels: , , ,

Screen compositing is quite easy on Gnome or KDE, because both the Metacity and KWin / Compiz allows screen compositing.
Compositing is a feature of your Window Manager and WMs like Openbox, Fluxbox, IceWM does not support compositing it self. and because of this disadvantage you are unable to gain pure transparency or to use softwares like Avant Window Manager, Gnome Do and many more.

So here is the most lightweight way to composite your screen, We are going to use Xcompmgr.
Xcompmgr, is more universal, It can work with most of the Desktop Environments.
Installing xcompmgr -
You will find xcompmgr in ubuntu and fedora repositories. To install use following commands.
On Debian / Ubuntu based distros.
sudo apt-get install xcompmgr
On Fedora
su –c “yum install xcompmgr”

Launching xcompmgr -
Launching xcompmgr is quite easy, all you have to do is to execute the command which is
If you want to set options for Window drop shadows, blur amount, shadow offset etc, read the xcompmgr man page, which is very easy to understand.
man xcompmgr
Once you launch the xcompmgr, You will be able to use applications which requires composited screen.

Auto-starting xcompmgr on start up.
If you are using Gnome or KDE its very simple to add your command in start up applications. Gnome start-up application configuration utility is located at Menu > Preferences > Startup Applications

If you are using KDE, you will find start-up application configuration in advance tab of KControl.
Auto starting Xcompmgr with Openbox – Edit your ~/.config/openbox/ file
# Run the system-wide support stuff

# Programs to launch at startup
hsetroot ~/wallpaper.png &

xcompmgr -c -t-5 -l-5 -r4.2 -o.55 &

# SCIM support (for typing non-english characters)
export LC_CTYPE=ja_JP.utf8
export GTK_IM_MODULE=scim
export QT_IM_MODULE=scim
scim -d &

# Programs that will run after Openbox has started
(sleep 2 && avant-window-navigator) &
That’s all everything is done!

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