Is there any program which can run a 'live wallpaper' like the ones in Android? I've searched quite a bit but haven't found anything usable yet. anibg looks promising, but it is not working in 12.10.


You can use a video file or a screensaver as your wallpaper with VDesk, which can be downloaded here: http://www.gnome-look.org/CONTENT/content-files/141678-VDesk_1.3.zip.

Just download the file, extract it, open a terminal window, cd to the folder where you extracted the archive, and run sudo ./installer && ./VDesk.
Next you'll get a very simple wizard which allows you to use a video file or a screensaver as your wallpaper.

Setting up VDesk

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  • 2
    +1 There should be a 'best screenshot' badge, you'd win it. – Tom Brossman Feb 26 '12 at 21:19
  • @RobinJ this is great but is not works for videos and have some limited option but u have best among all. i am waiting for some perfect solution for this – twister_void Mar 28 '12 at 3:55
  • @ RobinJ this getting two heavy system is getting hang and not workingin ubuntu 11.10 – twister_void Mar 28 '12 at 5:30
  • @Gaurav_Java It worked fine for me, though it's true that this solution can be quite resource hungry at times. It needs MPlayer (and some codecs?) for playing video's. – RobinJ Mar 28 '12 at 11:59
  • @RobinJ I tired many times its not working – twister_void Aug 24 '12 at 12:32

The Compiz-plugins-livewallpapers project has been abandoned by its developer, in order to be rewritten as a standalone application. That's why you should now remove the package compiz-plugins-livewallpapers and the ppa fyrmir/compiz-plugins, and add the ppa:fyrmir/livewallpaper-stable and then install the package livewallpaper.

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sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fyrmir/compiz-plugins
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install compiz-plugins-livewallpapers

Then launch ccsm (compizconfig-settings-manager). Enable the livewallpaper plugin and then Galaxy or Nexus plugin.

Check the autostart option to enable it on session startup.

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Animated backgrounds are already supported and Ubuntu already ships with some example of wallpapers that change through the day. The only thing missing (as far as I know) is a tool to create such wallpapers.

You can find an example in /usr/share/backgrounds/contest/background-1.xml.

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  • I don't think this is quite what the OP is looking for. They probably want a wallpaper that can actually be seen moving in real time, not just change at specified times. – Christopher Kyle Horton Mar 15 '12 at 16:09
  1. Enlightenment (window manager) supports animated backgrounds. Those are quite heavy on the CPU though.

  2. Conky can be set up so that it draws images over the current bg.
    Official: http://conky.sourceforge.net/
    Nice examples: http://pieter.blinkenshell.org/blog/?tag=conky

  3. Xplanetfx is also a choice (it's a GUI that controls xplanet). This is limited to rendering planet, but it's quite easy to use with the GUI.

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  • Would be nice if you linked your hints to some backgroud information! – Jakob Feb 23 '12 at 14:10


You can try this Compiz plugin which simulates Android's Galaxy Live Wallpaper (instructions from this OMG! Ubuntu article):


Installing the plugin is relatively straightforward. The instructions below assume you already have Compiz and the Compiz settings manager installed.

Open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and enter the following two lines separately, hitting the enter key after each.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ilap/lwp
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install compiz-plugins-livewallpapers

Proceed to enable and configure the plugin: -

  1. Right click on the Desktop and choose ‘Change Desktop Background’
  2. Press the “Add” button
  3. Enter “/usr/share/backgrounds” in “Location” field. Hit the return/enter key
  4. Select “Space_by_ilap.jpg”
  5. Press “Open” followed by “Close”

After the background is changed you need to enable the “Galaxy Live Wallpaper” plugin via the CompizConfig Settings Manager. Launch it from:

**Systems -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Settings Manager**

The Compiz Configuration Settings Manager window will open. In the left-hand side pane select “Live Wallpapers” and check/enable ‘Galaxy Live Wallpaper’.

Toggle the live galaxy effect by pressing the “Super” (Windows logo button) and F4 keys in unison.

Galaxy Live Wallpaper in action

You can delve in the live wallpaper settings accessible through the CompizConfig Settings Manager to further tweak how the wallpaper behaves.

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  • 3
    Have you actually tested this on oneiric? It looks like you've just copied the instructions from some website and it applies to 11.04 – fossfreedom Nov 19 '11 at 13:18
  • 2
    i tried this it is not working on ubuntu 11.10 – twister_void Jan 25 '12 at 15:51

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