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By scuzzman at 2004-12-04 13:09
This article is to answer a common question: How does one get a transparent terminal on their desktop?
This article is written for KDE 3.2 - and will probably work on 3.3.

Aterm, Eterm, Konsole, or any other transparency-capable terminal
* Note: This article is going to cover these 3 terminals mainly.
KDE 3.2 or 3.3

On to the tutorial:

This is my preferred terminal. It's very lightweight, flexible, and requires no
extra resources for transparency.
First, you'll want to download aterm. The latest as of this writing is 0.4.2, and you can download it here. You can download/install it just like any other tarball:
$ tar -xzvf aterm-0.4.2.tar.gz
$ cd aterm-0.4.2
$ ./configure
$ make
$ su -c "make install"
After this, you'll want to launch it in this fashion (you'll need to do this from a console, or "Run Command":
$ aterm -transparent +scrollBar -ls
Side note: If you need to change the text color, add
to the above command, replacing COLORNAME with a color of your choice.
For more information on the options, see the man page:
$ man aterm
At this point, you should have your transparent aterm, but it still has the KDE window decorations, and it may not be in the place, or the size you want it. Simply move/resize like any normal window, then right-click the Title Bar, Select "Advanced", and click "No Border"... that's it!

First, like before, download and install it following the same instructions. As of this writing, the most current version is 0.9.2, and you install using the same "./configure, make, make install" method. You can download it at
For eterm, the options to get it to launch transparent (this is the command with which I've had the most success, is:
$ Eterm -O --buttonBar no --scrollBar no -x -f COLORNAME
Replacing COLORNAME with a color of your choice for the text.
Note: This will launch it without KDE decorations, making moving/resizing impossible. To resolve, Hit Alt+F3 to bring up the KDE options menu, Select "Advanced", then uncheck "No Border". Move/resize to wanted position, then right-click the Title Bar, Select "Advanced", and click "No Border"... that's it!

This one is very easy, as it comes with KDE 3.2. Simply Launch Konsole, and move/resize it to where you like it. Then, select "Settings", go to "Schema", select "Transparent Konsole". If you have a very dark or light background, select the Transparent Dark or Transparent Light options respectively. To remove the Tab Bar, got to Settings, Tab Bar, Click Hide. Do the same for the Scrollbar, then Go to Settings, and unclick "Show Menubar". Next, right-click the Title Bar, Select "Advanced", and click "No Border"... that's it!


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