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There is an "Always on topmost" menu option for windows. I'm not sure if it's related to compiz or metacity.

I want to set the Totem player or Cheese the WebCAM player, always below the bottom-most, so I can view the movie when I'm working.

And, let the "Always below the bottom-most" windows be excluded in the windows list is even better.

If there is no such function yet, where should I begin if I want to develop one? It's Compiz or Gtk or XFB or something else?

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I looked for a solution for this for about 15 minutes but could only find people asking the question with no solution... +1 for a good question... – David Dec 28 '10 at 20:47
So, did you find any information on implementation? – Xiè Jìléi Dec 29 '10 at 7:02
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can use wmctrl and devilspie to manipulate window attributes/set EWMH properties. Both should be available in standard Debian/Ubuntu repos.

wmctrl is a command-line utility you can use to get a list of currently open windows and set their attributes (those of possible interest to you are marked with *):



for hint in below sticky skip_taskbar skip_pager maximized_vert maximized_horz
    wmctrl -F -r $fulltitle -b add,$hint

Either by manually calling a script after the target program was started, or from a wrapper script that starts the program, waits for its window to appear and then runs the loop.

devilspie allows you to do the same thing (and a little more), but runs as a daemon and watches for windows you've defined in its configuration, to apply your settings when they are created.


(if (is (window_name) "Movie Player")
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The below property is exactly what I want, thank you! – Xiè Jìléi Apr 20 '11 at 1:27

You can run CCSM (Compiz settings manager) and under Window Management > window Rules > put your applications to Below field.

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That's much easier – Anwar Aug 18 '15 at 14:06

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