Sunday, December 21, 2014

xfce's built-in random wallpaper changer

I'm using the built-in random wallpaper changer in Xfce 4.10.3 in Arch; not the greatest, but it works. 

It can't pull random images from a directory; I found that I had to create an image list file. This can be done manually by creating a text file (looks like you can name it whatever you want) where the first line of the file is:

# xfce backdrop list

Then, on each line after that, add a filename for a wallpaper image (use the full path). For example, the contents of the image list file can look something like this:

# xfce backdrop list

Then go to the Background tab in Desktop Settings (Menu > Settings > Desktop > Background tab):

In the "Image" section, select "Image list."

There won't be any wallpapers displayed under "Images" yet; the third button below the list of images allows you to "Create a new list, or load an existing one":

Click on that button, navigate to the image list file you just created, select it, and click "Open." Your desktop should now be displaying one of the images from your image list file.

Choose a style from the "Style" dropbox:

Select "Change the background (in minutes)" and enter a time interval. Mine is set to change every hour.

Alternatively, the image list file can be created by clicking on the "Create a new list, or load an existing one" button, choosing a directory for your image list file to go in, typing in a name for the image list file, and clicking the "Open" button. Then use the "Add an image to this list" button to add wallpaper images:

If you then open up the image list file in a text editor, you'll see the filenames of the wallpaper images that you just selected. Mine looks like this:

Later, you can add new images to the list manually (using a text editor) or by using the GUI's "Add an image to this list" button; either way works fine.

If you don't want to wait for your desktop background to change according to the time interval you've set, the following command will reload Xfce and randomly select a new wallpaper image from your image list file:

$ xfdesktop --reload

I create a panel button or a menu entry that uses that command, and I just click on that whenever I want to change to a new, random wallpaper.

I've noticed that the wallpaper changer GUI can be a bit buggy. For example, I see in the list of images that the last wallpaper is shown multiple times even though there's only one line for it in my image list file:

That seems to be a minor issue. Still, some users will not be satisfied with Xfce's built-in random wallpaper changer, and will want to install something else to use, like maybe the Variety Wallpaper Changer (see: I haven't tried Variety in Arch (I do use it in a few other distros), but it's available from the Community repo:

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