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My main Linux computer is a PS2, which only has 32 MB or RAM, so it can't support flashy window managers. I run KDE 1, which is inherently ugly, and I've never bothered to configure a screensaver to make it look better. I played around with it a little bit on my other Linux computer, though.
I thought you might have configured it in the little bitty thumbnail they give you, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure you can even do that.
Anyway, it's obvous that you've got permission to run the screensaver program, since it at least puts up a blank screen. So...
The only thing I can think it would be is that somehow a another screensaver program or a power-saver program is getting in the way. If it is one of the two, it would be more likely that it's a power saver.
You've probably got the screensaver time set to the minimum so you can tell if it works. Set it to go on in an hour, and if it goes on at the normal time, you'll know that it's not the screensaver that's kicking on.
I just reinstalled Red Hat 8.0. Right clicking on the desktop, going to Configure Desktop, and selecting Screensaver does not enable the screensaver, although I have checked Enable Screensaver. It was just blanking the screen there for a while, then it quit working altogether.
If I go to a terminal and type in 'xscreensaver &', it does work.