Terminal Stays on Top Of all Other Windows on Ubuntu 2D

Personally I don’t care much for eye-candy.Don’t get me wrong; I love beautiful interfaces -minimalists ones if possible. However, I think sometimes too much is too much. I would rather have a beautiful, simple interfaces that is resources-friendly, than a super cool, animated one that uses too many resources on the computer, especially when working with old, or not-so-powerful computers.

Currently I own two laptops. One is an HP pavilion g6 with a quad-core AMD A6 chip, and 4GB of memory. Not a top-of-the-line computer, but certainly more than enough for what I do. Which is editing text files and FTPing into servers, and of course, running my own server. The problem is I’ve got no time to set it up for my needs, so it currently serves to the only purpose of running IE and Safari in it, and to make me think: “Why did I buy this thing?”

The other computer is a dell latitude d610 which I bought a while back. If I remember well, it has an Intel M chip which, needless to say, it is not that powerful, but amazingly enough it runs pretty well, and it is enough for my needs.

I run this Dell with an external monitor attached to it whose maximum resolution is a descent 1280 by 1024. The problem is that the computer can’t handle that resolution plus the 1024 X 768 screen on the laptop. I decided to start using ubuntu 2D, which is pretty resources-friendly. The computer flies in comparison to using the regular ubuntu (3D?).

Everything was well, until I noticed that the terminal window (either gnome-terminal or terminator) would stay on top of any other window even when that other window had the focus. I asked my good friend duckduckgo about the issue, and one of the search results was this page: http://superuser.com/questions/351496/why-does-the-terminal-in-unity-2d-ubuntu-11-10-always-stay-in-the-foreground/371329#371329

The solution to the problem is posted there, so you might not want to read the rest of the entry, but if you do, Thanks!

Personally I don’t quite like the idea of creating a xorg.config file. That file was removed from ubuntu back in 11.04, or at least I think that is when it was removed. I am not aware of the reasons why that config file was removed, but I just didn’t like the idea of adding it back.

The page mentioned earlier, however, gave me an idea of why I was having that problem. (There is also an interesting discussion of the problem on http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=11387297#poststop). So I decided to take a look at gconf-editor, especially after seeing this post: http://marianochavero.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/a-simple-gui-for-unity-2d-settings-ubuntu-11-04/.

It turns out you can turn off Composite on Metacity through gconf-editor. I’m sure you already read the instructions on http://superuser.com/questions/351496/why-does-the-terminal-in-unity-2d-ubuntu-11-10-always-stay-in-the-foreground/371329#371329 That I posted, but if you didn’t, here they are:

Open the terminal and type: gconf-editor /apps/metacity/general

look for the compositing_manager options and uncheck it. Your windows will flicker and the problem will be solved.

I hope this proves useful to some of you.

For now I’ve decided to give XFCE a try, and see how everything goes. After all, the flexibility of switching between environments an managers is one of the reasons I use linux.

Some links that where useful, or maybe not, are recorded here for future reference:


6 thoughts on “Terminal Stays on Top Of all Other Windows on Ubuntu 2D

  1. Thanks this worked for me as well, except when i unchecked it, my screen flickerd black and i could not see any windows. if i went to workspaces i could see them, but not when active. i rebooted and everything is good.

    • Glad to see it worked for you too. I don’t know why you could not see any windows. But I’m glad to see that after a reboot it worked fine.

  2. Well, I just had the same problem and I was glad to find that well written solution. Worked perfectly after a reboot because, as john, my monitor turned black. It only takes a few seconds.

    Thank a lot buzu!

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