Introduction to XScreenSaver

The XScreenSaver is a modular screen saver and locker for the X Window System. It is highly customizable and allows the use of any program that can draw on the root window as a display mode. The purpose of XScreenSaver 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 movies. However, XScreenSaver can also be used as a screen locker, to prevent others from using your terminal while you are away.

Package information

XScreenSaver dependencies


bc-1.06 and libglade-2.4.1 (alternatively LessTif-0.94.0 but not recommended)

Installation of XScreenSaver

XScreenSaver makes some poor choices where to put all the files if GNOME is installed. To get around this, run the following command and see an optional configure switch described later below.

sed -i -e "s,@GNOME_DATADIR@,$GNOME_PREFIX/share," driver/Makefile.in

Install XScreenSaver by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr &&
make &&
make install

Command explanations

--with-setuid-hacks: This switch allows some demos to be installed setuid root which is needed in order to ping other hosts.

--with-configdir=/usr/lib/xscreensaver/config: If GNOME is installed, you can use this switch to put the configuration files in a single directory rather than spreading them all over the disk.

Configuring XScreenSaver

Config files



The XScreenSaver package contains xscreensaver, xscreensaver-command, xscreensaver-demo, xscreensaver-getimage, xscreensaver-getimage-file, xscreensaver-getimage-video, xscreensaver-gl-helper and screensaver-properties-capplet.



xscreensaver is a screen saver and locker daemon.


xscreensaver-command program controls a running xscreensaver process by sending it client messages.


xscreensaver-demo is a graphical front-end for setting the parameters used by the background xscreensaver daemon.

xscreensaver-getimage, xscreensaver-getimage-file, xscreensaver-getimage-video

These are helper programs for the xscreensaver hacks that manipulate images.


xscreensaver-gl-helper is a helper program for the xscreensaver OpenGL hacks.

Last updated on 2005-02-07 16:48:17 -0700