First of all, let’s answer the most important question, “Why”?.. It’s for aesthetic purposes. I find it nice to have the wallpaper -partially- visible on my workspace. Here’s my current desktop with workspace gaps on the top, right and the bottom of the screen.

Linux Workspace Gaps

Known Solutions

There are extensions that trying to provide this feature. For example, there is Useless Gaps for GNOME Shell and Maximized Window Gap for KDE Plasma which is I’m currently maintaining that.

However, from what I’ve seen, dealing with Window Managers brings with it some issues, such as.

  • Affects WM’s performance
  • Sometimes not work as intended
  • Customizations limited by extensions' features

So, I needed a desktop-agnostic, more lightweight solution. This is where tint2 comes into play.

Using “tint2” as a Workspace Spacer

tint2 is a simple, light panel for GNU/Linux desktop. Apart from its purpose, it’s suitable for adding gaps to a workspace.

Let’s start to install and configure it.

  • Install tint2 via your package manager.
  • Clone the GitHub repository that contains configuration files
  • Copy .tint2rc files into your ~/.config/tint2/
  • Launch panels with custom configuration files
$ tint2 -c ~/.config/tint2/tint2rc-gap-vertical-left.tint2rc
$ tint2 -c ~/.config/tint2/tint2rc-gap-vertical-right.tint2rc
$ tint2 -c ~/.config/tint2/tint2rc-gap-horizontal-top.tint2rc
$ tint2 -c ~/.config/tint2/tint2rc-gap-horizontal-bottom.tint2rc

I’m using a simple BASH script to launch tint2 panels when I logged in my desktop environment.

Tweaks & Quirks

  • Gap width/height can be changed with panel_size property.
  • Panels may not visible if panel_shrink set to 1 or 0 depending on your desktop environment.
  • If you are not using a compositing Window Manager, try to change 1 to 0 of panel_size property or else there will be 1px lines around the screen edges.

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