Design

More Solutions for Auto-Switching Linux Wallpaper


Earlier this week, we showed you how to auto-change desktop backgrounds in Ubuntu using a small script and a scheduling tool. Turns out a good number of our commenters were already hip to dynamic, time-tracking wallpaper, and have found easier, more full-featured means of keeping their desktops fresh—and using some pretty cool backgrounds as well. Let’s take a look at what else you can do to keep your Linux desktop fresh without a lot of hassle.


Gnome Wallchanger
Martin Owens, author of the original wallpaper-changing script I detailed, wrote to let us know that he’d since built that little function into a complete app with a user interface, a great feature list, and integrated scheduling through Linux’s cron tool. The really cool features are the ability to auto-grab wallpaper from any RSS feed (including Flickr), or set up searches through deviantArt that auto-delivers fresh wallpaper to your desktop. You decide how often to rotate the wallpaper (minutes, hours, days, months), and where to stash the downloads, and once you set the job, there’s no background app necessary to run. Here’s the single-screen setup:

You can grab Ubuntu-ready packages from his Ubuntu Forums post, or add his PPA repository list to your sources and keep up to date.

Desktop Drapes
This one’s more accessible to non-Ubuntu users, and offers the same kind of no-code convenience. Drapes pulls wallpaper from your GNOME Appearance panel and lists them according to how they fit your resolution (perfect fit, 4:3, widescreen, etc.), but it can also monitor any other folder for new files. You check one box to auto-start, and it offers hot-switching by right-clicking its panel icon. Drapes wouldn’t let me change my scheduling time—possibly because of the cron job I’ve already set up—but otherwise seems to be a straightforward switcher. Drapes is available in many Linux repositories. Thanks to twosox many others!

Wallpaper Tray
For those who like to keep their wallpaper out of the main system settings, or just have a lot of images to choose from, Wallpaper Tray’s an attractive option. The app, which you manually add to your auto-starting apps, can change wallpaper on a timer and set scaling like its brethren, but also lets you maintain multiple folders of wallpapers, scanned at each startup. You can switch backgrounds from the tray icon, and there’s even a search tool for finding the specific image you want to change to—nice to have after a downloading binge. Wallpaper Tray is available in many repositories, and as pre-packaged and source downloads at its web site.

Neat idea: World Sunlight/Weather Map as Wallpaper
worldmap_background.jpgCommenter Joelena once had a pretty neat desktop setup: A real-time world weather and sunlight map as a background, updated through the powerful wget command.

The auto-updating JPEG file is courtesy of the OpenTopia world encyclopedia. We’ve offered a guide to mastering wget, but we’re asking the crowd: What’s the best way to set this up?

Got any more desktop-switching tools or neat background ideas to share? Let’s hear ‘em in the comments.


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