Monday, December 04, 2006

Sometimes It's Just The Bling

Two things in the last few days reminded me about how important desktop bling is to the user community. I tend to focus on the technical and bug issues, and sometimes forget this point.

Last week, I did a 2007 technology preview for about 20 City employees, and showed the 3-D rotating desktop found on newer distributions. They were simply amazed and there was a gasp in the room.

Today I took a few minutes to download some free wallpapers for the Christmas holidays. I also compiled the 'oldie but goodie' Xsnow for those people that are helping me test SLED 10 on thin clients. When I first saw it 10 years ago, it was such a server and network hog that it wasn't something that could be deployed. With the technology of today, it barely even shows up on the process list. For some reason I remembered that it didn't work well with GNOME, but obviously this has been fixed. Snowflakes drop down from the top and stack on the top of windows in your current view. (Shot below, follow link to my blog if it doesn't display)

Ok, back to bug reports now :)


Brian Jørgensen said...


I'm currently helping a friend develop a plug-in for compiz/beryl that bring the xsnow feeling to the new Millennium.

It has a nice 3D effect, although it is somewhat CPU hungry at the moment. And should very soon contain a long list o bling features, such as adjustable wind, being able to have snow land on window frames etc.

You can find it at:

Dave Richards said...

Brian, now that is a seriously cool bling project. We are in the process right now of trying to get Xgl working over remote display. I'll load it on the server and give it a try and then try it over remote display and see how it works on the thin clients.

Anonymous said...

The problem you may be remembering with GNOME is that it doesn't seem to play well with Nautilus. At least with 1.42, snow falls through the icons on my desktop and then the background is drawn over snowflake path. Until nautilus realizes that it needs to redraw the icons they are slowly dissapearing.


Andrew Z said...


Thanks for the idea with Xsnow. For our office decorating contest, I rebuilt the RPM for Fedora Core 5 and included a desktop menu. :) Here's the Xsnow RPMs for any FC5 users.

Too bad xglsnow requires Beryl. It looks nice, but we use a more plain X server here.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the neat background? Are there others?

My wife misses changing her desktop theme to be seasonally appropriate since she switched to Linux from Windows, and I've sadly found it lacking as well.

Dave Richards said...

Here is where I downloaded a few wallpapers:

Confirming that indeed the snow does blank out Nautilus icons on the desktop, though a quick mouse-over will refresh them. Not too bad.