The latest "series" of articles for Linux here on Ghacks revolves around beautifying your desktop...specifically, desktop wallpaper. The first article was all about Managing wallpaper in GNOME. I wanted to continue that particular subject by introducing a simple little tool (that hasn't actually been updated since 2008 - but still works like a champ) called Desktop Drapes. This tool allows you to setup a group of images to be used as your desktop backgound. Desktop Drapes can cycle through those wallpapers, changing them at a user-defined period. Desktop Drapes is ideal for those who like to change their wallpaper frequently and would like to set this up to be done automatically.
And although Desktop Drapes hasn't been updated in some time, the application will still work on recent releases. In fact, I have it working on Ubuntu 10.04. In this article I will show you how to install and use Desktop Drapes.
Installing Desktop Drapes is simple. Just follow these steps:
That's it. You are ready to run the application.
There is little you need to do to prepare your Desktop Drapes. Actually, the only thing you need to do is gather together a collection of wallpaper in a single directory. I place mine in ~/Pictures/Wallpaper. Once you have that ready, you can use Desktop Drapes.
To run Desktop Drapes you can either click <Alt>F2 to open the run dialog and issue the command drapes or you can click System > Preferences > Desktop Drapes. Either way you won't see a new window open when you run the command. Instead you notice a small applet in your notification area (see Figure 1). The Drapes icon is the farthest icon to the left (in Figure 1). In order to set Desktop Drapes up, right-click the icon and select Preferences from the menu.
When you open up the preferences window you will see two tabs (see Figure 2). In the first tab you add files for Drapes to monitor. You can also, from this same tab, dictate how the image will be presented. You can choose from:
This choice will be applied to all images, so you will want to make sure all of your wallpapers will work with that option.
In the next tab you can configure the following options:
Now, let's say you don't want to have Drapes manage the time in which your wallpapers are switched. If you want to manually handle this task you can switch the Timing selection to Never (drag the handle all the way to the right) and then you can just left-click the Drapes icon when you want your wallpaper to switch!
If you are like me, and you like your wallpaper to switch a lot, this little gem is perfect for you. And don't think that if you are running Drapes that you can't also manage your backgrounds with the standard gnome-appearance-properties app. You can. But what's the point in that if you want your wallpaper to change at will?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.