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A compositor for X11.
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Branch: master

Misc: Create directories for icons before installing them

Misc: Create directories for icons before installing them. This fixes
the install failure if the DESTDIR used when executing `make install`
does not contain the icon directories. It could appear when the user
does not wish to directly install the software to the system, like in
Gentoo ebuild or Arch Linux AUR building.
latest commit d7f95b56b1
@richardgv richardgv authored


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Compton is a compositor for X, and a fork of xcompmgr-dana.

I was frustrated by the low amount of standalone lightweight compositors. Compton was forked from Dana Jansens' fork of xcompmgr and refactored. I fixed whatever bug I found, and added features I wanted. Things seem stable, but don't quote me on it. I will most likely be actively working on this until I get the features I want. This is also a learning experience for me. That is, I'm partially doing this out of a desire to learn Xlib.

Changes from xcompmgr:

  • OpenGL backend (--backend glx), in addition to the old X Render backend.
  • Inactive window transparency (-i) / dimming (--inactive-dim).
  • Titlebar/frame transparency (-e).
  • Menu transparency (-m, thanks to Dana).
  • shadows are now enabled for argb windows, e.g. terminals with transparency
  • removed serverside shadows (and simple compositing) to clean the code, the only option that remains is clientside shadows
  • configuration files (see the man page for more details)
  • colored shadows (--shadow-[red/green/blue])
  • a new fade system
  • VSync support (not always working)
  • Blur of background of transparent windows, window color inversion (bad in performance)
  • Some more options...

Fixes from the original xcompmgr:

  • fixed a segfault when opening certain window types
  • fixed a memory leak caused by not freeing up shadows (from the freedesktop repo)
  • fixed the conflict with chromium and similar windows
  • many more



B for build-time

R for runtime

  • libx11 (B,R)
  • libxcomposite (B,R)
  • libxdamage (B,R)
  • libxfixes (B,R)
  • libXext (B,R)
  • libxrender (B,R)
  • libXrandr (B,R)
  • libXinerama (B,R) (Can be disabled with NO_XINERAMA at compile time)
  • pkg-config (B)
  • make (B)
  • xproto / x11proto (B)
  • sh (R)
  • xprop,xwininfo / x11-utils (R)
  • libpcre (B,R) (Can be disabled with NO_REGEX_PCRE at compile time)
  • libconfig (B,R) (Can be disabled with NO_LIBCONFIG at compile time)
  • libdrm (B) (Can be disabled with NO_VSYNC_DRM at compile time)
  • libGL (B,R) (Can be disabled with NO_VSYNC_OPENGL at compile time)
  • libdbus (B,R) (Can be disabled with NO_DBUS at compile time)
  • asciidoc (B) (and docbook-xml-dtd-4.5, libxml-utils, libxslt, xsltproc, xmlto, etc. if your distro doesn't pull them in)

How to build

To build, make sure you have the dependencies above:

# Make the main program
$ make
# Make the man pages
$ make docs
# Install
$ make install

(Compton does include a _CMakeLists.txt in the tree, but we haven't decided whether we should switch to CMake yet. The Makefile is fully usable right now.)

Known issues

  • Our FAQ covers some known issues.

  • VSync does not work too well. You may check the VSync Guide for how to get (possibly) better effects.

  • If --unredir-if-possible is enabled, when compton redirects/unredirects windows, the screen may flicker. Using --paint-on-overlay minimizes the problem from my observation, yet I do not know if there's a cure.

  • compton may not track focus correctly in all situations. The focus tracking code is experimental. --use-ewmh-active-win might be helpful.

  • The performance of blur under X Render backend might be pretty bad. OpenGL backend could be faster.

  • With --blur-background you may sometimes see weird lines around damaged area. --resize-damage YOUR_BLUR_RADIUS might be helpful in the case.


Please refer to the Asciidoc man pages (man/compton.1.asciidoc & man/compton-trans.1.asciidoc) for more details and examples.

Note a sample configuration file compton.sample.conf is included in the repository.


  • Bug reports and feature requests should go to the "Issues" section above.

  • Our (semi?) official IRC channel is #compton on FreeNode.

  • Some information is available on the wiki, including FAQ, VSync Guide, and Performance Guide.


Although compton has kind of taken on a life of its own, it was originally an xcompmgr fork. xcompmgr has gotten around. As far as I can tell, the lineage for this particular tree is something like:

  • Keith Packard (original author)
  • Matthew Hawn
  • ...
  • Dana Jansens
  • chjj and richardgv

Not counting the tens of people who forked it in between.

Compton is distributed under MIT license, as far as I (richardgv) know. See LICENSE for more info.

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