root window (in)sanity

Nemo - earth native nemo at
Tue Feb 26 22:18:52 EST 2002

The joy of transparent terminals. It's what's made linux screenshots
famous the world over for years. 

I'm sure you're all familiar with the basic memory-chugging method. 
 . Run your terminal app
 . Terminal app discovers[1] what the root window looks like
 . Terminal app uses a copy of this root window as it's own background,
   shifted as needed to maintain the illusion of transparency.
   Tinted too if need be.

[1] There seem to be multiple "discovery" methods. Let me elaborate.

I have two terminals that do transparency - aterm and gnome-terminal. 

So let's run through a not-typical-but-contrived scenario for a moment. 

1. a gnome-aware app sets the background. I would use galeon normally
since it's [a] near at hand, and [b] I don't run any other gnomeish

2. run gnome-terminal. It picks up the root window and transparency all
seems to work fine. 

3. run aterm - it picks up the transparency, but it isn't shifted as the
window moves, so the illusion of transparency is lost. 

4. set the root window to something else with the gnome-aware app. 
...gnome-terminal sees the change and responds. yay. 
...aterm does not. it seems locked into using the background it already

5. set the root window with a non-gnome-aware app. qiv, xstarfish,
eeyes, xsetbg ... it all seems to be the same:

...both gnome-terminal and aterm do not see the new background. 

End Result:
I apparently have 3 different root windows set. 
. The real one
. The one gnome-terminal sees (and still shifts appropriately when teh
window is moved)
. The one aterm sees. 


So, time to play with Xresources... 

<half an hour later>

aterm -tr (the commandline option to turn on transparency) ... gets
wierd if there is a Aterm*backgroundPixmap: resource set - which I do
for my preferred normal behaviour. 

If I remove that resource, aterm -tr seems to work normal... the image
scales. If that resource IS set, then the -tr option seem to turn off
the pixmap, but does NOT turn on the transparency. 


It's madness I tell you. 


Sorry for the long write guys... this started as a question, and ended
with me stopping before I start ranting at configuration of

Oh well... after all that, have a screenshot from last week...
(the IRC log seems ironic given this .. uh.. email :)


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