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-2.6.0 (alternatively LessTif-0.94.4 but not recommended)


libjpeg-6b, GLE, Netpbm, XDaliClock, Linux-PAM-, MIT Kerberos V5-1.6 (built with Kerberos V4 backwards compatibility), and krb4 and Heimdal-0.7.2 (Kerberos authentication requires having Kerberos V4 and V5 on the system)

User Notes: http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/xscreensaver

Installation of XScreenSaver

Install XScreenSaver by running the following commands:

sed -i 's,\xc3\xb6,oe,' hacks/flow.man &&
./configure --prefix=/usr --libexecdir=/usr/lib &&

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

make install

Command Explanations

sed -i 's,\xc3\xb6,oe,' hacks/flow.man: This command replaces the UTF-8 encoded character “÷” with its ASCII equivalent “oe” in one of the installed manual pages. Without this, Man-DB would interpret these two bytes as ISO-8859-1, resulting in the wrong “├” characters.

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

--enable-locking: This switch provides support for locking the display.

Configuring XScreenSaver

Config Files

/etc/X11/app-defaults/XScreenSaver, ~/.xscreensaver and /etc/pam.d/xscreensaver or /etc/pam.conf


Installed Programs: xscreensaver, xscreensaver-command, xscreensaver-demo, xscreensaver-getimage, xscreensaver-getimage-file, xscreensaver-getimage-video, xscreensaver-gl-helper, and xscreensaver-text
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /usr/lib/xscreensaver and /usr/share/xscreensaver

Short Descriptions


is a screen saver and locker daemon.


controls a running xscreensaver process by sending it client messages.


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


is a helper program for the xscreensaver modules that manipulate images.


is a helper program for the xscreensaver modules that manipulate images.


is a helper program for the xscreensaver modules that manipulate images.


is a helper program for the xscreensaver OpenGL modules.


prints some text to stdout, for use by screen savers.

Last updated on 2007-01-21 01:12:16 -0600