‘Embedded’ Terminal on Desktop

March 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm (commands, linux, terminal, tips)

My desktop with a terminal built in.
So I’ve been dinking around quite a bit with my desktop again and stumbled upon a juicy tip. I’m always trying to find ways of simplifying my life and this made it even easier. Since I ran into Tilda tossing up a ton of GTK errors, I’ve been looking for a drop down/always present terminal that wouldn’t show up in the system tray. I’ve seen a majority of people using Rxvt-unicode and heard it’s quite customizable. So digging around on the Openbox Wiki, I came across some tips about a transparent terminal. I had to modify it a bit since it wasn’t working properly, but the above screenshot is what it looks like. Notice no terminal in my bar 🙂

To achieve this, here is what I did. I installed Rxvt-Unicode in pacman.
$ sudo pacman -S rxvt-unicode.

I then added this to my ~/.Xdefaults file:


If you currently don’t have a .Xdefaults file, just simply create one in your home folder. Then I added the following to my ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml file:

<application name="urxvt">

Then the last thing I did was adding urxvt to the ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh file. Simply add:

# Urxvt Terminal on Desktop
urxvt &

You should be good to go after that. On a side note, those settings work for a dark/black wallpaper like I’m using. To adjust it for a light colored wallpaper, simply change the foreground to black and the cursor to black in the .Xdefaults file. You can also adjust the size and font as well as quite a few other things. If you’re interested check out these 2 pages:

Rxvt-Unicode Preferences in Xdefaults



  1. princethrash said,

    I’ve been looking everywhere for how to do this, but all I ever get is a pure-white box, that isn’t stuck on the desktop/bottom layer

  2. Craig said,

    This is the first guide I followed that actually worked properly!

    Thanks so much!

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