Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Xscreensaver Config for GLPhotoShow Slideshow

"Slideshow" can mean one of two things, the business version where one is presenting images to others, and the casual version, where one wants to view selections from an art collection. I use the latter. The best casual slideshow for Linux seems to be xscreensaver's GLPhotoShow hack, once it is configured properly, and so I use xscreensaver. Xubuntu plans to scrap xscreensaver in favor of something else in version 14.04 LTS. I will disable whatever they come up with and replace it with xscreensaver. Replacing xscreensaver seems to be common among desktops and distros. I don't know why. Developers could instead try to patch the tried and true. Xscreensaver's developer invites them to do so on his web site. Other screensavers seem to have a lot of problems, especially with the slideshow. But that is their problem, not mine, because whenever I install a Linux distro, the first thing I do is disable their problem, and install xscreensaver. So all of the work that Xubuntu plans  to do reinventing the wheel will not bother me in the slightest--but if it does, then I will abandon Xubuntu.

This config file for xscreensaver is the dope. It is the result of much experimentation and solves a couple of problems. Place it in /home as .xscreensaver to have GLPhotoShow behave as the fully-featured, no-nonsense, intelligent slideshow it was meant to be.

# XScreenSaver Preferences File
# Written by xscreensaver-demo 5.15 for igor on Tue Sep 20 11:21:31 2013.
# igor's version. http//

timeout: 0:30:00
cycle: 0:10:00
lock: False
lockTimeout: 0:00:00
passwdTimeout: 0:00:30
visualID: default
installColormap: True
verbose: False
timestamp: False
splash: False
splashDuration: 0:00:05
demoCommand: xscreensaver-demo
prefsCommand: xscreensaver-demo -prefs
nice: 20
memoryLimit: 0
fade: False
unfade: False
fadeSeconds: 0:00:01
fadeTicks: 10
captureStderr: False
font: *-medium-r-*-140-*-m-*
dpmsEnabled: False
dpmsQuickOff: False
dpmsStandby: 2:00:00
dpmsSuspend: 2:00:00
dpmsOff: 4:00:00
grabDesktopImages: False
grabVideoFrames: False
chooseRandomImages: True
imageDirectory: /home/yourname/Pictures

mode: one
selected: 142

textMode: none
textLiteral: XScreenSaver
textProgram: none
textURL: none

programs: \
- GL: glslideshow -root -delay 100000 -duration \
50 -zoom 100 -pan 1 -fade 1 \n\

pointerPollTime: 0:00:05
pointerHysteresis: 200
initialDelay: 0:00:00
procInterrupts: True
xinputExtensionDev: False
overlayStderr: False


I like to use XFCE as a desktop environment, and Thunar is the file manager in XFCE. One of the nicest things about Thunar that sets it above many other file managers is that one can easily configure complicated custom actions. I would like to see such a feature in KDE's Dolphin.

Configure a custom action in Thunar. Have it appear only for directories and audio files. The action should be "Play Music in VLC & Run Slideshow". The command is /bin/ %F. Executable permission may need to be set for that file. The contents of are:

vlc "$@" & sleep 8 && xscreensaver-command -activate

For movie files, the following custom action should be used:

vlc --play-and-stop %F

The configuration of VLC itself is complicated and highly dependent upon the system's resources. I always like to configure from scratch, in order to optimize the configuration for the particular hardware in use.

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