Slowly changing the background in XFCE

August 22, 2008


Google is always helpful of course, so I’ve found this blog entry on how to set the background in xfce.

It boils down to setting a jpg in XFCE’s backdrops.list and then reloading xfdesktop. Crude, but it works.

This can de done with the following command:

cat <<EOF > ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/backdrops.list
# xfce backdrop list

And then

xfdesktop --reload 

However when running from CRON it is more easy to do a killall -USR1 xfdesktop.

A collage from ATComputing, Jacques loonen had a little script that will download a nice image from some site showing the earth with actual clouds rendered on it. I’m going to use it to make a background that slowly changes from day into night and vice verse.

The following script wil be run from cron, it will generate a new jpg suitable for background use. Images from are particularly nice.

wget \ \
-O $IMG 
# not really needed, but... heh
cat <<EOF > ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/backdrops.list
# xfce backdrop list
killall -USR1 xfdesktop 

The # xfce backdrop list comment seems to necessary to make it all work.


CRON is the most natural fit to download new images. So save the script to a place where it can be found, say in ~/bin/xfcebg and edit your user cron entry with crontab -e and put something like this in there

*/5 * * * *       $HOME/bin/xfcebg

That’s it!

Didn’t like it

The whole scaling seems to be a bit off and the earth image is way too white, so I’m already back on my go’old background :-)