Enable Transparent Gnome Panels/Menus/Windows in Ubuntu 10.10

Do you want to customize your Ubuntu desktop with the transparent panels, menus, and windows? As we know, Compiz can do the job, but what if you don't need a complete transparency and want the font and controls/buttons is still perfectly visible?

This tutorial is about how to enable RGBA transparency in Gnome desktop, and this might be what you want.

Preparation :

To get RGBA transparency enabled in your Ubuntu, first you need to install and enable graphics driver properly.

And in right-click desktop menu "Change Desktop Background" option Visual Effects tab, make sure Normal or Extra was enabled.


Open up a teminal from Appications -> Accessoires menu and add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:erik-b-andersen/rgba-gtk

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

Now, install gnome-color-chooser and you can use it to enable RGBA:

sudo apt-get install gnome-color-chooser gtk2-module-rgba

Launch gnome-color-chooser at System > Preferences > Gnome Color Chooser. Go to Engines tab, tick "Global" and select "Murrine" in the drop-down box.

Now, click Preferences button to go to its configuration window and check the two check-boxes after "Configuration of Enable/Disable RGBA support"

Finally, logout and back in.


1. You can also install murrine themes with below command, and use it in right-click desktop -> Change Desktop Background -> Theme tab -> click Customize button.

sudo apt-get install murrine-themes

2. Due to bugs, the panel is only partially transparent and only GTK+ applications support RGBA transparency.


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