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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A week since I became an Archer !!!

Last week I shifted, after a lot of contemplation (and hardwork), over to Arch Linux.

Given it wasn’t that easy – once my Ubuntu Grub disappeared, I had to reinstall my Arch distro around 8 times to figure out where I was going wrong – and yes, at one moment of time I actually had 4 different OSes booted on separate partitions on my laptop !! In the end I finally had to settle with Archbang Linux, based on the Arch kernel but with a different Window Manager.

Image

And I tell you – the last week has been very tough but ( now that I come to think of it ) also very rewarding. Trying to get myself acquainted with my terminal – Terminator, different openbox themes, mpd, daemon files, the Arch wiki and forums and conky configs etc has been very exciting and I’m always learning.

So my desktop finally looks like :

Image

This has come from a weeks worth of fiddling around.

For those of you who have no clue whats going on around here –

The arch philosophy 2.0 :

Simple
without unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications
Elegant
combining simplicity, power, effectiveness, a quality of neatness and an ingenious grace of design
Versatile
capable of doing many things competently; having varied uses or many functions

Expedient
easy, or quick; convenient

At the end of all of this you get a system which is yours and only yours. It has evolved as you have, reflects your personality, is as efficient as you have made it to be.

Never thought so much about an OS, have you?

But after all of this, Arch is not, I repeat NOT for everyone. It is for users who have spent considerable time with the CLI, know their way around a Linux system, have a hacker tendency – you learn by tweaking and fiddling around the system, and who are capable of dealing with errors and crashes on their own.

Or those who are capable of keeping up Arch’ssteeplearning curve.

With respect to the last point, the Arch user community is the “RTFM” type ( read the f****** manual ). Yes they will help you out, but they expect you to have researched a lot and read the first 5 pages of google search results. Thats how the Arch philosophy works – you (ALWAYS) learn by doing. No matter where the error is, you will always figure it out.

For more info head on over to http://www.archlinux.org/.

For the next few weeks, I’ll probably posting a few more posts on my progress.