xsnow - let it snow on your desktop and windows
xsnow [-option .,..]
Xsnow lets it snow on your desktop and windows (sic!).
Drop the snowflakes on the given display. Make sure the display
is nearby, so you can hear them enjoy...
This is the number of snowflakes. Default is 100, max is 1000.
Use the given string as the color for the flakes instead of the
Use the given string as the color for the background. Note that
the usual default desktop pattern consisting of 50% white 50%
black doesn’t particularly look good with Xsnow.
When using solid colored backgrounds specifying this option MAY
greatly improve performance. (Not on SUN Solaris 2.5.1 for
Use the given string as the color for the trees.
This option is obsolete in version 1.41. Used to be the color
for the sleigh. Santa has decided not to have you interfere
with the color of his means of transportation any more.
There are 3 sizes of Santa: 0, 1 and 2. Default is 2. Thanks to
Thomas Linder for the (big) Santa!
The speed Santa should not exceed if he doesn’t want to get
fined. The default speed for Santa size 0 is 1, for Santa 1
it’s 2 and for Big Santa it’s 4.
This is to slow down Santa with respect to the snow. Default
the value is 3, meaning that Santa is moved only every third
time the snow flakes move. Specifying zero here is considered
This is the number of milliseconds delay after updating
everything. Default is 50 milliseconds, i.e. 20 updates per
If you specify this option the snowflakes will ’whirl’ more
dramatically, resulting in a somewhat jerkier movement.
-whirl This sets the whirl factor, i.e. the maximum adjustment of the
horizontal speed. The default value is 4.
-nowind Default it gets windy now and then. If you prefer it quiet
With -windtimer you can specify how often it gets windy. It’s
sort of a period in seconds, default value is 30.
These options set the maximum horizontal and vertical speed.
The default X maximum speed is 4, the default maximum Y speed
This sets the maximum thickness of the snow on top of windows
and at the bottom of the display respectively. The default
snowdepth for windows is 15, at the bottom of the screen the
default is 50.
-offset With -offset you can specify that snow starts building up a
number of pixels lower or higher. This is handy if you use twm
and squeezed window titles.
Do not display the trees.
Do not display Santa Claus running all over the screen.
Do not have snow sticking anywhere.
Do not keep snow on top of the windows.
Do not keep snow at the bottom of the screen.
Xsnow takes care to not let it snow on Pop-up windows, due to
their nature. If however, you use an Xserver that has backing
store on for all windows, then specify this option. Symptom
would be that no snow is kept on any window, but only at the
Prints the current Xsnow version and does not start Xsnow. The
current version (of this man page) is 1.42, December 14th 2001
xsnow& (Mind the empersand) Starts xsnow as a background process. Use
this if you start xsnow from a script. To stop xsnow find the
process id (pid) as follows: ps -ef|grep xsnow and use the kill
command to stop xsnow.
xsnow -bg SkyBlue3 -sc snow
Sets the background to a bluish color and lets it snow white.
xsnow -ssnowdepth 100
Starts with a thin layer of snow that gradually builds up at
the bottom of the screen.
xsnow -santa 2 -santaspeed 10
Gives you the biggest Santa at a speed that is hardly legal.
xsnow -delay 100 -notrees
For slow systems use longer delay and don’t draw the trees.
xsnow -snowflakes 1000 -delay 0
Uses the maximum number of snowflakes and runs as fast as
xsnow -bg SkyBlue3 -solidbg
Sets the background to a bluish color and specify -solidbg for
increased performance (depending on your system!).
See /usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt for the list of colors and their respective
poetic names, like Chartreuse and SkyBlue3.
Rick Jansen (email@example.com)
Copyright 1984,1988,1990,1993-1995,2000-2001 by Rick Jansen
Xsnow is available freely and you may give it to other people as is,
but I retain all rights. Therefore it does not classify as ’Public
Domain’ software. However, it *is* allowed to package Xsnow for
Unix/Linux distributions, CD-Roms etc, and to make the necessary
changes to makefiles etc. to facilitate this.
Xsnow borrows some code from xroach by J.T. Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Xsnow uses vroot.h for use with virtual window managers. vroot.h is
copyright 1991 by Andreas Stolcke, copyright 1990 by Solbourne Computer
The big Santa was made by Thomas Linder (Thomas.Linder@gmx.net)
The idea and code for wind are from Eiichi TAZOE
Xsnow 1.42 works with KDE, thanks to Robin Hogan
<R.J.Hogan@reading.ac.uk>, who figured this out for xpenguins 2.2
Xsnow itself doen’t use very much CPU time, but it can load the X
server and/or network quite substantially. Use less snowflakes and a
bigger delay in such a case. On a standalone workstation there usually
will not be be any problem. Another improvement can be to specify a
solid background color with -bg and with this also specify the option
-solidbg. This may greatly improve performance! DO check this though,
on some systems (SUN Solaris 2.5.1) performance is much WORSE.
Xsnow now works with KDE, and some other root window occupying desktop
management systems. On KDE your icons will be snowed away
magnificently, although that is not harmful for your icons really.
Simply wipe with a small window where you thought your trash was, and
see it appear. Now you need to scrape your computer screen too, not
just your car’s.
SGI Irix 5.x
Silicon Graphics and Irix 5.x users may not see any snow or Santa at
all, as long the desktop icons are visible. To circumvent this problem
issue this command:
The icons will disappear and Xsnow will work perfectly. To restart the
desktop just start /usr/lib/desktop/startdesktop or select
Desktop->Home Directory from the toolchest.
It’s even possible to have both - desktop icons and xsnow (and even
multiple desks). You need to modify the window manager’s resource file
4DWm, the file ~/.desktop-‘hostname‘/4DWm. Example:
*Global.backgroundDescription: -execute /etc/killall -TERM xsnow ;
*Desk 1.backgroundDescription: -execute /etc/killall -TERM xsnow ;
*Desk 2.backgroundDescription: -execute /etc/killall -TERM xsnow ;
Restart the window manager (4Dwm) from the toolchest and Xsnow should
appear. What this does is stop the currently running Xsnow and start a
new one when you switch to another desktop.
HP and hp-ux
HP also uses a Workspace Manager which may interfere with Xsnow. If
Xsnow does not appear: In the "Style Manager", choose "Backdrop" and
select "NoBackdrop". You should now be able to run Xsnow.
Snow does not stick?
On black-and-white X terminals snow may not stick to windows because
backing store is on. Try specifying the option -nonopopup when starting
Snow hovering above windows?
If you use twm it is possible you see the snow layer hovering a little
bit above your windows. In that case set BorderWidth 0 in your .twmrc
file. If you use windows with ’squeezed title bars’ specify a -offset
to get the snow on the windows itself.