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Xfce: how to set up changing backdrops (wallpapers)

Posted 08-30-2009 at 01:03 PM by catkin

Hello

Coming from Gnome to the lighter weight Xfce I was surprised to discover that no extra packages are required to set up changing backdrops (wallpapers) on Xfce.

Essentially the technique is to create a list of graphic files to be used as backdrops in file ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/backdrops.list and then to run /usr/bin/xfdesktop -reload at intervals. xfdesktop chooses a random backdrop from backdrops.list each time it starts (at session initialisation, normally logon) and when asked to reload.

File ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/backdrops.list may be created and populated via the GUI by
  1. Settings→"Settings Manager"→Desktop Appearance
  2. Show image: ticked
  3. New list
  4. List file: /home/c/.config/xfce4/desktop/backdrops.list (default)
  5. + (to add backdrop files)
  6. Browse to graphic files as required (Ctrl+A may be used to select all the files in a directory)
  7. Style: Zoomed
Here's a script that calls /usr/bin/xfdesktop -reload every minute.
Code:
#! /bin/bash

# Xfce backdrop (wallpaper) changer

while true
do
	/usr/bin/xfdesktop -reload
	sleep 1m
done
The script can be run from Xfce's autostart by creating ~/.config/autostart/xfce.backdrop_changer.desktop. Change /home/c/bin/xfce.backdrop_changer.sh to the name of your script.
Code:
[Desktop Entry] 
Encoding=UTF-8 
Version=0.9.4 
Type=Application 
Name=Xfce backdrop changer 
Comment= 
Exec=/home/c/bin/xfce.backdrop_changer.sh 
StartupNotify=false 
Terminal=false 
Hidden=false 
OnlyShowIn=XFCE
The method should (TM) work on any Xfce platform. It was done on ubuntu 8.04.03 with a minimal Xfce installation (that is, not the full xubuntu-desktop package), specifically the packages listed here
Code:
c@CW8:~$ dpkg -l '*xfce*' | grep '^i'
ii  gtk2-engines-xfce                          2.4.2-1                                              A GTK+-2.0 theme engine for Xfce
ii  libxfce4mcs-client3                        4.4.2-3                                              Client library for Xfce4 configure interface
ii  libxfce4mcs-manager3                       4.4.2-3                                              Manager library for Xfce4 configure interfac
ii  libxfce4util4                              4.4.2-2ubuntu1                                       Utility functions library for Xfce4
ii  libxfcegui4-4                              4.4.2-1ubuntu2                                       Basic GUI C functions for Xfce4
ii  xfce4-datetime-plugin                      0.5.0-1                                              date and time plugin for the Xfce4 panel
ii  xfce4-icon-theme                           4.4.2-1                                              Xfce Standard icon theme
ii  xfce4-mcs-manager                          4.4.2-2ubuntu2                                       Settings manager for Xfce4
ii  xfce4-mcs-plugins                          4.4.2-3ubuntu5                                       Special modules for the xfce4-mcs-manager
ii  xfce4-panel                                4.4.2-3ubuntu3                                       The Xfce4 desktop environment panel
ii  xfce4-session                              4.4.2-2ubuntu2.1                                     Xfce4 Session Manager
ii  xfce4-utils                                4.4.2-4ubuntu1.1                                     Various tools for Xfce
Best

Charles
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