The xscreensaver program waits until the keyboard and mouse have been idle
for a period, and then runs a graphics demo chosen at random. It turns off
as soon as there is any mouse or keyboard activity.
This is not a screen locker, like xlock -- it does not prevent others from
using your terminal. Its purpose is to display pretty pictures on your
screen when it is not in use, in keeping with the philosophy that unattended
monitors should always be doing something interesting, just like they do in
The benefit that this program has over the combination of the xlock and
xautolock programs is the ease with which new graphics hacks can be
installed: you don't need to recompile this program to add a new display
mode, you just change some resource settings. Any program which can be
invoked in such a way that it draws on the root window of the screen can
now be used as a screensaver without modification [*]. The programs that
are being run as screensavers don't need to have any special knowledge
about what it means to be a screensaver.
The XIdle extension will be used if you have it (win win.) If you haven't
installed XIdle, you need to change a line in the Imakefile.
Also included are several graphics hacks for use as screensavers. There's
nothing magic about these: they're just programs that draw on the root
window, which are pointed at by the screensaver's default resource settings.
qix - My own implementation of this, with many more options
than you would have thought qix could have.
helix - Generates spirally "stringart" patterns.
rorschach - Random inkblot patterns.
attraction - A bouncing ball demo, or a qix-like demo, or a wild
color-cycling thing, with some odd rules.
greynetic - Random colored/stippled rectangles.
rocks - Flying through an asteroid field.
pyro - Fireworks. Looks a lot like the version in xlock.
hopalong - Fractals. I snarfed this code from xlock.
noseguy - A guy with a big nose wanders around the screen saying
things. I snarfed this code from xnlock.
All of these will pop up their own window unless given that -root option.
See their man pages for more details.
Other reasonable things to use as screensavers, if you have them, are
xdaliclock -root -builtin2 - melting digital clock
xswarm -r 2>&- - swimming sperm
xwave -root - random 3d graphs
xbouncebits - bounce arbitrary bitmaps around
ico -r - it's dull, but it's there
xv -root file.gif -quit - they don't all have to animate!
You can get all of these from export.lcs.mit.edu. If you know of (or write)
any other interesting programs that can be used as screensavers, please let
-- Jamie Zawinski <j...@lucid.com>
[*] It may be necessary to include "vroot.h" in the program, but that would
be necessary for it to work with virtual-root window managers anyway.