10 steps to setting up a live wallpaper on [Arch] Linux.

One reason why people switch over to Linux is the cool customization and tweaking capabilities offered.

One of my first tweaks on Arch was setting up a live desktop. I could have used so many conky configurations, so many skins and themes.. but this simple trick was.. elegant.

My desktop wallpaper is now a live view of the Earth from one of NASA’s satellites. It keeps updating every three hours, with the shadow of the Sun visibly shifting.

So the steps to set one up on your Linux desktop are :

1. Download and install gnome-schedule from your package manager.

Install the package gnome-schedule by using the command : “sudo pacman -S gnome-schedule” or its equivalent in your package manager.

2. Run the application

3. Click the “New” icon to setup a new task and select the option : ” A task that launches recurrently “. Give it a title – moving wallpaper or something.

4. Now the command : In the command line copy this and paste it there : ” wget -O 1600.jpg –user-agent=”Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/8.0.552.224 Safari/534.10″ http://static.die.net/earth/mercator/1600.jpg

Understanding the command :  wget is a software package for retrieving files from the web. Here the -O option means “–output document=file”.

the file is 1600.jpg from the site root : “http://static.die.net/earth/mercator/1600.jpg” whereas the  –user-agent option is used to circumvent a kind of protection against direct downloads on that site. Each of the option therein are for different web browsers.

5. Choose to “Suppress the output” in the next option.

6. Below these, there are options to set how frequently this command runs. Make it a 3 hour update. Put “*/3” in the hour line.

7. Save and execute the command.

8. The image should be saved in your “Home” directory. Put it as your desktop background.

There it is!! Now every three hours, your background is updated as the image on the site is updated. Here’s mine :

@5 pm.

My desktop. It’s around 5 pm as of now.

Note: This setup could’ve also been done without the use of the gnome-schedule package. A simple crontab could have done the trick as well. Or instead, one might’ve used the software package : “xPlanetFx” – a much more comprehensive but complicated option.


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