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XRoach doesn't work even on a modern X desktop. The background window on, say, gnome, isn't really the root window. I compiled XRoach a few years ago and didn't understand at first why it wasn't working. I don't know if any of the modern desktops have an actual root window that's visible.

Perhaps if you do not use a desktop environment, then the root window will be visible and usable. (I do not use a desktop environment myself.)

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