Fix: Incoming Skype messages stealing focus on Linux Mint (Cinnamon)

After upgrading my PCs to Linux Mint Debian Edition, and thereby using the Cinnamon user interfacen, I encountered a particularly bothersome behaviour: For every incoming Skype message the skype window would come to the front and grab focus. So while typing you would even  continue to type in the Skype Window. Luckily I found a fix in the Skype Linux support forums.

This behaviour is already fixed in the Cinnamon Repository, But you can fix it yourself and don’t have to wait for an update. For instance the problem doesn’t seem to be fixed in the Update Pack 5 to Linux Mint Debian Edition.


At first locate the file called windowAttentionHandler.js – this can easily be done on the command line:

locate windowAttentionHandler.js

For me the path is /usr/share/cinnamon/js/ui/windowAttentionHandler.js – now you just need to open this file as a super user and make the same change as in the commit.

More easily speaking, at first open the file in a simple editor (pluma, gedit, nano, vi…) as the super user:

sudo gedit /usr/share/cinnamon/js/ui/windowAttentionHandler.js

now find this line:

if (!window || window.has_focus() || window.is_skip_taskbar())

And replace it with this line (or just adjust the latter part so it lookes like the line below):

if (!window || window.has_focus() || window.is_skip_taskbar() || window.get_wm_class() == "Skype")

For some weird reason the line wrapping of the code block doesn’t work. So hover that code box with your mouse and select view source code, you can then copy and paste from there!

Please be careful not to mess with the file, that could break your system (or at least the handling of the attention of windows). So make sure to make a backup of that file.

After this a restart is probably required for the changes to take effect, at least it was for me. As commenter Clement said you can also just hit Alt + F2 and type “r” and hit ENTERin order to restart cinnamon (Thanks for the comment!). So now, happy using Skype 😉

(By the way: there is a new Skype version for Linux – which doesn’t seem to be in the repositories yet. Check it out!)

Autostarting applications in Linux Mint Debian Edition

A few days ago I finally made the step to switch from Linux Mint main edition (Linux Mint 10 was getting old) to the all new Linux Mint Debian Edition Release Candidate with the new Cinnamon desktop. It’s been great so far.

However I was really missing a feature of the main edition. There you could simply right click on a menu entry and say “Launch on startup”, which has been the most convenient way to add an autostart that I’ve ever seen. Browsing the settings and the web I at first didn’t find a way to autostart applications. I found lots of descriptions involving files and directories that don’t seem to exist in my Linux Mint Debian Edition. Well enough babbling.


Simply run:


You can do this in the terminal or with Alt + F2 (gnome do). There you have a list of all your startup applications and you may add applications by specifying their command (like: “thunderbird” or “firefox”) but you may also remove startup applications. This looks something like this:

This should work with all Gnome based desktops (Gnome 2, Gnome 3, Mate, Cinnamon), I haven’t tested it though. It’s fairly easy but embarrassingly took me long enough to figure out, so I figured that it’s better to blog about it and maybe save somebody else some time.