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The answer might be as simple no, but using Ubuntu Tweak I made the borders of my windows transparent as shown here: enter image description here

However, the window buttons and window title are also transparent, making them look out of place. Can I make the close, minimise, and maximise buttons as well as the window title non-transparent?

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I am certain that the effect that you are seeing is a function of Unity where the max, min and close buttons go onto the top panel when the application window is maximized. The buttons appear when the mouse is moved over the top left corner of the top panel. The window title will re-appear in the top left of the panel when you activate the maximized application window, Is it Libreoffice in your picture? The reason the window title is transparent in your picture is because the web browser is activated and not the word processor. I have the same effect on my system. – grahammechanical Nov 24 '11 at 19:42
No, I am talking about the buttons that appear on a non-maximised window and the title bar. – William Nov 25 '11 at 13:09
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This would be possible with Emerald (which is no longer maintained), but it is not possible with metacity/gnome-window-decorator/unity-window-decorator.

You can file a wishlist bug though.


There is a PPA that contains a fixed version of emerald (fixed as in - it fixes a segfault that some users got):


This PPA is for 11.04, so you have to download the .debs for 11.10:

emerald_0.8.8-0ubuntu0~malteworld1_amd64.deb (267.0 KiB)
libemeraldengine-dev_0.8.8-0ubuntu0~malteworld1_amd64.deb (93.1 KiB)
libemeraldengine0_0.8.8-0ubuntu0~malteworld1_amd64.deb (88.9 KiB)

(for 64bits or:)

emerald_0.8.8-0ubuntu0~malteworld1_i386.deb (262.0 KiB)
libemeraldengine-dev_0.8.8-0ubuntu0~malteworld1_i386.deb (79.4 KiB) libemeraldengine0_0.8.8-0ubuntu0~malteworld1_i386.deb (78.5 KiB)

(for 32bits)

For more info, see this Ubuntu Forums thread:

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Okay, thanks for your quick reply. However, are there any workarounds to get Emerald to work in Ubuntu 11.10? Thanks. – William Nov 24 '11 at 0:18
There is a PPA (I don't remember where it is off hand) that provides packages that work. However, Emerald does not work well with Unity, and in general it might be unstable, so I would suggest you avoid it. – RolandiXor Nov 24 '11 at 0:20
Well, could you please investigate to see if you can find the PPA? Thanks. – William Nov 24 '11 at 0:21
@William aight. – RolandiXor Nov 24 '11 at 0:21
@Ronald Taylor Thanks. – William Nov 24 '11 at 0:23

If you design a theme yourself, you can do things like this in metacity version 2 themes.


Here is an example:

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Can you provide some details? – William Nov 24 '11 at 0:51
@William I haven't made themes for about a year, but I think I have one transparent theme on my other hard drive(which will require rebooting as rewiring all my hard drives.). I'll try to post it and maybe write a small guide on my website as soon as I can. It will probably be a few days, though, since tomorrow is thanksgiving. – bntser Nov 24 '11 at 0:54
Thank you for doing so. I would greatly appreciate it. – William Nov 24 '11 at 0:56
@William I was able to find the theme, but the trick is figuring out how to make it work in Gnome 3. I'm fairly sure it is possible, though. Just maybe difficult. As long as Gnome 3 supports rgba, it can be done. I should correct myself about the metacity, version, though. I should have said metacity-2, because metacity-3 is mutter. – bntser Nov 24 '11 at 2:33
@bntser if it requires rgba, then no, it's not possible yet. – RolandiXor Nov 24 '11 at 14:49

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