Replacing Metacity with XFCE's xfwm4
I found the following Ubuntu-specific pages with information about
replacing Metacity with XFCE's xfwm4:
Note that the Ubuntu instructions don't quite work for Debian because
of Debian's customized /usr/bin/gnome-wm. On Fedora Core 6, GNOME
doesn't seem to acknowledge the $WINDOW_MANAGER env var, so it's
necessary to use gconf:
gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/gnome-session/rh/window_manager /usr/bin/xfwm4
Update 2007-06-05: It looks like those pages don't say how to turn on
the Composite extension in X.org. To do so, add the following to
Option "Composite" "Enable"
Why xfwm4 rules:
- Window placement can be configured to be non-annoying.
- Annoying window-snapping can be disabled.
The compositor provides nice window shadows and transparency on
non-focused windows, providing more visual clues about which window
is focused. (And it looks nice.)
Java Swing apps display correctly under xfwm with the compositor
enabled. Under compiz, Swing apps don't render correctly; they show
up as nothing more than grey rectangles.
You can close a window by double-clicking its upper-left-corner
window-menu icon. Metacity does not support this
Downsides to using xfwm4 under GNOME:
It does not use Metacity themes out of the box. (It has its own
themes.) Fortunately, most of the XFWM themes pick up the GTK color
Sticky windows are not displayed in all workspaces in the GNOME
toolbar pager widget, unlike the XFCE pager widget.
With the compositor effects enabled, beep-media-player
tends to cause X.org to consume all available CPU cycles.
Curiously, so far, I've only observed this under XFCE, not under
I had to modify a system file (/usr/bin/gnome-wm) to get xfwm to
work properly with GNOME session-management stuff. I prefer not to
modify files that are maintained by my distro provider. A more
concrete problem is that I won't be able to switch to xfwm4 on
systems on which I don't have root access.
I cannot find a force-quit feature like Metacity has. Rhythmbox
locks up every few minutes when I try to listen to Ogg-format
internet music streams. With Metacity, I can click the window's
Close button; Metacity will detect that there's no response after
some timeout; and it will offer to force-quit the app. With xfwm4,
I have to find a command-line to do 'killall rhythmbox'. (It's not
just Rhythmbox, but that's usually the first and most frequent
xfwm4's focus-stealing prevention doesn't work, at least not with
the versions of things on the Fedora Core 6 box I'm using right