Provided by: xscreensaver_5.15-2ubuntu1_i386
xscreensaver-demo - interactively control the background xscreensaver
xscreensaver-demo [-display host:display.screen] [-prefs] [--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 editing the list of demos, and the second is for editing
various other parameters of the screensaver.
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-command(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
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
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) manuals.
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
This option menu controls the activation behavior of the screen
saver. The options are:
Disable Screen Saver
Don't ever blank the screen, and don't ever allow the monitor
to power down.
Blank Screen Only
When blanking the screen, just go black: don't run any
Only One Screen Saver
When blanking the screen, only ever use one particular display
mode (the one selected in the list.)
Random Screen Saver
When blanking the screen, select a random display mode from
among those that are enabled and applicable. If there are
multiple monitors connected, run a different display mode on
each one. This is the default.
Random Same Saver
This is just like Random Screen Saver, except that the same
randomly-chosen display mode will be run on all monitors,
instead of different ones on each.
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.
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
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.
After 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 activates, 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, meaning that if
locking is enabled, then a password will be required as soon as the
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 element 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 display mode selected in the list.
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 Documentation 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 have their own
The Advanced button reconfigures the dialog box so that you can edit
the display mode's command line directly, instead of using the
This tab lets you change various settings used by the xscreensaver
daemon itself, as well as some global options shared by all of the
Some of the graphics hacks manipulate images. These settings control
where those source images come from. (All of these options work by
invoking the xscreensaver-getimage(1) program, which is what actually
does the work.)
Grab Desktop Images
If this option is selected, then they are allowed to manipulate
the desktop image, that is, a display mode might draw a picture
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 screen.
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 to operate on, from the specified
source. That source may be a local directory, which will be
recursively searched for images. Or, it may be the URL of an
RSS or Atom feed (e.g., a Flickr gallery), in which case a
random image from that feed will be selected instead. The
contents of the feed will be cached locally and refreshed
periodically as needed.
If more than one of the above image-related 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.
Some of the display modes display and manipulate text. The following
options control how that text is generated. (These parameters control
the behavior of the xscreensaver-text(1) program, which is what
actually does the work.)
Host Name and Time
If this checkbox is selected, then the text used by the screen
savers will be the local host name, OS version, date, time, and
If this checkbox is selected, then the literal text typed in
the field to its right will be used. If it contains % escape
sequences, they will be expanded as per strftime(2).
If this checkbox is selected, then the contents of the
corresponding file will be displayed.
If this checkbox is selected, then the given program will be
run, repeatedly, and its output will be displayed.
URL If this checkbox is selected, then the given HTTP URL will be
downloaded and displayed repeatedly. If the document contains
HTML, RSS, or Atom, it will be converted to plain-text first.
Note: this re-downloads the document every time the screen
saver runs out of text, so it will probably be hitting that web
server multiple times a minute. Be careful that the owner of
that server doesn't consider that to be abusive.
Power Management Settings
These settings control whether, and when, your monitor powers down.
Power Management Enabled
Whether the monitor should be powered down after a period of
If this option is grayed out, it means your X server does not
support the XDPMS extension, 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-
If Power Management Enabled is selected, the monitor will go
black after this much idle time. (Graphics demos will stop
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.
Quick Power-off in Blank Only Mode
If the display mode is set to Blank Screen Only and this is
checked, then the monitor will be powered off immediately upon
blanking, regardless of the other power-management settings.
In this way, the power management idle-timers can be completely
disabled, but the screen will be powered off when black. (This
might be preferable on laptops.)
Fading and Colormaps
These options control how the screen fades to or from black when a
screen saver begins or ends.
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 After expires.)
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 immediately. This
is only done if Fade Colormap is also selected.
When fading or unfading are selected, this controls how long
the fade will take.
On 8-bit screens, whether to install a private colormap while
the screensaver is active, so that the graphics hacks can get
as many colors as possible. This does nothing if you are
running in 16-bit or better.
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.
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 display.
-prefs Start up with the Advanced tab selected by default instead of
the Display Modes tab.
-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 xscreensaver-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 ~/.xscreensaver
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
that the xscreensaver program sees.
HOME for the directory in which to read and write the .xscreensaver
to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global
resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.
HTTP_PROXY or http_proxy
to get the default HTTP proxy host and port.
The latest version of xscreensaver, an online version of this manual,
and a FAQ can always be found at http://www.jwz.org/xscreensaver/
X(1), xscreensaver(1), xscreensaver-command(1),
Copyright © 1992-2011 by Jamie Zawinski. Permission 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 software for
any purpose. It is provided "as is" without express or implied
Jamie Zawinski <email@example.com>, 13-aug-92.
Please let me know if you find any bugs or make any improvements.