Monday, February 11, 2013

Exposé in Debian Linux XFCE

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Updated 2016 Nov 4.

Compiz is fantastic, but i don’t want it. I only want an Exposé like feature. Thanks to Skippy-XD I can have it.

Firstly, you will need some dependencies:

sudo aptitude install libimlib2-dev libfontconfig1-dev libfreetype6-dev libx11-dev \
libxext-dev libxft-dev libxrender-dev zlib1g-dev libxinerama-dev libxcomposite-dev \
libxdamage-dev libxfixes-dev libxmu-dev

Now, install the currently maintained code from github:

cd ~/Downloads
git clone
cd skippy-xd
sudo make install

Based on previous versions, I found it to crash occasionally, so I created a wrapper script to maintain it in a running state. Save the following script to ~/scripts/ or whatever your preference may be and mark it executable with chmod +x ~/scripts/

while true
  echo [re]start
  killall skippy-xd
  rm /tmp/skippy-xd-fifo
  /usr/bin/skippy-xd --start-daemon
  echo "Died"

You can run it in the background with ~/scripts/ or set it to autostart with login: In XFCE go to Applications->Settings->Session and Startup->Application Autostart tab: Add a new item named “Skippy-XD” with the command pointing to your new script.

Test it by running sleep 0.5 && /usr/bin/skippy-xd --activate-window-picker. If it works, proceed.

Now you need to set a keyboard shortcut: Go to Applications->Settings->Keyboard->Application Shortcuts: Add a new command containing /usr/bin/skippy-xd --activate-window-picker and set the key to your preferred keystroke (I chose F9).

If it ever seems to hang, you may wish to see if it is running with ps aux | grep [s]kippy and kill any processes before launching it again.

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Good Luck!

Written with StackEdit.


  1. Please note: seems to be a more maintained fork.

  2. /usr/include/X11/Xft/Xft.h:39:22: fatal error: ft2build.h: File o directory non esistente
    Debian Testing .

    1. /usr/include/X11/Xft/Xft.h exists on my Debian 8 Stable. Did you install prerequisites? (I assume it's from libx11-dev)

  3. Try this fork: ; Follow the directions on it's page. It has more dependencies. I will update my blog.


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