When I'm reading ebooks, I find it quite useful to blank out everything except the reader. On the Mac, I use Backdrop to achieve this. What this app does is blank out everything (wallpaper, desktop icons, etc) apart from any on-screen windows. Is there a program that does this for Ubuntu?


Dimming non-active Windows with Compiz

In case we run Compiz (by enabling Visual Effects in System->Preferences->Appearance) we have a nice feature that lets you dim anything but the active windows to any desired value.

With the following packages installed (default from >= 11.04):

  • compizconfig-settings-manager
  • compiz-fusion-plugins-extra

you will have access to control Compiz settings by running System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Settings Manager.

Choose Accessibility: ADD Helper

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Open Tab "Misc.Options:

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and push the slider for brightness to the desired value (here depicted for 20).

  • Thanks for that, but I appear to be missing this plugin. Is it perhaps new in 10.10? I'm running 10.04. Apr 14 '11 at 23:23
  • Never mind, I just had to install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra. Apr 14 '11 at 23:28
  • I included this valuable additional information, thanks
    – Takkat
    Apr 15 '11 at 6:21

Check out the ADD Helper Compiz plugin. Install compizconfig-settings-manager package to access the controls for it.

  • Voting up @Takkat's answer for having pictures. :D Apr 14 '11 at 20:20
  • Voting up @Ben Preston's answer for having links :P
    – Takkat
    Apr 14 '11 at 20:24

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