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gnome-background-changer — a stand-alone background switcher for the Gnome desktop

Version 0.0.1, October 2013

What is this?

gnome-background-changer is a very simple desktop background switcher (slideshow) for use with the Gnome desktop. I wrote it specifically to work with Fedora 19 using gnome-shell, because the background changer I wrote for earlier Gnome versions stopped working after Gnome 3. This version continues to support a variety of pre-Gnome-3 background-changing methods, but trial-and-error may be needed to figure out which, if any, work on a specific system.

The program is designed to run quietly in the background, and be started by a Gnome session startup script. It will (should) resist attempts to start multiple instances for the same desktop, so you don't have to be too fussy about shutting it down.

When running in the background, you can use further invocations of the program to control it; to switch between backgrounds, for example.

There are other, similar programs, but most don't work with gnome-shell. The ones that do are often somewhat limited — very often, for example, you can't search directories recursively for images.

Basic usage

Invoke the program with one or more directories containing images:
gnome-background-changer [-R] {directory1} {directory2}...
The -R switch indicates that directories should be search recursively.

Building and installation

To build from source: in general, unpack the source bundle and run make, followed by make install. To install a binary, just download the appropriate file from the list below, and copy it to any directory on the $PATH — /usr/bin, for example. Building from source — if practicable — may be better even when there is a binary available, as this will also install the man page, and the source might be more up-to-date than the binaries.

Note: I usually write my general-purpose utilities so that they will work with Cygwin on Windows, but I don't think this one will. Even if a reliable API call can be found that will change the desktop background on Windows 7 and later, the program uses signals and file locks in a rather Linux-specific way.

Further information

See the gnome-background-changer man page.

If the background-switching methods provided by this program don't work for you, but you know a method that does, please let me know, and I'll try to add it to the program.


Copyright © 1994-2013 Kevin Boone. Updated Oct 16 2013