Multiple Desktop Wallpapers in Ubuntu 8.10

screenshot-compizconfig-settings-manager

The title of this article, well just the Ubuntu part, is a bit too specific, but I decided to use that to try to grab the Ubuntu communities attention and the fact that I’ll be showing this in Ubuntu. Also, I’m not writing this for anything other than Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10 at the moment. If you are using anything else and want to try to follow this then please keep that in mind.

This guide actually came about because I recieved an email from a curious reader asking for tips or steps to do this. Since I didn’t have any idea myself, I turned to my trusty friend Google and did quite a bit of searching before I finally came across a solution that was spread over several pages. Now I’ve put it all together here.

The steps to get this working in Ubuntu are surprisingly simple. However, to achieve this effect you must be willing to sacrifice your Desktop icons. ;)

Basically, you obviously still have a background, but the icons will not appear there anymore. To view your desktop and icons you can always still use the Nautilus file browser and just navigate to your Desktop folder. You also lose the right click menu on the desktop, but the only time I ever use that is to change the background. After following these steps you won’t be changing your wallpaper that way anymore, but instead using the CompizConfig Settings Manager.

While Gnome is currently working towards fixing this bug that requires you to disable, they have clearly missed their projected goal of working the fix into Gnome 2.24 (as I’m using 2.24.1 in Ubuntu currently). A fix may still come in an updated 2.24.x build, but only time will tell. Coincidentally, the duplicate bug that it was matched to is marked as “Resolved.”

Please realize that I am in no way responsible for what you decide to do to your own installation after reading the following information. ;)

The basic steps consist of the following:

  1. Make sure that you have “CompizConfig Settings Manager” installed. If you don’t already have it installed then you can install it through the terminal using the following command:
    sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
  2. Now that you have “CompizConfig Settings Manager” installed. Open it:
    System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Settings Manager
  3. Now you can either scroll down towards the bottom of the list and find an option labeled “Wallpaper” or just search for it in the filter/search box at the top left. Enable this option and click on the title “Wallpaper” to open the preferences for this plugin.
    Wallpaper = enabled
  4. Now just click “New” and browse for the image files that you want to use (one by one). The order that you have them in the list will correspond to the order they are in the cube or in your Workspace Switcher panel applet.
    Add new images one by one.
  5. Back to your terminal window, launch the “Configuration Editor” by entering the following command and press enter:
    gconf-editor
  6. You’ll notice a tree list on the left. Navigate through the following levels.
    apps -> nautilus -> preferences
  7. After selecting “preferences,” look through the list on the right a little more than half way through until you find an option labeled “show_desktop” and disable it.
    show_desktop = disabled

Now you should be finished with all of the whole setup process. The only thing left to do is to log out and log back in or simply restart X by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Backspace once.

After logging back in, you should notice something like the following (depending on the artwork that you chose).

Hopefully these help, but if I were you I would wait until this feature is implemented correctly. Also, I will update this page when this feature is indeed implemented correctly and isn’t really just a hack anymore.