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.

22 Responses to “Multiple Desktop Wallpapers in Ubuntu 8.10”


  • using Firefox 3.0.3 Firefox 3.0.3 on Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008101315 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.3

    Thank you so much! Been looking everywhere for this guide.

  • using Firefox 3.0.3 Firefox 3.0.3 on Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008101315 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.3

    Thanks. Greatly appreciated. I had this all set up in 8.04 but was a little lost with 8.10 with the moving of the wallpaper add section from the cube to “wallpaper”. Big help. I couldn’t go back to a single image… it was driving me crazy.

  • using GranParadiso 3.0.3 GranParadiso 3.0.3 on GNU/Linux x64 GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008100314 GranParadiso/3.0.3

    The only problem with this I’m facing is then when you first login, before compiz starts, it loads your wallpaper selected from Appearances. Only then will it’ll load the compiz wallpapers.

    This has the effect that if you use a transparent gnome-panel, the Appearances wallpaper will still be there behind the panel.

  • using Opera 9.62 Opera 9.62 on GNU/Linux x64 GNU/Linux x64
    Opera/9.62 (X11; Linux x86_64; U; en) Presto/2.1.1

    @Gary
    The smoothness and perfectly clean appearance will most likely not be there until Gnome corrects the existed bug (mentioned in the post above).

    I’ll try to keep you all updated on the bug (when it’s fixed and pushed), but until then I planned on just helping everyone “mostly” achieve this effect with the hack above. It’s the best anyone is getting so far until Gnome is patched.

    If you, or if anyone reading this blog feels up to it and, are a good coder then try your hand at submitting a fix/patch so we can all easily enjoy this feature. ;)

  • using Firefox 3.0.3 Firefox 3.0.3 on Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008101315 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.3

    Thanks for the tip. Is very handy. Regarding the bug report you have referred to, they closed the duplicate because it is a duplicate (however, the status of “resolved” is misleading). Your blog is helpful for linux newbs such as yours truly.

    Cheers,
    Mags

  • using Firefox 3.0.4 Firefox 3.0.4 on Ubuntu 8.04 Ubuntu 8.04
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.4) Gecko/2008111317 Ubuntu/8.04 (hardy) Firefox/3.0.4

    so when i got to compizconfig i dont have the wallpaper setting? how do i get it?

  • using Firefox 3.0.4 Firefox 3.0.4 on Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.4) Gecko/2008111318 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.4

    I have enabled Wallpaper, disabled Show Desktop, restarted, and yet the desktop is still there. Icons and everything.

    Any suggestions?

  • using Firefox 3.0.3 Firefox 3.0.3 on Linux Mint Linux Mint
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.4) Gecko/2008111317 Ubuntu/8.04 (hardy) Firefox/3.0.3 (Linux Mint)

    Duuuuuuuude! That was totally wicked!! TYSM for the hack. Luv’d it dahlink. Been looking all over to do this and finally it works. Bwa ha ha haaaaaaaa! Smashing work guvnor!

    First my desktop…and then the world! (insert maniacal laugh here)

    Dual-Boot – Vista Home Premium Linux Mint Elyssa(Ubuntu Hardy Remix)

  • using Firefox 3.0.4 Firefox 3.0.4 on Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.4) Gecko/2008111318 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.4

    Right mouse button is not working now!

  • using Opera 10.00 Opera 10.00 on Windows XP Windows XP
    Opera/10.00 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en) Presto/2.2.0

    @killeer
    In the post I stated that icons don’t appear. That’s the Gnome desktop…what you are trying to click that isn’t there. ;)

    I mentioned the Gnome desktop not working properly in the post. :P

  • using Firefox 3.0.5 Firefox 3.0.5 on Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.5) Gecko/2008121622 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.5

    Did everything as ordered, see only white on desktop, help please?

  • using Firefox 3.0.3 Firefox 3.0.3 on GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008092416 Firefox/3.0.3 Ubiquity/0.1.3rc8

    Same error as Nattydread, I guess I’m confused also as to the fill options in the CCSM dialog.

  • using Firefox 3.0.3 Firefox 3.0.3 on GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008092416 Firefox/3.0.3 Ubiquity/0.1.3rc8

    To update, it doesn’t seem to just “not work.”
    I tried a different file, and it works fine.

    Converted my current file to the same format, varied file names, nothing. In a layman’s terms, it didn’t seem to “like” that file.

    In the end, copy/pasta the contents on the file into a new image and saving seem’d to work. A work-around, I guess.

    Hope that helps, Nattydread.

  • using Internet Explorer 7.0 Internet Explorer 7.0 on Windows XP Windows XP
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1) ; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; InfoPath.1)

    I actually want desktop icons and the right-click menu, so this solution just seems to add eye-candy at the expense of functionality. I find a better solution to be the application Wallpapoz, which can be set up so that when you change desktops, the wallpaper changes. You can also set it up so that each desktop has a group of backgrounds that it cycles through. It’s a nifty application, and you lose no desktop functionality.

  • using Opera 10.00 Opera 10.00 on GNU/Linux x64 GNU/Linux x64
    Opera/10.00 (X11; Linux x86_64 ; U; en) Presto/2.2.0

    @Nattydread
    Looks like Mike found a solution to your problem in the comment above. ^^

  • using Firefox 3.0.8 Firefox 3.0.8 on Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.8) Gecko/2009032711 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.8

    Thanks for the excellent post! Everything I could find on google was at least 3 years old and incompatible with compositing. Hopefully gnome fixes their bug soon.

  • using Firefox 3.0.11 Firefox 3.0.11 on Ubuntu 9.04 Ubuntu 9.04
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.0.11) Gecko/2009060308 Ubuntu/9.04 (jaunty ubuntuclub.pb) Firefox/3.0.11

    Hi,

    after set up multiple desktop by Conpiz, then my conky is not show. plesae suggest how do i can get conky work with multiple desktop.

    Aessy

  • using Firefox 3.0.11 Firefox 3.0.11 on Ubuntu 9.04 Ubuntu 9.04
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-GB; rv:1.9.0.11) Gecko/2009060308 Ubuntu/9.04 (jaunty) Firefox/3.0.11, Ant.com Toolbar 1.3

    Thanks for the awesome tip. This worked in Ubuntu 9.04 but the desktop icons were disabled. It also removed the Desktop options Global Menu. Nice though.

  • using Firefox 3.5.2 Firefox 3.5.2 on GNU/Linux x64 GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv:1.9.1.1) Gecko/20090806 Firefox/3.5.2

    Thanks! Great article. I’ll wait until Gnome does it right, and I hope the wait is not too long. I will be following this post.

  • using Firefox 3.6 Firefox 3.6 on Ubuntu 10.04 Ubuntu 10.04
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-GB; rv:1.9.2) Gecko/20100308 Ubuntu/10.04 (lucid) Firefox/3.6

    Hi

    Thanks Worked well in 9.04 and 9.10. Just tried to do it in 10.04 betta but compizconfig has changed, can’t find a wallpaper option. Will keep trying

    • using Firefox 3.6 Firefox 3.6 on Ubuntu 10.04 Ubuntu 10.04
      Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-GB; rv:1.9.2) Gecko/20100308 Ubuntu/10.04 (lucid) Firefox/3.6

      Problem solved. The wallpaper plugin is not installed by default in 10.04. Installed compiz-fusion-plugins-extra. Then it’s as per 8.10

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