The command gnome-screensaver -l or with the option -a locks the screen and turns it black. I actually just want to see the screensaver (a huge nice clock). Currently I have a python script that makes use of gnome-screensaver -l from here. But it shows the locked screen only for a second or less and then the screen turns black. I've already set the "dim screen when inactive" setting in the power settings to off. What can I do to display the clock (see image) after a few minutes?

Currently the screen turns black after 1 minute and when I move the mouse, I can see the clock. But I want it to be displayed all the time when I'm idle.

enter image description here


I don't think that this is possible when you use Gnome screensaver. Since Gnome 2 it has lost almost all its features and now it can only lock screen and blank it (Wikipedia even says that it should be called "screen blanker" rather than screensaver).

You can try XScreenSaver which is more powerful. To install it add the next packages: xscreensaver, xscreensaver-data and xscreensaver-gl. After the installation add it to your "Startup Applications". The command should be xscreensaver -nosplash. Check this link for the details and the pictures. man xscreensaver also contains valuable information.
Use xscreensaver-demo to start configuration window for XScreenSaver.

You have no need to uninstall gnome-screensaver, just disable it (you can revert all changes back later): sudo chmod -x /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver. Or rename it to gnome-screensaver.bak. You can also rename gnome-screensaver-command to .bak and make screen lock shortcut work with xscreensaver with this command:
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/xscreensaver-command /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command Source

Then you can use the standard GLText screensaver, which can display current date/time. Or you can browse https://www.gnome-look.org for some alternatives. Here is nice flip-clock screensaver. There are more screensavers here and here.

  • Thank you. I installed xscreensaver and chose "GLText". In Advanced settings I'm using the command line gltext -root -text '%A%n%d %b %Y%n%r' -no-wander -spin 0 -program 'date +"%H:%M Uhr %n%A, %d.%m.%Y %nWoche %W"'. This gives me time and date plus the week number. It has no nice background, but at least it shows und updates the clock. – Sadik Jul 31 '17 at 7:55
  • @Sadik That's good that my answer was useful. Sad that Gnome 3 is only a shadow of a former glory of its predecessor. This regards not only screensaver... – whtyger Jul 31 '17 at 13:59

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