I would like to set up a custom application (a separate profile of Firefox browser in my case) to be fired instead of screensaver. I am using Gnome desktop environment. Technically it doesn't have to be a screensaver (xscreensaver, gnome-screensaver). What I want is for the application to be run whenever no keyboard/mouse input has been received for N minutes and to disappear (or minimize) after pressing a key.

Is it possible?

EDIT: Originally I've asked about Firefox only, but I would be fully satisfied with any other reasonable browser (like Chrome?).


If you're lazy and just want it to work, run this at terminal and choose the links you want to view

cd ~/ && https://www.dropbox.com/s/yr17e7p7prae4o1/firefoxscript.sh && chmod +x ~/firefoxscript.sh && ~/firefoxscript.sh && rm ~/firefoxscript.sh    

Step by step instructions:

This is what you want (reference):

1) THIS MUST BE DONE WITH THE BROWSER CLOSED as Firefox overwrites the file on shutdown
- Open your firefox prefs file: gedit .mozilla/firefox/*default/prefs.js
(*default = your profile diretory)

  • Add these two lines at the end of the file:

    user_pref("browser.link.open_external", 1);
    user_pref("browser.link.open_newwindow", 1);

2) Create a file (gedit ~/.webscreen) and paste this into it:
(change /home/huff/Desktop/pages to the right path of your user)


remoteclient=$(find /usr/lib/ -type f -name mozilla-xremote-client | grep -m 1 xulrunner)

if [ `ps -e | grep firefox | wc -l` -eq 0 ]; then

    /usr/bin/firefox -fullscreen &
    sleep 5


while [ `ps -e | grep firefox | wc -l` -gt 0 ]; do

    urls=$(cat /home/huff/Desktop/pages)

    for i in $urls
        $remoteclient -a firefox "openurl($i)"

        if [ $? -gt 0 ]; then
            echo "Firefox not running or ignoring me, bailing out...."
            killall firefox
            exit 0
        sleep 15
exit 0

3) Make the file ~/.webscreen executable (Here's how to do that).

4) Create a file named "pages" at your Desktop gedit ~/Desktop/pages with the links you want:





5) Add a Custom Application Launcher to the panel.

Enjoy! And thanks to mcmlxxii ;-)

  • Reformatted your answer. Mar 26 '11 at 21:49
  • Edited to make it easier to understand.
    – desgua
    Apr 26 '11 at 10:23
  • @desgua could you upload this firefoxscript file again? The link seems to be dead.. Many thanks!
    – sal
    Oct 5 '17 at 16:46
  • 1
    @sal of course! I have updated the link through my mobile phone. Right now I don't have any computer to test it. Can you please confirm that everything is OK?
    – desgua
    Oct 6 '17 at 18:12
  • The link works for me . . . (FWIW!) Impressive this was first posted in 2011. :)
    – Dɑvïd
    Oct 6 '17 at 18:20

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