Saturday, September 29, 2012

Meet Compton

Did you miss anything in Lubuntu? Maybe some eyecandy like Compiz does in Ubuntu? Well, that solved for low-spec computers too. You can have shadows, transparencies and smooth transitions in your windows and programs thanks to Compton, the new composite manager in town. It's a fork from xcompmgr-dana (which is a fork istelf from xcompmgr). Thanks to our pals at Crunchbang Linux, we can use the GIT versions on Lubuntu too.

Download your 32bit or 64bit version and try it while it's hot. Combine it with your favourite dock or whatever. And this program solves the problem that Lubuntu 12.10 users may have with other composite managers, like Cairo or XCompMgr. You can check the screenshot to see it's really beautiful, but I can sure you that it's really fast too!


  1. Can you tell which dock is used in the above screenshot? Thanks.

  2. I wanna know the name of your dock too. Your top panel looks gorgeous as well.

  3. Ir's docky, using the HUD theme (included in docky package). And the panel is the new default panel for lubuntu Quantal Quetzal. I'm glad you like it, thanks.

  4. i have a dependency missing libconfig9 and its not available on the repro.

  5. Is there any chance that I could get the link to that wallpaper? It's amazing.

  6. I have got 12.04 and in order to install compton you need to download libconfig9 from Ubuntu Quantal packages.


  7. Is there a gui for this program, so we can configure it easily? Besides, is there a way to configure if we want a certain configuration at startup?

    Thanks for your attention

  8. If people want to try out on 12.04 go to

    to download libconfig9 and after install COmpton

  9. Yep, my fault. Didn't imagine that was for Quantal only. But it's solved thanks to "Anonymous" :)

    The wallie is here:

  10. Yep, the eye candy is why I'm on Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2 instead of Lubuntu right now :p

  11. Corbin, look at this:

  12. i can't wait for the final release, i will direct to that lubuntu 12.10, for sure!


  13. Hello!!

    I installed this in Lubuntu 12.04 installing ldconfig9 first.

    Is there GUI for Compton? Or an easy way to remember the settings at startup? In my case, I wish to use transparencies in taskbar, for example.

    Help? Anyone?

  14. Not yet., but you can type "compton --help" on a terminal, or just having a look here...

    The official page:

    or this wonderful guide (spanish):

    I have a simple launcher at startup folder with all the options I need (not too much, just -cGb).


  15. Hi,

    I have been reading the comments and so far I have seen this is a very nice program. But I have not seen any way to allow transparencies in the Lubuntu taskbar. Is this a limitation of Compton? Or rather a limitation of LXDE tasbar (or perhaps the default theme overrides the transparencies?)


  16. Mayb, because I can't find the way of droping a shadow under it.

  17. Hi,
    How do I create launcher at startup, so COMPTON will start automatically?

  18. Type this on a terminal:
    sudo leafpad /etc/xdg/lxsession/Lubuntu/autostart

    then put this line:
    @compton -c -r 16 -l -24 -t -12 -G -b

    Or try your own parameters for the shadows :)

  19. can someone provide a ppa for Compton (best to include it in Lubuntu daily ppa)? There have been a lot of updates from the git since September.

  20. I'm looking for it. If I found it I'll publish here, don't worry.

  21. I really like Compton and have been using it for awhile but I can't seem to use conky with LXDE without shadows other than by setting the conky window type to Desktop. But that makes conky disappear as soon as you click on the desktop. If anyone knows of a workaround that would be great.

  22. @inlieuoflou

    leafpad ~/.config/compton.config

    I succeeded blacklisting notification from being dropped shadow by adding this to shadow-exclude. You may want to replace Noti with Conky or just con

    shadow-exclude = [ "g:si:Noti" ];

  23. Add compositing and "aero" snap (12.10)

    apt-get install xfwm4 xfwm4-themes xfce4-settings. Edit /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart. Add the following lines: @xfwm4 --replace, @xfsettingsd. Restart. From run box: xfce4-settings-manager. Change keyboard shortcuts alt+f2 to lxpanelctl run then ctrl+alt+del to lxtask. Configure themes, compositing, desktops to your preference. Need extra help: google xfce4 settings, aero snap, etc. Have fun. And sorry compton, you're out of a job.

  24. Sorry. Sub the lubuntu folder instead of LXDE. I remove all the lubuntu customizations from my system and use a straight LXDE.

  25. RootKit: of course it's a solution. You can use Compiz too if you want. But you're mixing two desktops, and this is a Lubuntu dedicated blog, so I can't talk about XFCE apps, even if it's a great environment.

  26. Xubuntu looks very primitve compared Lubuntu. I can't stand it. Trying compton on Lubuntu is the reason I got started on this in the first place. Although I think compton adds a little eye candy, it's not really different than the other lightweight compositors such as xcompmgr, cairo-compmgr, etc. Compton gives you some drop shadows and transparency with a very low resource hit. It's nice. For a few mb more, changing window managers can give you full aero snap and a GUI to configure all aspects of the compositor. That's what Lubuntu is about: A great performing lightweight desktop. Installing Compiz goes against all this, so your statement is NOT valid.
    You also know that Lubuntu makes use of many XFCE componenets such as Xfburn and xfce4-power-manager. So you're telling me you can't support them or talk about them? compliant components can be freely mixed in any system and should function properly. Just because I use Xfwm4 doesn't mean I'm not using Lubuntu. Bottom line: You sound like all the other computer techs I know. They all know everything so they stop improving and suck at their jobs. Try thinking forward and use my comments constructively with compton, like improving on it.

  27. For those wanting to give compton a try a ppa exists for Quantal: ppa:yunnxx/gnome3

    If you want the latest and greatest a github page exists where you can build compton from the latest source:

  28. I'm a developer of compton (richardgv on GitHub), and firstly, thanks for packaging compton. :-)

    I would recommend against using the package provided in the post, as:

    1. It isn't exactly up-to-date. compton has experienced quite some changes since September.

    2. The man pages in the package is obsolete. As what we explained in of the compton git repo, we have two sets of man pages, and the one in the package is the outdated one. (Those obsolete man pages will go away very soon, though.) The most up-to-date man page is ./man/compton.1.asciidoc in the git repo.

    3. I think it's better to install compton.sample.conf into /usr/share/doc instead of /etc/xdg, as compton reads the configuration file by default if it's in /etc/xdg, and it generates puzzling behavior for some users ( ).

    Frankly I do not know which .deb repo contains an up-to-date version of compton right now. The recommended way to install compton is to clone from the git repo and build it. (By the way, the richardgv-dev branch in the git repo may contain more features and more bugs compared with the master branch.)

  29. Richard, pleased to meet you. You made a great piece of software. A lot of *buntu users are talking (and using) about this program (like me, I'm a daily user).

    I just wanted to say that we're looking for a place (surely a PPA) to build an up-to-date version, as we expect the new features. As soon as it will be active I'll change the information posted here and update all the links and referrals.

    Thank you very much.

  30. @礁湖神癒:

    Ah, thanks, I'm glad you like it! :-)

    By the way, chjj made the software, not only me.

    We have a CPackConfig.cmake configuration file in the git repo that could be used with CPack to generate RPM/DEB packages, and it still works, although the .DEB it generates contains wrong dependencies and metadata, together with some other issues, so cannot be used directly. (I'm a Gentoo user myself, and knows pretty little about DEB.)

    Hmm, anyway, looks like most .deb packages floating around are somehow outdated. I will try to set up a PPA on launchpad myself tomorrow, but I may not be lucky enough to get this working soon. :-)

  31. @礁湖神癒:

    So, after hours struggling with Ubuntu and Launchpad, I've gotten a PPA for *buntu 12.10:

    (And Ubuntu and Launchpad indeed gave some moderately negative impression this time. :-) )

    Please don't add this PPA to your blog post yet. I'm not too sure about the quality of the package and need some advices from the experienced. In particular:

    1. With the extremely scattered and messy documentation I found about Launchpad PPA, I still do not have an idea what is the correct format of a version number. 0.0.9+1git20130113-0ppa1-1 is what I chose (because our next release is 0.1.0). Does it actually conform to the standard?

    2. Is anybody willing to review the files under ./debian for possible issues, as this is first time I do .deb packing manually?

    3. Well, if I wish to build .deb packages for other *buntu versions do I have to upload .changes for several times with different debian/changelog? Or I should try the "source package recipe"?

    4. I'm currently defining a build time environment variable (COMPTON_VERSION) in ./debian/rules. (This variable will be automatically determined if the directory is a git repo, but for a Debian package this is not the case, and I need to specify it manually.) Is there's a better way/place to specify it?

    5. The Makefile uses Asciidoc for man page building. Asciidoc uses the Docbook toolchain to do this, and unfortunately on Ubuntu, the Docbook toolchain is not a required dependency of the asciidoc package. (Unlike on, for example, Gentoo.) I had to specify a list of additional dependencies (libxml2-utils, xsltproc, xmlto) to make sure it builds fine. But I got those dependencies from experiments, so they may pull in unnecessary packages. Does anybody know more about what packages asciidoc exactly uses for conversation to man pages?

    Another thing is, what is the PPA is a bleeding-edge version from our development branch, so you can't count it as very stable.

  32. @Richard: after a few days testing your PPA's version of Compton, both on Quantal and Raring, I noticed it worked perfectly. It's stable and has support for the new features. So I'd like to post (with your permission) public the new repository and replace the current one (gnome3 team) at the Tips'n'Tricks page.

  33. @礁湖神癒:

    Ah, thanks for testing. :-) I've just uploaded a new snapshot to the PPA (with D-Bus remote control support + a few minor bug fixes) and build hasn't yet started. Feel free to make the PPA public when you believe the latest version there is stable enough.

  34. Hi,
    sometimes when I start up my lubuntu compton does not start!
    In such cases I can just logout and relogin to make it work, but it's annoying!

    Can you help me?

    This is my /etc/xdg/lxsession/Lubuntu/autostart file:
    @lxpanel --profile Lubuntu
    @xscreensaver -no-splash
    @pcmanfm --desktop --profile lubuntu
    @compton -c -r 4 -l -5 -t -5 -G -b


  35. @Anonymous (above):

    I remember similar problems with old versions of compton. So, first things first, please make sure you are using an up-to-date version of compton. The DEB package provided in the blog post is very out-dated, and there is no support we could provide for such old versions. Please use a version compiled directly from our git repo or from an up-to-date package source (for example, Crunchbang's pool, my PPA, or compton package on Debian Mentors). If you have an up-to-date version, the first line `compton -h` prints will be something like "compton (git-85e7d18-2013-04-21)".

    If you discovered this issue appearing with a recent build, you could check if compton prints out any error messages. If you don't start X from a virtual console (therefore couldn't see the output messages), you may use shell redirection to redirect the output of compton to a file. As far as I know, lxsession doesn't allow shell operators in its autostart file, but you could use:

    @sh -c 'compton -c -r 4 -l -5 -t -5 -G >> /tmp/compton-dump.txt'

    If you think your problem is specifically tied to the -b option (which redirects the output stream to /dev/null), you may use:

    @sh -c 'compton -c -r 4 -l -5 -t -5 -G -b --logpath /tmp/compton-dump.txt >> /tmp/compton-dump2.txt'

    You may also wish to check if there are something interfering in your other autostart applications, in particular, another compositor. (compton will refuse to start if another compositor is running.)

  36. The author of Semplice Linux wrote a GTK+ 3.x configuration tool for compton called "paranoid".

  37. @Ikem:

    paranoid looks interesting. :-) It seems pretty weak, and I don't get why it doesn't use a python-libconfig binding to read/write the configuration file, though.

  38. Does anybody have a deb package for testing?