xsnow - let it snow on your desktop and windows
Xsnow lets it snow on your desktop and windows (sic!).
- -display display_name
- Drop the snowflakes on the given display. Make sure the
display is nearby, so you can hear them enjoy...
- -snowflakes num_snowflakes
- This is the number of snowflakes. Default is 100, max is
- -sc snowflake_color
- Use the given string as the color for the flakes instead of
the default "snow".
- -bg background_color
- 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
- -tc tree_color
- Use the given string as the color for the trees.
- -slc sleigh_color
- This option is obsolete in version 1.41.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.
- -santa santa_size
- There are 3 sizes of Santa: 0, 1 and 2. Default is 2.
Thanks to Thomas Linder for the (big) Santa!
- -santaspeed santa_speed
- 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.
- -santaupdatefactor factor
- 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 very
- -delay delay
- This is the number of milliseconds delay after updating
everything. Default is 50 milliseconds, i.e. 20 updates per second
If you specify this option the snowflakes will 'whirl' more dramatically,
resulting in a somewhat jerkier movement.
- This sets the whirl factor, i.e. the maximum adjustment of
the horizontal speed. The default value is 4.
- Default it gets windy now and then. If you prefer it quiet
- -windtimer period
- With -windtimer you can specify how often it gets windy.
It's sort of a period in seconds, default value is 30.
- -xspeed -yspeed
- These options set the maximum horizontal and vertical
speed. The default X maximum speed is 4, the default maximum Y speed is
- -wsnowdepth -ssnowdepth
- 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
- 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
- No Rudolf.
- 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 screen bottom.
- Prints the current Xsnow version and does not start Xsnow.
The current version (of this man page) is 1.42, December 14th 2001
- (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 -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
- xsnow -delay 100 -notrees
- For slow systems use longer delay and don't draw the
- xsnow -snowflakes 1000 -delay 0
Uses the maximum number of snowflakes and runs as fast as possible.
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 1984,1988,1990,1993-1995,2000-2001 by Rick Jansen (email@example.com)
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
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 Inc.
The big Santa was made by Thomas Linder (Thomas.Linder@gmx.net)
The idea and code for wind are from Eiichi TAZOE (email@example.com,
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
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
*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 Xsnow.
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