xscreensaver-demo - interactively control the background xscreensaver daemon
xscreensaver-demo [-display host:display.screen] [-prefs] [--crapplet] [--debug]
The xscreensaver-demo program is a graphical front-end for setting the parameters used by
the background xscreensaver(1) daemon. It is essentially two things: a tool for editing
the ~/.xscreensaver file; and a tool for demoing the various graphics hacks that the
xscreensaver daemon will launch.
The main window consists of a menu bar and two tabbed pages. The first page is for edit-
ing the list of demos, and the second is for editing various other parameters of the
All of these commands are on either the File or Help menus:
Blank Screen Now
Activates the background xscreensaver daemon, which will then run a demo at random.
This is the same as running xscreensaver-command(1) with the -activate option.
Lock Screen Now
Just like Blank Screen Now, except the screen will be locked as well (even if it is
not configured to lock all the time.) This is the same as running xscreensaver-com-
mand(1) with the -lock option.
If the xscreensaver daemon is running on this screen, kill it. This is the same as
running xscreensaver-command(1) with the -exit option.
If the xscreensaver daemon is running on this screen, kill it. Then launch it again.
This is the same as doing ``xscreensaver-command -exit'' followed by ``xscreensaver''.
Note that it is not the same as doing ``xscreensaver-command -restart''.
Exits the xscreensaver-demo program (this program) without affecting the background
xscreensaver daemon, if any.
Displays the version number of this program, xscreensaver-demo.
Opens up a web browser looking at the XScreenSaver web page, where you can find online
copies of the xscreensaver(1), xscreensaver-demo(1), and xscreensaver-command(1) manu-
DISPLAY MODES TAB
This page contains a list of the names of the various display modes, a preview area, and
some fields that let you configure screen saver behavior.
This option menu controls the behavior of the screen saver. The options are:
Random Screen Saver
When blanking the screen, select a random display mode from among those
that are enabled and applicable. This is the default.
Only One Screen Saver
When blanking the screen, only ever use one particular display mode (the
one selected in the list.)
Blank Screen Only
When blanking the screen, just go black: don't run any graphics hacks.
Disable Screen Saver
Don't ever blank the screen, and don't ever allow the monitor to power
Double-clicking in the list on the left will let you try out the indicated demo. The
screen will go black, and the program will run in full-screen mode, just as it would
if the xscreensaver daemon had launched it. Clicking the mouse again will stop the
demo and un-blank the screen, making the dialog box visible again.
Single-clicking in the list will run it in the small preview pane on the right. (But
beware: many of the display modes behave somewhat differently when running in full-
screen mode, so the scaled-down view might not give an accurate impression.)
When Mode is set to Random Screen Saver, each name in the list has a checkbox next to
it: this controls whether this display mode is enabled. If it is unchecked, then that
mode will not be chosen. (Though you can still run it explicitly by double-clicking
on its name.)
Beneath the list are a pair of up and down arrows. Clicking on the down arrow will
select the next item in the list, and then run it in full-screen mode, just as if you
had double-clicked on it. The up arrow goes the other way. This is just a shortcut
for trying out all of the display modes in turn.
After the user has been idle this long, the xscreensaver daemon will blank the screen.
jAfter the screensaver has been running for this long, the currently running graphics
demo will be killed, and a new one started. If this is 0, then the graphics demo will
never be changed: only one demo will run until the screensaver is deactivated by user
When this is checked, the screen will be locked when it activates.
Lock Screen After
This controls the length of the ``grace period'' between when the screensaver acti-
vates, and when the screen becomes locked. For example, if this is 5 minutes, and
Blank After is 10 minutes, then after 10 minutes, the screen would blank. If there
was user activity at 12 minutes, no password would be required to un-blank the screen.
But, if there was user activity at 15 minutes or later (that is, Lock Screen After
minutes after activation) then a password would be required. The default is 0, mean-
ing that if locking is enabled, then a password will be required as soon as the screen
This button, below the small preview window, runs the demo in full-screen mode so that
you can try it out. This is the same thing that happens when you double-click an ele-
ment in the list. Click the mouse to dismiss the full-screen preview.
This button will pop up a dialog where you can configure settings specific to the dis-
play mode selected in the list.
This tab lets you change various settings used by the xscreensaver daemon itself, rather
than its sub-programs.
Grab Desktop Images
Some of the graphics hacks manipulate images. If this option is selected, then they
are allowed to manipulate the desktop image, that is, a display mode might draw a pic-
ture of your desktop melting, or being distorted in some way. The security-paranoid
might want to disable this option, because if it is set, it means that the windows on
your desktop will occasionally be visible while your screen is locked. Others will
not be able to do anything, but they may be able to see whatever you left on your
Grab Video Frames
If your system has a video capture card, selecting this option will allow the image-
manipulating modes to capture a frame of video to operate on.
Choose Random Image
If this option is set, then the image-manipulating modes will select a random image
file from disk, from the directory you specify in the text entry field. That direc-
tory will be recursively searched for files, and it is assumed that all the files
under that directory are images.
If more than one of these options are selected, then one will be chosen at random. If
none of them are selected, then an image of video colorbars will be used instead.
(All three of these options work by invoking the xscreensaver-getimage(1) program,
which is what actually does the work.)
Whether to print lots of debugging information.
Display Subprocess Errors
If this is set, then if one of the graphics demos prints something to stdout or
stderr, it will show up on the screen immediately (instead of being lost in a hidden
terminal or file that you can't see.)
If you change this option, it will only take effect the next time the xscreensaver
daemon is restarted. (All other settings take effect immediately.)
Display Splash Screen at Startup
Normally when xscreensaver starts up, it briefly displays a splash dialog showing the
version number, a Help button, etc. If this option is turned off, the splash screen
will not be shown at all.
Power Management Enabled
Whether the monitor should be powered down after a period of inactivity.
If this option is grayed out, it means your X server does not support the XDPMS exten-
sion, and so control over the monitor's power state is not available.
If you're using a laptop, don't be surprised if this has no effect: many laptops have
monitor power-saving behavior built in at a very low level that is invisible to Unix
and X. On such systems, you can typically only adjust the power-saving delays by
changing settings in the BIOS in some hardware-specific way.
If Power Management Enabled is selected, the monitor will go black after this much
idle time. (Graphics demos will stop running, also.)
If Power Management Enabled is selected, the monitor will go into power-saving mode
after this much idle time. This duration should be greater than or equal to Standby.
If Power Management Enabled is selected, the monitor will fully power down after this
much idle time. This duration should be greater than or equal to Suspend.
Whether to install a private colormap while the screensaver is active, so that the
graphics hacks can get as many colors as possible. (This only applies when the
screen's default visual is being used, since non-default visuals get their own col-
ormaps automatically.) This can also be overridden on a per-demo basis.
Fade To Black When Blanking
If selected, then when the screensaver activates, the current contents of the screen
will fade to black instead of simply winking out. (Note: this doesn't work with all X
servers.) A fade will also be done when switching graphics hacks (when the Cycle
Unfade From Black When Unblanking
The complement to Fade Colormap: if selected, then when the screensaver deactivates,
the original contents of the screen will fade in from black instead of appearing imme-
diately. This is only done if Fade Colormap is also selected.
When fading or unfading are selected, this controls how long the fade will take.
There are more settings than these available, but these are the most commonly used ones;
see the manual for xscreensaver(1) for other parameters that can be set by editing the
~/.xscreensaver file, or the X resource database.
When you click on the Settings button on the Display Modes tab, a configuration dialog
will pop up that lets you customize settings of the selected display mode. Each display
mode has its own custom configuration controls on the left side.
On the right side is a paragraph or two describing the display mode. Below that is a Doc-
umentation button that will display the display mode's manual page, if it has one, in a
new window (since each of the display modes is actually a separate program, they each may
have their own manual.)
The Advanced button reconfigures the dialog box so that you can edit the display mode's
command line directly, instead of using the graphical controls. It also lets you config-
ure the X visual type that this mode will require. If you specify one (other than Any)
then the program will only be run on that kind of visual. For example, you can specify
that a particular program should only be run if color is available, and another should
only be run in monochrome. See the discussion of the programs parameter in the Configura-
tion section of the xscreensaver(1) manual.
xscreensaver-demo accepts the following command line options.
The X display to use. The xscreensaver-demo program will open its window on that
display, and also control the xscreensaver daemon that is managing that same dis-
-prefs Start up with the Advanced tab selected by default instead of the Display Modes
For use by the Gnome Control Center code: this causes this program to be embedded
inside the Control Center window.
-debug Causes lots of diagnostics to be printed on stderr.
It is important that the xscreensaver and xscreensaver-demo processes be running on the
same machine, or at least, on two machines that share a file system. When xscreen-
saver-demo writes a new version of the ~/.xscreensaver file, it's important that the
xscreensaver see that same file. If the two processes are seeing different ~/.xscreen-
saver files, things will malfunction.
DISPLAY to get the default host and display number.
PATH to find the sub-programs to run. However, note that the sub-programs are actually
launched by the xscreensaver daemon, not by xscreensaver-demo itself. So, what
matters is what $PATH the xscreensaver program sees.
HOME for the directory in which to read and write the .xscreensaver file.
to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources stored in
the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.
The latest version can always be found at http://www.jwz.org/xscreensaver/
X(1), xscreensaver(1), xscreensaver-command(1), xscreensaver-getimage(1)
Copyright (C) 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Jamie Zawinski. Permis-
sion to use, copy, modify, distribute, and sell this software and its documentation for
any purpose is hereby granted without fee, provided that the above copyright notice appear
in all copies and that both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in
supporting documentation. No representations are made about the suitability of this soft-
ware for any purpose. It is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty.
Jamie Zawinski <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 13-aug-92.
Please let me know if you find any bugs or make any improvements.
X Version 11 03-Feb-2003 (4.07) XScreenSaver(1)