[HowTo] Set Terminal As a Transparent Wallpaper In Your Ubuntu Desktop

In Ubuntu (and many other Linux distro), the Terminal is the single application that is used most frequently. Rather than seeing the monotonous black on white background everytime you launch it, why not set it as an eyecandy on your desktop?

terminal on desktop

Configuring the Terminal Profile

The profile allows you to configure how your Terminal behaves and looks.

Open up your Terminal (Applications->Accessories->Terminal).

Create a new profile (File->New Profile).

Set trans as the profile name.

Under the General tab,

  • uncheck the box “Show menubar by default in new terminals

Under the Title and Command tab

  • Set “Dynamically-set title” as “Isn’t displayed”

Under the Color tab

  • Uncheck the box “Use colors from system theme“. Ignore the Built-In schemes dropdown box. Select the text color that you want it to display on your desktop. Make sure that it is not the same color as your current desktop wallpaper

Under the Effects tab

  • Select “Transparent background” and drag the slider to “None

Under the Scrolling tab

  • In the “Scrollbar is” drop down box, select “disabled

That’s all. Click close to exit.

Configuring via the Compiz Way

The following method requires CompizFusion that is come preinstalled if you are running Ubuntu Gutsy or Hardy. If your computer does not supports Compiz, you can follow the method here

Install CCSM

From your Synaptic Package Manager, install compizconfig-settings-manager, or in the terminal,

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Open up your CCSM (System->Preferences -> Advanced Desktop Effects Setting).

  1. Under Utility (click the Utility option on the left), activate Regex Matching (by placing a check on the box).
  2. Under Effect,  activate Windows Decoration. Click on it to enter its configuration page. Under the Decoration windows field, enter !title=trans. Click Back.
  3. Under the Window Management, activate Window Rules and Place Window
    • In the Window Rules configuration page, enter title=trans in the following fields ‘Skip taskbar‘, ‘skip pager‘, ‘Below‘, ‘Sticky‘. ‘Non-resizable windows‘, ‘non-minimizable windows‘, ‘non-maximizable window‘ and ‘non-closable windows‘. In the ‘Size rules‘ tab. Select New and enter the following:

      Feel free to adjust the width and the height to match your desktop size.
    • In the Place Window configuration page, under the Fixed Window Placement tab, select New and enter the following:

      This will fix the window on the top left hand corner of your desktop (You can use Alt+Left mouse click to move the terminal around)

Close the CCSM. You are done with the configuration. To activate the terminal wallpaper, Press Alt-F2 and enter the following command:

gnome-terminal -–window-with-profile=trans

Configuring via the devilspie way (if your computer does not supports Compiz)

Install devilspie

sudo apt-get install devilspie

Create the devilspie directory and edit the configuration file.

mkdir ~/.devilspie
gedit ~/.devilspie/trans.ds

Enter the following code inside the text editor

(matches (window_name) "trans")
(set_workspace 1)
(wintype "utility")
(geometry "+0+0")
(geometry "1280x50")

and save it.

Press Alt-F2, enter


Press Alt-F2 again

gnome-terminal –window-with-profile=trans