XScreenSaver

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XScreenSaver is a screen saver and locker for the X Window System.

Installation

Install the xscreensaver package.

For an Arch Linux branded experience, install the xscreensaver-arch-logoAUR package.

Configuration

Most options are configured on a user-by-user basis by running xscreensaver-demo. xscreensaver-demo writes the chosen configuration to ~/.xscreensaver, discarding any manual modifications to the file. Global options are defined in /usr/share/X11/app-defaults/XScreenSaver.

Since at least XScreenSaver 5.22, there is another way to edit XScreenSaver's user configuration, using Xresources. This includes theming support. See [1] for the version 5.22 defaults.

DPMS and blanking settings

Tango-edit-clear.pngThis article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements.Tango-edit-clear.png

Reason: "overrides DPMS" is vague - xscreensaver does the equivalent of xset s 0 0, uses its own timer for the various animations, but sets the DPMS timeout to the values in Display Power Management (Discuss in Talk:XScreenSaver#)

XScreenSaver manages screen blanking and display energy saving (DPMS) independently of X itself and overrides it. To configure the timings for blanking, standby, display poweroff and such, use xscreensaver-demo or edit the configuration file manually, e.g. ~/.xscreensaver:

timeout:	1:00:00
cycle:		0:05:00
lock:		False
lockTimeout:	0:00:00
passwdTimeout:	0:00:30
fade:		True
unfade:		False
fadeSeconds:	0:00:03
fadeTicks:	20
dpmsEnabled:	True
dpmsStandby:	2:00:00
dpmsSuspend:	2:00:00
dpmsOff:	4:00:00

DPMS and screen blanking can be disabled by starting xscreensaver-demo and, for the Mode setting, choosing Disable Screen Saver.

Note: If Lock Screen After in xscreensaver-demo is ticked and set to 0 minutes, the screen will be locked immediately upon blanking. If Power Manager Enabled is unticked, DPMS is disabled; it does not mean that XScreenSaver will relinquish control of DPMS settings.

Usage

Tip: To start XScreenSaver without the splash screen, use the -no-splash switch. See man xscreensaver for a full list of options.

In the Xfce, LXDE and LXQt environments, XScreenSaver is autostarted automatically if it is available - no further action is required. For other environments, see Autostarting.

To immediately trigger xscreensaver, if it is running, and lock the screen, execute the following command:

$ xscreensaver-command --lock

Lock on suspend

See Power management#xss-lock. You may want to set XScreenSaver's fade out time to 0.

User switching from the lock screen

Warning: When switching users using a display manager such as GDM or LightDM, XScreenSaver will not lock the original session - it can be accessed without a password simply by switching TTY's to the session in question. If you are using LightDM, as a workaround, install light-locker and run it alongside XscreenSaver. Alternatively, use a different screen locking program altogether - see List of applications/Security#Screen lockers.

By default, XScreenSaver's New Login button in the lock screen will call /usr/bin/gdmflexiserver to switch users. Other display managers than GDM or KDM that support user switching (such as LightDM) require a different command.

As modifications in ~/.xscreensaver are discarded by xscreensaver-demo, ~/.Xresources is used in this section.

LXDM

To use LXDM's switching mode:

xscreensaver.newLoginCommand: lxdm -c USER_SWITCH

LightDM

To use LightDM's switching mode:

xscreensaver.newLoginCommand: dm-tool switch-to-greeter
Note: If you use this to switch to an already-logged-in user, you might have to enter the password twice (once for LightDM, and once for the XScreenSaver dialog of the user you logged in to).

KDM

To use KDM's switching mode:

xscreensaver.newLoginCommand: kdmctl reserve

Tips and tricks

Disable during media playback

mplayer/mpv

Add the following to ~/.mplayer/config or ~/.mpv/config:

heartbeat-cmd="xscreensaver-command -deactivate >&- 2>&- &"

Kodi

Kodi has no native support to disable XScreenSaver (it uses its own screensaver). Install the kodi-prevent-xscreensaverAUR package as a workaround.

Flash

There is no native way to disable XScreenSaver for Flash, but there is script named lightsOn with support for Firefox's Flash plugin, Chromium's Flash plugin, MPlayer, and VLC.

Animated wallpaper

One can run xscreensaver in the background, just like a wallpaper. First, kill any process that is controlling the background (the root window).

Then, locate the desired XScreenSaver executable (typically in /usr/lib/xscreensaver/) and run it with the -root flag, for example:

$ /usr/lib/xscreensaver/glslideshow -root &
Note: If xcompmgr causes problems, install the shantz-xwinwrap-bzrAUR package, and run:
$ xwinwrap -b -fs -sp -fs -nf -ov  -- /usr/lib/xscreensaver/glslideshow -root -window-id WID &

Troubleshooting

You can configure xscreensaver to write to a log file by creating the logfile # touch /var/log/xscreensaver.log and then specifying its X resource logFile.

~/.Xresources
xscreensaver.logFile:/var/log/xscreensaver.log

To log verbose debugging information to the logFile as well start xscreensaver with the -verbose command line option, or add this to ~/.Xresources

~/.Xresources
xscreensaver.logFile:/var/log/xscreensaver.log
xscreensaver.verbose:true

See also