Installing “compton” on Debian Wheezy AMD64

This is a general HOW-TO article for installing compton in Debian Wheezy for AMD64/x86_64 CPU architectures. This HOW-TO was originally written to explain how to install compton for users of XLaunch/XPlay, whereas xcompmgr is a faulty program and had caused some issues for some of our users.

First off before using compton you should get rid of xcompmgr. You can terminate the running xcompmgr process by typing in a console as user:

$ killall xcompmgr

and then uninstall it by typing in a console as root:

# apt-get purge xcompmgr

Unfortunately, for the time being compton isn’t available from the official repositories of Debian Wheezy. However you can install it following these instruction.
Download this file: compton_0.1~beta2-AMD64-DebianWheezy.tar (built and brought to you by and ensure that all its dependencies are satisfied by typing:

$ ldd compton_0.1~beta2-AMD64

You shall see no errors from the list of dependencies.
Well, now download the original compton 0.1~beta2 package for Debian Jessie from Debian’s website. Debian Jessie is the current unstable and future stable release of Debian. You shall be able to find compton 0.1~beta2 at but you can also find it inside the package you downlaoded before (here)

Once the .deb file has been downloaded, install it by typing as root the following command:

# dpkg --ignore-depends=libc6 --ignore-depends=libconfig9 -i compton_0.1~beta2-1_amd64.deb

Now that the package has been installed, the installed package will be seen as a broken package because it wasn’t made for Debian Wheezy and it won’t run here. Also, the two ignored dependencies will cause apt-get to stop working properly.
So, the next thing to do is to fix the database of packages in order to have apt-get back working. Editing the database of packages by hand is dangerous, so pay attention to what you do here. Ensure that no package manager is running and open as root the text file /var/lib/dpkg/status

$ su -lc 'gedit /var/lib/dpkg/status'

Locate the package “compton” by using the “Find…” function of your text editor. You’ll see as first line for the installed entry:
Package: compton
A few lines under you’ll notice the list of dependencies, under the name “Depends”.
Remove from the list of dependencies the “libc6” and “libconfig9” items. You’ll get something like this:
Depends: libdbus-1-3 (>= 1.1.1), libgl1-mesa-glx | libgl1, libpcre3 (>= 8.10), libx11-6, libxcomposite1 (>= 1:0.3-1), libxdamage1 (>= 1:1.1), libxext6, libxfixes3, libxinerama1, libxrandr2 (>= 4.3), libxrender1
Now save the file and close the text-editing program. The functionality of the package manger has been restored and from now on no package will look broken.
There is one more thing left to do. The installed file was compiled for Debian Jessie and it won’t work in Debian Wheezy. So you’ve to download this file:
compton_0.1~beta2-AMD64-DebianWheezy.tar (built and brought to you by
Now, you should replace the installed executable file from the compton package with the one made by us for Debian Wheezy. Just fire up a console as root and type:

# cp compton_0.1~beta2-AMD64 /usr/bin/compton

You should now be able to add compton to your startup applications. For example in GNOME3-Fallback open the configuration dialog for startup applications from the menu Applications → System tools → Preferences → Startup Applications
or open the Startup Applications Preferences tool from a terminal:

$ gnome-session-properties

By clicking on the “Add” button you’ll be able to enter a command to execute at the startup. A possible command would be:

$ compton --backend glx --glx-no-stencil

The described way to install compton could appear blurry to many people, but it’s a simple and working way leading also to another interesting result. If the package “compton” will be available for Debian Wheezy in the future or when you’ll upgrade from Debian Wheezy to Debian Jessie, you’ll automatically get the official updated package having all dependencies resolved and the previous version of the executable file replaced with the newest files from the original package.
Also, you can at any time uninstall compton in the usual way.