XScreenSaver

From Academic Kids

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Xscreensaver_xmatrix.png
XScreenSaver-demo and the XMatrix hack

XScreenSaver is a screensaver program for Unix-like operating systems running the X Window System. It is maintained by Jamie Zawinski. The open source Unix-like systems use it almost universally.

Hacks

One reason for XScreenSaver's tremendous popularity is the ease of adding extra modules, known as "hacks". The program's home page states "Any X program that can draw on the root window can be used with xscreensaver.". Many popular software distributions bundle XScreenSaver together with a large collection of these hacks.

Some popular hacks include:

  • Atlantis - an OpenGL animation showing whales and dolphins
  • BSOD - shows fake fatal error screens from a variety of computer systems, including Microsoft Windows' blue screen of death, a linux kernel panic, a Darwin crash, an Amiga "Guru Meditation" error, a sad mac and many others.
  • Apple2 - simulates an Apple 2 computer, showing a user entering a simple basic program and running it
  • Barcode- a number of coloured barcodes scroll across the screen
  • Flow - a 3d display of strange attractors
  • Flying toasters - 3d toasters fly around, inspired by the classic After Dark screensaver
  • Gears - an OpenGL animation showing intermeshing gears and planetary gears
  • GLMatrix - an OpenGL animation similar to the "character waterfall" title sequence seen in The Matrix and its sequels
  • Penrose - shows the screen being aperiodically tiled with coloured Penrose tiles
  • Spotlight - puts a moving spotlight across the desktop in the style of the James Bond film opening sequences
  • Sproingies - shows an animation in the style of Q*Bert
  • XPlanet - draws planets and other celestial bodies that update in real time
  • XMatrix - animations similar to the "character waterfall" title sequence seen in The Matrix and its sequels

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