Ubuntu Wallpaper Slideshow

When you right click on Ubuntu 12.10’s desktop and select “Change Desktop Background”, there is one special entry in the list of wallpapers with a clock logo. When that entry is selected, your desktop wallpaper changes automatically throughout the day, showing you all the Ubuntu Community Wallpapers. This is really neat, but what if you want to use your own pictures?

The slideshow and its appearance in the dialog box is controlled by text files in 2 locations. One XML file defines the slideshow, and other tells Ubuntu where the slideshow file is. Let’s start with the slideshow file.

Slideshow XML File

The slideshow XML file is in /usr/share/backgrounds/contest

There’s a file named quantal.xml inside. If you upgraded from Ubuntu 12.04, precise.xml should be in there too. Copy this file and give it a meaningful name. Now open it in a text editor.

The interesting bits are the <static> and <transition> sections. The example below was taken from the precise.xml file.

  <static>
    <duration>1795.0</duration>
    <file>/usr/share/backgrounds/Twilight_Frost_by_Phil_Jackson.jpg</file>
  </static>
  <transition>
    <duration>5.0</duration>
    <from>/usr/share/backgrounds/Twilight_Frost_by_Phil_Jackson.jpg</from>
    <to>/usr/share/backgrounds/Precise_Pangolin_by_Vlad_Gerasimov.jpg</to>
  </transition>
  <static>
    <duration>1795.0</duration>
    <file>/usr/share/backgrounds/Precise_Pangolin_by_Vlad_Gerasimov.jpg</file>
  </static>
  <transition>
    <duration>5.0</duration>
    <from>/usr/share/backgrounds/Precise_Pangolin_by_Vlad_Gerasimov.jpg</from>
    <to>/usr/share/backgrounds/Twilight_Frost_by_Phil_Jackson.jpg</to>
   </transition>

The code is pretty self explanatory. Replace the file paths with full paths to pictures of your choice. At the transitions, put the file paths of the previous file and the next file. You can play with the duration values if you wish, but I haven’t tried them.

For the final transition, loop back to the first picture in the sequence.

Wallpaper XML File

Now you need to tell the Desktop Appearance dialog box where your slideshow file is. Navigate to /usr/share/gnome-background-properties

Create a new XML file in this directory and copy the code below into it.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE wallpapers SYSTEM "gnome-wp-list.dtd">
<wallpapers>
  <wallpaper deleted="false">
    <name>My Custom Slideshow</name>
    <filename>/usr/share/backgrounds/contest/my_slideshow.xml</filename>
    <options>zoom</options>
  </wallpaper>
</wallpapers>

Save the file and open the “Change Desktop Background” dialog. Your custom slideshow should appear in the selection pane. Select it and enjoy your own set of desktop wallpapers.

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One thought on “Ubuntu Wallpaper Slideshow

  1. Great! its very cool!

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