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Customising your ubuntu screensaver

October 17, 2009

Sure Ubuntu and other FOSS softwares do talk about contributing to open source. But how many of us can actually do something with the box in front of us?

Many at my college actually are too lazy to customize the looks, add applications or themes or looks to their ubuntu. So they just install a customized version of ubuntu and there we go they have got everything they need. I don’t do that: i get a basic install and install everything as and when necessary. That’s why I don’t have a fancy laptop with super slick and super cool looks thanks to my virtue of laziness and the philosophy of trying to do things myself.

So, I was searching for Ubuntu screensavers and didn’t manage to find any(one site gave me windows screensavers saying they were for ubuntu; Ha! I’m not that dumb). So i find this interesting site that tells me how to customize my screensaver and I say why not give this a shot and I do so. Few moments later, I’m sitting in front of a screen with my picture floating around the screen.

Here’s what to do.


Open a command line terminal(yes no other GUI altrenative; you need to use the CLI)


Type in the command “cd /usr/share/applications/screensavers” without the quotes.


Copy the ubuntu_theme.desktop to any file of desired name say me.desktop.

cp ubuntu_theme.desktop me.desktop


Open the file me.desktop using your favourite text editor as root user.

I used gedit to edit the file.

gksudo gedit me.desktop


Change the name(i used the name “me”), comment as required and change the line

Exec=floaters /usr/share/pixmaps/ubuntu-screensaver.svg

to Exec=floaters <path>

where <path> is the path of the file you want to display.


Go to System -> Preferences -> Screensavers and in the list search for entry in the list with name “me”. Once you select it, you’ll see your screensaver just like what the floating ubuntu was except the picture that’s floating is what you specified and not ubuntu logo!!! There you go; you’ve created your own screensaver for ubuntu!! And to share this, just give everyone the .desktop file and the photo to the correct path.(Maybe you could create an archive with the image, the .desktop file and script to copy the image and .desktop file to the correct location adn there’s you go, you’ve even automated it!! The possibilities are endless!!!)

Have fun creating your own screensaver for ubuntu!!!


From → Ubuntu

  1. Ramann Bharadwaj permalink

    hi arvind………..i’m ur junior studying in amrita at amritapuri…do u remember the day when u taught us how to use a blog during a foss session……….i just want ur help in knowing how to store few more blogs of seniors or rather anybody …… my blog………….

    eagerly awaiting ur reply……..or u can even visit my blog…in google.”ramann’s blog” and somehow suggest few methods to improve my blog. !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Arvind permalink

      Dude, first of all I really don’t know any names of anyone who was there for the session except the guy from ECE A i think: Anand. So, I’m really sorry I don’t know you by your name; perhaps if I see you I might recognize you.
      You can use the blog roll to display the links to other sites in your blog. Just check the wordpress help for that (If you are using wordpress that is; something like this surely exists for blogger too I believe).

      And yes, I failed to locate your blog address because your share surnames with Vishal Bharadwaj. That’s what happens if you share your name with a famous personality. Just drop in your blog address always: people don’t have the time to trawl through the million results that a search engine returns. Remember this in future ok.

  2. Hello!
    That’s particularly interesting bit of information, thanks a lot! But I can’t get what kind of possibilities I have with Ubuntu screensavers?

    • Arvind permalink

      Jackie, this is a very basic method for creating screensavers for ubuntu; I’m sure there are better methods to do so; this is something anyone can do without the need for any development tools – all they need is a text editor and some common sense.

      Jackie, I really didn’t get you by what you meant by “what kind of possibilities I have with Ubuntu screensavers?” Are you suggesting that Ubuntu doesn’t have a very strong user base to actually create screensavers for it? I quite didn’t understand – could you please elaborate a bit?

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