Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Integrate the Terminal with the Desktop On Linux

Over the years there have been all sorts of fun ways to edit one’s Linux terminal window. In addition to editing all the boring old things like text color and scroll settings, people have edited their headers, terminal behaviors, and even integrated an entire terminal window into their background.
Many people are fond of that last one, but it isn’t really all that easy to do. Most people employ the help of little programs for things like that, but the software used to embed the terminal is rarely updated to new versions of various distros.
One, however, has stayed intact, and this tutorial will help you through the process of putting the terminal right where we all need it – on the desktop.
First of all, you need to create a new Terminal profile that will run under the parameters you will set later. Open up your Terminal, then go to File, New Profile, type “Transparency” (without the quotes) as the title, and then click Create.
This creates the profile necessary to continue. You now need to fix a few settings. Under Title and Command, change the initial title to Transparency and select Keep Initial Title in the drop down menu. Select transparent under the Background tab, and set it to be as (you guessed it) transparent as you like. Some people prefer completely clear, but make sure the font color will stand out against your existing desktop background.
Next you want to download the program that will make all this possible. In your terminal, type:
sudo apt-get install devilspie
Next, you need to create a configuration file for your profile:
mkdir ~/.devilspie
gedit ~/.devilspie/Transparency.ds

Then take the following piece of code and pasted it in Transparency.ds:
( if
( matches ( window_name ) "Transparency" )
( begin
( set_workspace 4 )
( undecorate )
( skip_pager )
( skip_tasklist )
( geometry "890x694+178+58" )
( below )
( pin )
( println "match" )

Almost there! Now all you need to do is make sure that your computer opens a Terminal window in this manner each time it boots. Under System Settings open Startup Applications. First, click add, and under command, type:
devilspie -a
Then click enter. Click add again, and under command type:
gnome-terminal –window-with-profile=Transparency
That’s all there is to it. Reboot your system, and when it comes back up you should find a handy terminal window built right into your desktop, ready to work at whatever you desire.
If the configuration listed here does not quite work for you, experiment with the code you pasted in Transparency.ds under “geometry”. Those are the parameters the system uses to place the box. Of course, you can always fiddle with the color and transparency settings assigned to the profile by going to the Terminal and clicking on Edit, then Profile Preferences.
This neat, quick little quick little fix will be of interest to your Linux inclined friends and make Windows users wonder why they can’t do the same thing.

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