Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

firefox without a titlebar ubuntu linux

If you ever used Google Chrome - and you must have -, then you might have noticed how much vertical space you can gain by removing the window title bar. Yes Google Chrome has a titlebar, but as an extent of the tabs, so that's not conventional titlebar.

This can be very useful for a laptop, netbook and so on as you will gain a lot more usable space, but believe me, you will also notice the extra space on a normal desktop monitor.

Before we get started to disabling the maximized windows titlebar, you might be wondering how will you minimize, unmaximize or close maximized windows. Well, all can be done with keyboard shortcuts or by right clicking Gnome Panel, Docky (Gnome Do theme), Cairo Dock, Avant Window Navigator or whatever panel / dock you may use to access the opened windows list.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts

By default, Ubuntu (Karmic Koala at least) comes with these keyboard shortcuts:

-minimize a window: ALT + F9
-restore a window (unmaximize): ALT + F5
-you all know that ALT + F4 closes a window
-ALT + SPACE can open the window menu, so you can simply click to unmaximize, minimize, close the window and so on:

linux window options

If you don't want to click this menu, you can use shortcuts for it too. For instance, to unmaximize a window, hit ALT + SPACE and then x. To close the window: ALT + SPACE + c / or + n to minimize it.

Those are not all they keyboard shortcuts you can use to toggle a window's state, obviously. For instance, you can create a keyboard shortcut to handle both minimize / maximize (it basically changes the window state); i choose CTRL + ALT + F for it (by default it's disabled). By using this, you don't even need the other key combinations (read below how to enable it).

You can find this (it's called "Toggle Maximization State") and all the other keyboard shortcuts under System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts (scroll down to the "Window management" section:

ubuntu keyboard shortcuts

Method 1: How to remove the maximized windows titlebar in Linux, using Compiz

Now that you know how to handle a window without a titlebar, you can proceed to disabling the titlebar for the maximized windows, using Compiz.

You need to have CompizConfig Settings Manager installed, so if you don't have it already, install it using the following command (for Ubuntu):
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Then go to System > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings Manager, scroll down to the "Effects" section and click "Window Decorations". On the "Decoration windows" field, replace "any" with "!state=maxvert" (without the quotes). Like so:

compiz hide maximized windows titlebar

Also, make sure the "Decoration windows" plug-in is enabled (see the red rectangle in the screenshot above).

And you are done.

Method 2: Using Maximus to hide the maximized windows titlebar

Thanks to luis (see the comments), I found out there is an alternative to Compiz for doing this (great for computers with a graphics card which does not support Compiz). The application which you can use to achieve this is called Maximus. To install it in Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install maximus

Then run it by pressing ALT + F2 and entering:

(if you plan on using it, you may want to add it to the "Startup Applications" - under System > Preferences).

Like I told you, the bahavior is almost the same as with Compiz, however, all windows will start in maximized state, even small windows but you can change that by using gconf editor: navigate to apps > maximus and enable "no_maximize".

You might also want to read about cleaning your desktop using Compiz.

Update: I've written a follow-up to this post, for some even more screen real estate optimization in Ubuntu.