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Linux, like other operating systems, has a desktop with a wallpaper. This wallpaper can be customized in many ways. Users can use one wallpaper, or they can make the wallpaper change to one of many wallpapers after a set time. Applications that change the wallpaper after a set time without the user's help is called a wallpaper changer. Three of the most popular wallpaper changers are Wallch, Cortina, and Wally. However, there are others, but they may not be stable.
To obtain some wallpapers, go to any of the listed sites below or a preferred source.
After you download some wallpapers, place all of them in a folder in a location of your choice. If you want the same image to appear as your desktop, open your default wallpaper changer and select your wallpaper. If you wish your wallpaper would change automatically, then you will need Wallch, Cortina, or Wally.
Installing the Wallpaper Changers
Go to the link below that has the wallpaper changer that you wish to use.
- Cortina: http://sourceforge.net/projects/cortina/
- Wallch: http://sourceforge.net/projects/wall-changer/
- Wally: http://sourceforge.net/projects/wally/
For systems with multiple monitors that are each planned to use a different wallpaper -
- Nitrogen: apt-get install nitrogen
- SyncWall: add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8; apt-get install syncwall
NOTE: Wallch is my favorite wallpaper manager and it is strongly recommended by me. However, my opinion is likely biased since I am the former beta-tester of Wallch.
If you have a Linux system that uses RPM files for installation, then you will need to download the source code or look to see if your software manager has the desired wallpaper changer in a repository. The links above contain excellent instructions on compiling the source code. Users may want to use a program called Alien which can convert DEB files to RPM files.
After you have downloaded and installed a wallpaper changer, open the settings for the application. All three contain different options and layouts. The preference windows are self-explanatory.
If you have placed your wallpapers in one folder, then you can have the wallpaper changer use all of the images in the folder by directing the program to the folder.
Types of Wallpapers
There are many types of wallpapers. All computer users are familiar with static wallpapers. These are the images that do not move. When you set a Jpeg or PNG file as your wallpaper, you have setup a static wallpaper. There is no movement or animation.
The other type of wallpaper has many names: live, animated, and dynamic wallpaper. This wallpaper moves. The file may be a GIF, executable, movie file, or a media stream from the Internet. Animated wallpapers are commonly seen on Android devices; many Android devices come with at least one dynamic wallpaper.
NOTE: When a wallpaper changer is set to change the wallpaper every X units of time, that is not a dynamic wallpaper. This would be a slide-show with static images.
Wallch offers a live wallpaper of the Earth that can be activated under "Edit > Extras". On the window that pops up, click "Active Live Earth Wallpaper".
Users can download a live wallpaper application from the link below. This application does what Wallch can do - show the Earth. If you have installed Wallch, then you do not need this program (http://realtimesunlightwallpaper.weebly.com/download.html).
For people that use Debian-based Linux distributions, they can paste one or both of the following commands to install apps that handle live wallpapers.
add-apt-repository ppa:fyrmir/livewallpaper-daily && apt-get update && apt-get install livewallpaper livewallpaper-config livewallpaper-indicator
add-apt-repository ppa:fioan89/slidewall && apt-get update && apt-get install slidewall
When setting a wallpaper, users have the choice between Tile, Zoom, Center, Scale, Stretch, and Span. Each one controls how the images fit on the screen, and each setting is different.
- Tile - This will take the image and place it on the screen multiple times in a grid format like a tiled floor. This setting works best for small images that contain a repetitive or looping image.
- Zoom - This setting zooms into the wallpaper to make it fit on the screen.
- Center - The wallpaper is centered on the screen. Depending on the wallpaper size, black bars may be on the sides or top and bottom of the image.
- Stretch - The image is pulled to fit the screen. This may make the image look odd or disproportion the contents.
- Scale - Scale is like stretch, but the proportions are kept.
- Span - Spanning a wallpaper makes it fit on all monitors connected to a computer. For illustration, if a user has two monitors that share a computer, but each screen has a different view, the user can span the wallpaper. The wallpaper is stretched to fit both screens. Then, one monitor has half of the wallpaper and the other monitor displays the last portion.