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How to add screensavers in Gnome Shell!

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For this article I will use Ubuntu 12.04 with Gnome Shell 3.4.1. It should be easy to do the same things on your distribution by following these instructions.

First thing you need to do, is to download and install the xscreensaver package. You can find this on your software manager or enter the following command on a terminal:

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra

After that, you will be able to run and configure xscreensaver by the launcher found in the applications menu.

When you launch xscreensaver you are offered a choice to disable gnome-screensaver. This will result in the inability to lock your screen. You won’t need to disable gnome-screensaver actually. You just won’t get the black screen, but you will be able to lock your screen any time.

What you need to do next is to make xscreesaver launch at startup. To do so, enter the following command on a terminal:


This will open a new window from where you can enable and disable the startup of various applications. Press the add button and write what you see on the following screenshot.

You can then press the Add button and enable it. This will launch xscreensaver automatically every time your system starts!

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  • pt3

    blasphemy, they let you configure the screensavers

  • foobar

    I didn’t even recognized that we do not have screensavers anymore. :) However, it was about time to get rid of this relict. They got introduced to avoid negative effects of invariant images on *very* old CRT monitors. Haven’t seen them in a while.

  • Arron Washington

    Can’t say I miss screensavers.

    They were needed way back when, before we had monitors that could shut off instead of burning an image into the screen.

    I mean, even now, if you were to keep my monitor “on” for some reason I’d rather be staring at an animated Gnome 3 lock screen instead — at least I’d have some useful stuff to look at, like current track, or the current time…

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