Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want an animated desktop wallpaper on Ubuntu. For example, the animated Enlightenment background.

How does one achieve this?

share|improve this question
What kind of animation? Animated gif? Video? Slide show? – desgua May 5 '11 at 17:47
Animated gif or video. – Jordy May 6 '11 at 3:40
Please check this:… I will post the instructions ASAP – desgua May 11 '11 at 23:37
It would be great if there was some unobtrusive animation in the background such as you have it on the Playstation 3 Menu... slowly changing colors, ... a few particles ... – gruenewa May 22 '11 at 12:10
I made the question more general (it will probably get a lot of views and we can use it as the canonical question :). – RolandiXor Oct 27 '11 at 0:33

Live Wallpaper

The Live Wallpaper app was featured on OMG! Ubuntu.

A number of live wallpapers come with the software, including:

  • Circles

    LiveWallpaper screenshot - Circles

  • Galaxy

    LiveWallpaper screenshot - Galaxy

  • Nexus

    LiveWallpaper screenshot - Nexus

  • Noise

    LiveWallpaper screenshot - Noise

  • Photoslide

    LiveWallpaper screenshot - Photoslide

(Obviously, these look really cool when they're actually moving.)

Additional live wallpapers can be added as plugins written in C.

share|improve this answer
Unfortunately, the stable PPA seems not to work, but I just installed daily and that looks good. Also, make sure to install the package livewallpaper-config (settings application). Not sure why they didn't put all in one package... – Cedric Reichenbach Aug 21 '14 at 9:50

I have seen 2 backgrounds that are animated and there is a package called xplanet for 1 of them inside USC. This website is where it comes from:

It is a picture of the earth and moon turning and looks absolutely amazing.


Unfortunatly I can not get this to work in 11.04.

There is also one for a realtime sunlight: PPA (to install it) can be found here:


share|improve this answer
The person that downvoted me: care to tell me why two year later you believe this still works? It is pre Unity... – Rinzwind May 7 '13 at 7:16

You can use A-Desk, this is a script that allows you to use video files as a wallpaper. Here is a link to my article about installing a-desk 0.17 on Ubuntu 10.10.

Install a-desk 0.17 on Ubuntu 10.10

There is a new version of A-Desk (0.18) but installing it works the same.

The problem with A-Desk is that all the download links for it fail these days.

share|improve this answer
Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – RolandiXor Oct 27 '11 at 0:34

If you can live with a "sort of" animated background, the best solution is Ubuntu's "slideshow" feature, which is a bit buried in Settings and only editable via slighly non-GUI means. It allows you to change your wallpaper, also in short intervals, thus giving you an animated impression.

This feature is covered in these questions and discussed in these blogposts: Advanced Background Slideshows in Ubuntu and Animated desktop wallpaper on Ubuntu Linux, the latter comparing it with other options.

share|improve this answer

I found a great tool called xwinwrap, more specifically shantz-xwinwrap, that lets you draw the out-put of any program (video player, screensaver) to the desktop background. Install instructions and download at

share|improve this answer
You should summarize the steps here and provide the link only for reference. This avoids problems with linkrot. – Christopher Kyle Horton Mar 21 '13 at 3:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.