Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 Explained - Setting up a Screensaver

In the default install of Ubuntu 12.04, the screensaver merely blanks your screen. You can modify to lock or not lock when it does that, but that's about it. If that's all you want, you should probably check out another article.

If you want something more colorful, or especially if you want to have a slideshow of your photographs, then you will need to do a bit more work first. I would add that in Windows the photo slideshow is rather broken, so the Linux version should please the other photographers out there as well.

Presuming you have already installed Ubuntu onto your system, the first thing you will need to do is to go to the "Ubuntu Software Center" and install "Synaptic Package Manager". This allows you to avoid having to do a lot of "Apt-Get" stuff from the command line.

Once that is installed, open it and click "Reload" (Blue Arrow making a circle) to make sure it is looking at the latest versions of all the packages you might want to install. Once that is done, go to the quick filter dialog and enter "xscreen". Here you want to select:
xscreensaver
xscreensaver-data
xscreensaver-data-extra
xscreensaver-gl
xscreensaver-gl-extra

Note that once you select one of these, some of the others may be selected for you. Regardless, make sure ALL of these have been selected, and then select the "Apply" (Green Checkmark) option.

Once this has been done, go to Dash, and type in "screen" which should show screensaver as one of the options. At this point if you are NOT planning to use the Photo Slideshow option, you are done.

If you do want the Photo Slideshow, you will need to go back to the Synaptic Package Manager, click "Reload" again to be safe, and in the quick filter dialog first enter "libxss" and select all the matching packages. Then clear that and enter "kdelibs" and select:
kdelibs-bin
kdelibs5-data
kdelibs5-plugins

as with the prior instance, you may get some selected as soon as you pick others. You will likely get additional KDE libraries added by selecting these. Once you have made sure all of them are selected, click "Apply", and wait until it has loaded everything.

Now when you go to Dash and start up the Screensaver again, pick the GLSlideshow option. You should now be able to select a directory where you have GIF/JPEG/PNG files and have the screensaver show those in the manner you choose.

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