I was wondering if there was an application or something that would allow me to view a workspace in the corner of another workspace?

For example if I had a video playing on one workspace, I'd be able to view it in another workspace while working on something.

I know it's quite a strange idea, but I think that would be quite a cool addition.

I'm a programmer but I've never made anything for Ubuntu so I'm not quite sure how to code something like this, so any ideas or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

  • I wonder if xephyr (which lets you do nested X) would work here. Oct 31, 2012 at 2:38
  • I'm kind of new to Ubuntu, what's xephyr? Nov 1, 2012 at 20:38
  • No it's not suitable for this task, Xephyr lets you start a completely new Desktop Session, inside your Session. But since Unity puts every program to fullscreen, Xephyr would also be fullscreened, which kind of limits the usefullness here. Nov 2, 2012 at 0:53
  • 1
    Should we maybe retitle this question as the real question is how to watch a video on every workspace? Nov 27, 2012 at 16:45
  • You're quite right, title changed. :) Nov 27, 2012 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


Why don't you just resize the player, rightclick on the window-bar and select "stay/keep on top". If you're using totem you could also Ctrl-H to remove the interface, so that only the video and the borders are visible.

enter image description here

Before "backporting" from 12.10 to 12.04 I used to watch youtube with totem this way while doing other stuff.

  • KDE4 gives you the option to remove the window-borders too :-)
    – user104285
    Feb 23, 2013 at 7:51

I don't use Unity myself, and can't normally give advice for it. But here it is pretty clear to me, that you don't want to display a workspace inside of another, but just have a application window on top of another application window. Unity simply puts every application to fullscreen.

The idea is not strange at all, as a matter of fact it was introduced in the 60s (December 8, 1968 at San Fransisco Convention Center, watch the recording, its mindboggling: http://chaosradio.ccc.de/ctv051.html). These so called "application windows" have been around in off-the shelf software at least since the 80s. You might even have seen them in proprietary products like Atari TOS, MacOS, OS2, MS Windows, etc... Most Linux Desktop environments handle them pretty well.

With the exception maybe of Unity. But I am pretty sure there is a way in Unity to get windows out of the fullscreen mode. Try grabbing the upper screen bar and pulling it down, or try the buttons in the top left corner of every window or try rightclicking somewhere or ... I don't know. AS I said, I don't use it myself, but you will probably manage.

Once you have your video player in window mode you can drag it to the left and right border of the screen to change workspaces. You can rightclick on it's title bar and command it to stay on top of all other windows, that should be useful in this case.

  • OK I was beeing cynical here. Let me state for the record that I find the workflow and UI concept of both, Unity and Gnome3 pretty well designed and overall reasonable. Especially when watching non-technical users handeling those desktops. I don't care so much for some parts of the technical foundation of those two, but that's a completely different matter and urelated to the problem discussed here. Nov 2, 2012 at 1:18
  • You're right, I do just want to view an application window on top of another. I can resize windows in Ubuntu, but they won't stay on top while working on a document or something. Hence I thought a workspace viewer would work better, like PiP on a TV. Nov 11, 2012 at 17:02
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    This answer makes no sense, Unity doesn't default to fullscreening windows and supports what the OP wants just fine (see my answer) Nov 27, 2012 at 16:35

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