Transparecy of FVWM menus


Using Cygwin/X server, but running fvwm on a remote machine with display on the PC over XDMCP.

How do I create semi-transparent menus as seen by many screentshots here? I tried using a colorset with “Transparent” and “Tint”, but that creates a transparent effect over the root window. If the menu pops up over another window (an xterm, FvwmButtons, whatever) it will show the root window over there as well, as if the window was not there.


So what you’re really after is translucency – in order to this you’ll have to compile fvwm with the translucency patch in it.

You can find the patch here

If you want details about how to do this (and I believe it has been mentioned here on the forums before with Cygwin), let me know.

– Thomas Adam

Thanks Thomas. My only question is what you mean by “details on how to do it”, and whether this should somehow affect Cygwin/X.

I assume I only have to apply the patch to fvwm and that’s it, right? No changes needed to the X server? If that’s the case I’ll gladly do it :slight_smile:

Is this planned to be a part of upcoming fvwm releases?

… and, finally: what’s “Transparent”, then?

Yes, that’s all I meant. You shouldn’t have to touch cygwin or the Xserver.

I believe it is, yes.

Transparent is when the parent window (for example, the root window) is used to provide a “transparent” look. Of course it might be the case that the root window is not the parent window, so you won’t always get transparency. True transparency (or translucency) ammends this, bu making sure any window below the one visible (has focus) is used. This feature has been made part of Xorg, for instance – and I doubt will make it into the next release of Cygwin anytime soon.


– Thomas Adam

So… you got me confused. Is Translucency a part of Cygwin/X or not?

If it is – then all I have to do is apply the path (will happen later tonight…).

If it’s not – applying the patch won’t help since I am using Cygwin/X as the server, and that will not change any time soon…


No. At the moment, it has to be done via a separate patch. The point I was trying to make before is that Xorg (the newer version of X11) has translucency as part of it – so it’s separate from the window manager, etc.

For now, you’ll need the patch.

– Thomas Adam

translucency patch dont do real trancparency (i agree it look’s like :slight_smile: ) : it is just a hack and work only for menus. It DONT use Composit.

Real transparency (translucency) work only with Composit (the future is aded to xorg but need complient graphic driver (only nvidia for the moment)) so i think you can forgot about cigwyn :slight_smile:

… but the patch you supplied is part of fvwm? Will I need another patch for Cygwin/X? Excuse me for not following, but the way I understand the thread so far is this:

  1. FVWM needs a patch in any case. From the looks of it the patch adds keywords such as “Translucent” etc.

  2. The FVWM patch will require an X server with translucency support. That means Xorg good, Cygwin/X bad.

  3. There is a patch for Cygwin/X to make it “good”.

… this is how I understand the msg exchange above so far. But I am guessing you mean #1 is correct and that’s it. Meaning I don’t need anything other than the FVWM patch. Is that because the FVWM patch won’t use any Server-translucency and will do the work by itself, not relying on the server feature?

If that’s the case, will “Transparent” work (on Xorg) like Translucent does (on Cygwin/X with the FVWM patch)?

OK :slight_smile:

Ther is 3 transparency with fvwm :slight_smile:

  1. Fake Transparency : (root window)
  2. Real Transparency (patch) : (look’s like Translucency but dont use Composit : only menus i think)
  3. Translucency = Xorg Composit + nvidia driver (Real transparency + Shadows) no need to patch fvwm. No cygwin i supose.

Only point i’m not sure : if Composit is anabeled, fvwm-translucensy-patch do use Composit? Only thing i know, it work’s without Composit.

So what it boils down to is: you only need the Fvwm patch.

Yikes. I was just directed here and I’m as confused as the first poster. Am I correct that by using the FVWM translucency patch, I can make the window frames and title bars themselves translucent, but the contents of a window cannot be made translucent? So:

  1. User wants to make window titlebar show text, but otherwise let lower windows show through. User needs to install FVWM patch.
  2. User wants to make mrxvt or eterm translucent so that entire contents of window allow lower windows to show through (usually with additional shading of the lower window). User needs an Xserver like Xorg and a supported driver that natively support true transparency. This can’t be done with just the FVWM patch.

Am I correct on 1, 2 or is there more to this issue?
For instance, my company’s system is Redhat 7.2 with XFree86 Version 4.1.0. I know that’s ancient, but all I want is to get translucent mrxvt’s. Can it be done? (Keeping in mind I compiled my own FVWM, etc, but am not root so cannot install a new distro or Xserver.)

You can only make menus translucent at thim moment.

For making windows transparent you need an X-Server that supports the composite extension (read There’s no way to make anything but the menu’s translucent without the right X extension yet.