Transparent Terminals

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I set up what I call a background shell.  It's just a transparent
borderless terminal that covers most of my desktop background.  I've
done this with both Eterm and gnome-terminal and I think any term
program that supports transparent backgrounds will work.

Here's how I set my "background" shell up:

First you can not use Metacity as your WM b/c it does not support
borderless windows (I find Metaciy VERY lacking).  I use sawfish as my

I currently use gnome-terminal b/c it supports UTF-8 better that Eterm
so I'll describe that setup.

1) Fire up a gnome-terminal and create a new profile for the transparent
background. Edit --> profiles --> new profile. Here's my settings:

General: Give the profile a name (I used "bkgrnd") and set the font if
you   want. I used Courier 10 Pitch. 
Title and Command: Set the Initial title (I used bkgrnd) and set
Dynamically-set Title to Isn't displayed. 
Colors: Nothing to see here. Move along. 
Effects: Set transparent background. Shading at 0%
Scrolling: No change 
Compatibility: No Change

2) Save the profile and set "Profile used when launching a new terminal"
to Default. Don't use your background profile or you'll have a bunch of
transparent borderless terminals running around.

3) Launch a gnome-terminal using the bkgrnd profile and set the size. 

/usr/bin/gnome-terminal --geometry=128x41+105+0 --hide-menubar \

The geometry setting is Width x Hight x X-offset x Y-offset. This
setting works for my resolution and font size. YMMV. Try different
settings until you get your window just right. The
"window-with-profile="" should be the name of the profile you just

4) I set my session to launch the terminal on startup. 

Gnome Menu --> Preferences --> More Preferences --> Sessions --> Startup
Programs tab. 

Add a startup program and enter your gnome-terminal command.

5) Shut off the borders and other window configuration. Here's some of
that advanced window manager functionality that Metacity lacks.   

Start your Gnome-terminal.   
Bring up the configuration manager for sawfish:
Gnome Menu --> Preferences --> Windows

Go to the Matched Windows tab and add a Matcher.   Select matcher by
Name (in the left drop down) and hit the grab button.   
Click on your gnome-terminal. You should now have a matcher by Name
called ^bkgrnd$ or whatever your window title is.   

Here's how I configured the "actions" tabs:

Placement tab: Depth = -1  This keeps the background shell in the
background not allowing it to come forward above other windows.
Focus tab: Raise on focus = no, nothing else checked
Appearance tab: Frame type = none. This gets rid of the border.
State tab: Ignored=yes, Sticky=yes (puts the terminal in all
workspaces), Window list skip=yes   
Other tab: Nothing checked 

That's it! 

I set this up back in my RH 7.2 days b/c I thought it looked cool but
now I can't live w/o it!

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