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How do I configure the screensaver in Ubuntu? I can see that gnome-screensaver is running.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 33 down vote accepted

Starting with 12.04, Ubuntu doesn't ship with any screensavers, just a black screen that appears when your system is idle. If you’d rather have screensavers, you can swap gnome-screensaver for XScreenSaver.

Screensavers were actually removed back in Ubuntu 11.10. Ubuntu uses gnome-screensaver and inherited the change from upstream GNOME. The GNOME developers think a black screen that puts your monitor into lower-power mode is optimal.

Installing XScreenSaver

Open a terminal and run the following command to uninstall gnome-screensaver:

sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver

Install XScreenSaver and some additional screensaver packages with the following command:

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-data-extra xscreensaver-gl-extra

Configuring your screensaver

After installation, perform a search in the Dash for Screensaver. Launch the Screensaver utility and use it to configure XScreenSaver and select your screensaver settings.

The Screensaver utility will prompt you to stop the gnome-screensaver process and launch the xscreensaver background process when you start it.

By default, XScreenSaver will choose a random screensaver each time it starts. You can specify the screensavers it chooses from or enable "Only One Screensaver" mode to always use your favorite screensaver.

enter image description here

Adding to Startup

To actually use the screensavers, you'll want XScreenSaver to start in the background each time you log in. If it doesn’t start, it can’t notice your system is idle and launch screensavers.

Get started by launching the Startup Applications utility from the Dash. Add a startup program with the following command. The name and comment here can be anything you like:

xscreensaver -nosplash

xscreenserver

Reverting Your Changes

Reverting these changes is simple. Just run these commands to uninstall XScreenSaver and reinstall gnome-screensaver:

sudo apt-get remove xscreensaver xscreensaver-data-extra xscreensaver-gl-extra
sudo apt-get install gnome-screensaver

Source and more about: How to Add Screensavers to Ubuntu 12.04.

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1  
Very helpful, Radu. Thank you very much. –  oz1cz May 9 '13 at 13:23
    
This is a really stupid question, but how do I set when it will start the screensaver? –  MadTux Jul 8 '13 at 18:42
1  
Superb answer! @MadTux: you set when it will start in the bottom corner of the 'screensaver' program window –  eggonlegs Oct 22 '13 at 6:20
    
You can configure xscreensaver from the command line by running xscreensaver-demo. –  Drew Noakes Apr 24 at 9:07
    
Great resource! Please also add this information to your post. It's about the fact that Ctrl+Alt+L stops working when replacing Gnome's screensaver with XScreensaver, and how to fix that: askubuntu.com/questions/75692/… –  Mihai Danila May 14 at 18:01

no, you don't have to uninstall gnome-screensaver, and install xscreensaver. You can just go to System Settings -> Brightness and Lock to setup the idle time of gnome-screensaver. The gnome-screensaver can put your LCD monitor into low activity mode so it is the best for your monitor.

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While gnome-screensaver didn’t get DPMS running in natty, in precise it finally does (i.e. my LCD backlight is actually off!) – The place to configure the timeout is right; but I don’t know why it has to display my full name (in the corner of a black screen) for a while, before it starts ... “saving”. –  Robert Siemer Mar 23 at 16:27

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