The TDE Desktop environment is an extraordinary piece of software that allows one to keep working with the computer as KDE used to look and feel like before the switch or “upgrade” to KDE 3 and before that, and as the project’s maintainers themselves state, with ” … a primary goal of retaining the function and form of traditional desktop computers.” In other words, TDE development saved a lot of people who didn’t like the direction in which KDE headed from that point forward, from a lot of frustration, and allowed them to work as they were used to.

Some things, however, are not as good as they should be, mainly because the project is still

In TDE (Trinity Desktop Environment) Gimp's floating toolbars clutter the desktop and taskbar originally
Image 1.  In TDE (Trinity Desktop Environment) Gimp’s floating toolbars clutter the desktop and taskbar originally

looking for developers and financial support, and because it’s not easy to keep up with new technologies while still maintaining the desktop interface in form and function, “look and feel” as it used to be ten years ago.


One of the problems I’ve discovered using TDE’s latest release, Trinity, is the “Gimp floating toolbar bug” or issue, (just do a google search on it, you’ll understand), meaning that in Trinity or previous TDE desktops, Gimp acts as if its main toolbars don’t belong to the gimp main window. After reading several articles found in the google and bing SERP (mainly leading to the same articles), and having tried downgrading and forcing older versions of Gimp just to make sure it’s not a gimp upgrade error, I realised that it’s actually NOT a gimp and NOT a TDE error, but a TWIN error.

What is twin ? Twin is the Trinity Desktop Environment’s window manager, much like marco is for Mate or nautilus and metacity used to be before gnome 2 got hijacked and the current useless Gnome 3 came into being. A window manager takes care of the settings, looks and behaviors of the application windows that are started in a desktop environment (basically, the GUIs- graphical user interfaces) of any app that doesn’t run in a terminal window.

While most of the apps were probably tested and carefully selected into the different distros that now have a Trinity “flavor” (pclinuxos, ubuntu, altlinux, fedora, and debian jessie), somehow this Gimp floating toolbar error still seems to be unresolved in all of them. I’ve tried this with pclinuxos, and Q4os, which is basically debian jessie with Trinity, the problem is there, whatever Gimp version you have, the floating toolbars of Gimp behave as if they were part of another program, they either take up extra space in the taskbar, if you have no grouping enabled on the taskbar, or they show up as if gimp had 3 different windows open, in case you have window grouping enabled on the taskbar. (image 1.)

To solve this, you first have to install 1 single program, the window manager of the gnome 2 fork Mate Desktop Environment, named “marco”, and tell TDE that after the desktop is loaded, it should replace its builtin “twin” window manager with “marco”.

Fire up a terminal emulator. Either sudo su or simply su to become root, depending on which distribution you have installed.

Install the marco window manager by typing:

apt-get install marco

and pressing enter in the command line (terminal window). Accept the installation of the few extra packages that apt is probably going to suggest, such as some variation of libcanberra, and marco-common. After marco has been installed, you can immediately use it to replace the current window manager by typing this in the terminal window:

marco –replace &

You don’t need to be root to replace your window manager, as used in this way, different user accounts on the computer can have different window manager without a problem.

Or you can exit the terminal typing twice CTRL+D (first, you exit from being root, then you “logout” or exit the terminal) and then use the “run command” in the menu or alt+f2 to bring up the command execution input, and enter “marco –replace” without the quotes and click on “run” to replace your window manager.

Now, please keep in mind, that this is not a permanent solution, once you logout, or restart the computer, the next time you login, your window manager, will be again, the one named “twin”. To make the change permanent, open Konqueror, and in the “Go” menu go to “Autostart”. Right-click in the folder and select “Create new->Link to application”, and in the window that appears, go to the “Application” tab, and enter “marco –replace” without the quotes in the field labeled “Command”. Name and description are not necessary, but it’s worth completing, because they will show up on hovering the mouse over the icon or on viewing the shortcut’s properties, once it’s been created.

And that’s it. Now every time you login, TDE will replace its builtin twin window manager with marco. The caveat is, that if you have set up custom keyboard combinations for quick access to common commands and tasks, such as maximize window on ALT+F10, and similar, they won’t work, but this again may depend on your particular operating system and “flavor”, and how many other tweaks are there in the system. What is important, that with marco replacing twin, gimp no longer clutters the desktop and no longer frustrates your other programs, allowing you to have a better workflow. (Image 2)


Gimp opens correctly in Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) if you replace the twin window manager with marco

Image 2. Gimp opens correctly in Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) if you replace the twin window manager with marco

If you want to revert the changes, you can use the command


/opt/trinity/bin/twin –replace

in the terminal or in the “Run command” window on Q4os. If you are on another distro or flavor, and trinity’s binaries are not in /opt/trinity/bin, use the terminal to locate twin either with find or with locate. Use sudo su or su to become root (on debian you *have to* be root to use locate), and type

locate twin

in the command line (terminal). Once located, take a note of it’s path, and use the

twinpath/twin –replace

command, where instead of “twinpath”, you actually type the location of the twin binary.

If you only want to use marco every time you use gimp, there are several options for that also, you could create a script that replaces twin with marco, loads gimp, and then, when you exit gimp, it reverts to using twin as the window manager, though I don’t see the reason to do that.

Let me know in the comments what you think and please share this post with your friend and social media.