is it possible with ubuntu oneiric to choose if a window/application will be "active on screen" or not once it is launched? once upon a time, i was using debian and i could choose not (ie every new application launched would open in a window that would nicely wait until i click on it to be on screen....) I have looked for the same for ubuntu oneiric but i can't find this option....

Indeed my problem is: i work (a looooooooooot!) with a matlab program that will open quite some new graphic windows once it is launched. and i would like to be able to keep using my laptop while it is running this program, and for that i need the windows not to be active on screen and prevent me from using my laptop....

any help would be most welcome!! thanks! Lucile

EDIT: sorry English is not my mother tongue...

@Jo-Erlend Schinstad: by active on screen i meant "open in focus" I need the graphic windows from matlab to open (so that i can save the graphics) but not to appear on screen, on top of the window i am using at that moment, and then preventing me to use my laptop while the pg is running.... (hope this is clearer....)

@yossile: i did not figure out how to comment your post so:

Thank you for your very clear answer but.... i still can't make it work... i followed your instruction step by step but still if i run the matlab program and then use mozilla firefox for example, the graphic windows still open on top of the firefox window, preventing me to use it.

for the details: i added the following value in focus prevent window (thanks to the grab button): & class=com-mathworks-util-PostVMInit i've also tried & name=sun-awt-X11-XFramePeer & title=MATLAB R2011b (and i tried with window type, role and id but for those i couldn't grab the value automatically with the grab button)

So if you have any other suggestion I would be very grateful to hear it :-) (a big thank you anyway)

  • Can you edit your question to explain what "active on screen" means? What exactly is it you're trying to accomplish? It's difficult to understand. Mar 15, 2012 at 5:39

1 Answer 1


I'm assuming that you wish that launched windows will not take the focus from your active window at launch time. If you are running Unity it is easy to do so.
Launch CompizConfig Settings Manager, Click General Options and then choose the Focus & Raise Behaviour.
This is the place where you will notify the WM which windows will be prevented from taking focus.
Click the + button and just fill in the identification of the windows. If you don't know the Window Class you can click Grab and click on the window you want to prevent. It will automatically detect its class.

By the way, the Invert will do the opposite - Will force a window to open in focus.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I think the OP was asking to avoid the preemptive focus behavior, whatever the window, not for one specific window. Oct 14, 2014 at 4:01

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