HOWTO: Install irssi in full screen, translucent glory on Ubuntu 10.10

I recently switched to Ubuntu 10.10 from Windows XP and was trying to get irssi running in gnome-terminal in a certain way:

  • Full screen so that it takes up an entire workspace.
  • Translucent background so that I can see my nice Digital Blasphemy wallpaper.

With gnome-terminal maximized, I got an ugly window title bar that I didn’t want. With gnome-terminal full screen, I couldn’t see what I was typing, since the bottom line of the terminal window is right over my task switching Gnome panel (the thing at the bottom of the screen that lets you switch between all the windows that are open) and so I had the text I was typing mixed up visually with the names of open windows.

The solution on Ubuntu 10.10 is pretty simple if you’re pretty familiar with Ubuntu: you maximize the irssi window, set its Gtk+ role to irssi by using gnome-terminal‘s --role option, and set up Compiz to not decorate windows with that role.

If you have no idea what that means, no problem. Here’s a full set of installation instructions.

Installation instructions

Here’s how to install irssi from scratch so that it runs full screen and translucent.

  1. Install irssi
    $ sudo apt-get install irssi irssi-scripts
    $ sudo mkdir -pv /usr/local/share/icons
    $ sudo wget --output-document=/usr/local/share/icons/irssi-icon.png ""
  2. If you plan on using Freenode, make your NickServ password more secure by encrypting your session (to foil eavesdropping) and automatically logging in (to keep from accidentally telling an entire channel your password when you forget the slash)
  3. Start Appearance preferences (System menu, Preferences submenu, Appearance)
  4. Go to the Visual effects tab
  5. Choose Normal or Extra
  6. Press the Close button

  7. Install CompizConfig Settings Manager
    $ sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
  8. Start CompizConfig Settings Manager (System menu, Preferences submenu, CompizConfig Settings Manager)
  9. Turn on the Regex Matching plugin
  10. Turn on the Window Decoration plugin
  11. In Window Decoration settings, change both Decoration windows and Shadow windows from any to !role=irssi
  12. Close CompizConfig Settings Manager

  13. Right click on the Applications menu and choose Edit Menus
  14. Choose Internet on the left side
  15. Press the New Item button on the right side
  16. Fill in the Launcher Properties popup window as follows
    Icon:      /usr/local/share/icons/irssi-icon.png
    Type:      Application
    Name:      irssi
    Command:   gnome-terminal --zoom=1.0 '--title=irssi' --profile=irssi --maximize --hide-menubar --role=irssi -e irssi
    Comment:   Chat with irssi
  17. Press the OK button
  18. Press the Close button of the menu editor window

  19. Switch to an empty workspace
  20. Start up irssi (Applications menu, Internet submenu, irssi)
  21. Right click on the irssi window and choose Show Menubar
  22. Click the File menu and choose New Profile...
  23. For Profile name, type irssi and press the Create button
  24. Go to the Title and Command tab and uncheck Update login records when command is launched and, for When command exits, choose Exit the terminal
  25. Go to the Background tab, choose Transparent background and move the slider just below that to get the translucency of the open irssi window as you like it
  26. Go to the Scrolling tab and, for Scrollbar is, choose Disabled and check Unlimited
  27. Click the Close button
  28. Into the irssi window, type /quit and press enter, closing the window if it doesn’t close automatically

  29. Start up irssi from the Applications menu again
  30. If half a line or so is wasted at the bottom of the terminal window like it was with mine, open the Applications menu editor again and repeat the following until that’s fixed
    1. Quit irssi (type /quit and press enter)
    2. Edit the settings for irssi
    3. Tune gnome-terminal‘s --zoom option a bit (--zoom=0.9 worked for my 1280×960 screen with one Gnome panel at the bottom)
    4. Press the Close button to save your changes
    5. Restart irssi from the Applications menu to check your new settings
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