November 17, 2010

HOWTO: Use animated XScreenSaver matrix backgrounds with Xfce

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 7:13 pm

Screensavers like glmatrix have long been used by *nixers to woo people by showing them customizable animations as desktop wallpapers. Users of desktop environments such as Xfce have to however use xwininfo to determine and use the window IDs of their desktops (as the “-root” option stops working when the root window is overlayed by respective desktop managers e.g., Xfdesktop). For those who want to automate the startup process of XScreenSaver wallpapers in such environments, here’s a quick command you can use:

$ /usr/libexec/xscreensaver/glmatrix -window-id $(xwininfo -name "Desktop" | grep 'Window id' | sed 's/.*\(0x[0-9a-z]*\).*/\1/g')


Xfce Matrix Screenshot #1
Xfce Matrix Screenshot #2
(Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.)

Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. thanks, though I can’t see my desktop icons but for the update frame, such as clicking the desktop BG.
    (the overlay BG flashes for a second, before being overdrawn by the screensaver)

    Comment by Tcll 5850 — December 24, 2014 @ 9:34 am

  2. I did this on xubuntu 14.04 and I had to change the code to the following to get it to work.

    /usr/lib/xscreensaver/glmatrix -window-id $(xwininfo -name “Desktop” | grep ‘Window id’ | sed ‘s/.*\(0x[0-9a-z]*\).*/\1/g’)

    my favorite is this one.

    /usr/lib/xscreensaver/blocktube -window-id $(xwininfo -name “Desktop” | grep ‘Window id’ | sed ‘s/.*\(0x[0-9a-z]*\).*/\1/g’)

    Another issue that I have is that transparency of my terminal emulators don’t work while running this.
    Anyone know if it’s possible to work around this?

    Comment by Shingo — February 11, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  3. if I could edit my comment… thank you shingo for bringing me back here :)

    perhapse an image might help explain my issue:

    Dora: Can you help me find my desktop icons?


    Comment by Tcll 5850 — February 11, 2015 @ 7:26 pm

  4. ah crap, I forgot to change the size of the image…
    just edit the size from s1152 to s3200 when you click the link.

    or here’s that done for you:


    Comment by Tcll 5850 — February 11, 2015 @ 7:29 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.