Anyone know a plugin or application that emulate the Compiz Annotate funcionality in Gnome 3? Annotate is the plugin that lets you draw on the screen.


Gromit-MPX (GRaphics Over MIscellaneous Things) fits this use case perfectly and works well enough in Gnome 3! I just had this same need on my new Arch Linux system on a ThinkPad X1 Yoga and was sorely missing my lovely Compiz Annotate.

grommit-mpx aliased/jagged lines

Ubuntu - sudo apt install gromit
Arch (AUR) - yay -S gromit

@todo instructions for other distributions like Fedora and Debian.

1) I haven't gotten multi-pointer support to work yet, but not critical for my immediate needs. Would love to get this working though.

2) I haven't yet figured out how to enable palm detection when using a pen. But I suspect I can disable one of the inputs to do that.

3) I am seeing the resulting lines a bit rough/aliased which is what I had with Compiz Annotate. It says in the gromit-mpx readme:

When there is no compositing manager such as Compiz or xcompmgr running, Gromit-MPX falls back to a legacy drawing mode.

Which it seems is happening in Gnome 3 and I would like to see how to improve this, because in the Wacom Tablet Settings, the test box shows a really nice pressure sensitive non-aliased black and white lines, so I want to know how to pursue adding that compositing backend system to gromit-mpx.

Native Gnome 3 Wacom test area, smooth lines

  • How is this the accepted answer if it doesn't even provide instrucions on how to install the software on ubuntu? The program is in the repositries fortunately so you just have to do "sudo apt install gromit" – dsSTORM Dec 15 '18 at 8:40
  • Thanks for those instructions, I replaced the @todo in the answer with your command. – Elijah Lynn Dec 15 '18 at 19:39
  • gromit-mpx instructions are more clear at askubuntu.com/a/690802/386697 – Tushar Goswami Jun 22 at 1:11

Open-Sankore it's probably your solution. It allows you to turn your computer into a whiteboard.

  1. Go here: http://open-sankore.org/en/download
  2. Download a stable or a beta
  3. When downloaded, open a terminal and go to the unzipped folder, so:

sudo dpkg -i Open-Sankore_*.deb

After that you can run Open-Sankore: When it's opened click on Show Desktop in the top-right of the screen to view your desktop with a little toolbar, so select a pen and have fun.

If you can't see anything after you clicked on Show Desktop, you probably have to change window in your workspace searching for the "Open-Sankore window".

Open Sankore screenshot

Good use.


It is gnome-shell version 3.6 now in Ubuntu 13.04, But still it has nothing similar to "Annotate" plugin in Gnome 3. I believe, there will be no alternative for that functionality in Gnome. I recommend using Compiz enabled environment like Unity, Or you can customize your own environment using cairo-dock or avant-window-navigator.


I found this post

Drawing over the desktop

which shows 3 options:

  • 1
    That's the exact link Roman gave in the comments. – David Foerster Oct 15 '14 at 13:43
  • 2
    indeed :) which means it was worthy of a proper answer since I didn't noticed the comment in the first place :p – yota Oct 15 '14 at 19:25
  • Fair enough.... – David Foerster Oct 15 '14 at 23:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.