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GKrellM Background Changer

GKrellMBgChg is a plugin for GKrellM, which periodically updates the desktops background image. It is also possible to force an image update by clicking on the panel or to "hold" the image with the mouse wheel.

Compile and Install

The most recent version for current GKrellM (GKrellM2) is 0.1.11 (thanks to Bill Wilson for porting, and to Bill Nalen for porting it to Windows): gkrellmbgchg2-0.1.11.tar.gz (md5, sha256, sig).

The last version for GKrellM1 (discontinued) is 0.0.4: gkrellmbgchg-0.0.4.tar.gz (md5, sig).
There are also some old versions available.

You can verify the integrity of the source file with my public key, the id is: 0x4b699572
and the fingerprint is: 99552ffc e9c85004 1bf509fa 52e9a3d1 ac844293.

To compile the plugin, first untar it and change into the new directory with

tar xvfz gkrellmbgchg-<version>.tar.gz
cd gkrellmbgchg-<version>
Then compile it with
and install it into your GKrellM plugin directory (usually $(HOME)/.gkrellm/plugins) with
cp ~/.gkrellm/plugins
make install

After a restart of GKrellM the plugin should be visible in the configuration dialogue.

This plugin is available under the GNU General Public License and was developed analogously to the gkrelldnet plugin by Laurent Papier.

Development versions

The source code is managed in a git repository at: git:// which is also browsable online.

Usage and Configuration

Mouse buttons:

  • Left changes the background image at once and resets the counter. Toggles the image "lock" when used together with the <Shift>-key.
  • Middle reloads the images from the image database (see Image Database).
  • Right opens the GKrellM Background Changer config window. Toggles the image "lock" when used together with the <Shift>-key.

Mouse wheel:

  • Up "locks" the current background image (if you like it very much).
    +<Shift> prolongs the timer by the seconds given below.
  • Down unlocks the image again and the counter continues. Whether it should start from the initial value, or continue where it was, when the image was locked, is configurable.
    +<Shift> prolongs the timer by the seconds given below.


  • Format String
    The text output format is controlled by this string, where
    • $s are the seconds that are remaining to the next update,
    • $S are the seconds that passed since the last change,
    • $m are the minutes that are remaining to the next update,
    • $M are the minutes that passed since the last change,
    • $t is the time remaining to the next update, displayed as "-mm:ss" and
    • $T is the time that passed since the last change, displayed as "mm:ss".
    Default: $t
  • Command
    The Program to use to set the desktop background image (including all parameters). This has no effect on Windows.
    Common cases are:
    • for plain X11: xsetbg -fullscreen
    • using Eterm's Esetroot: Esetroot -f
    • and for Gnome 2.x use: gconftool-2 --type=string --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename
    • for KDE 3.x: see below
    Default: Esetroot -f
  • Image Database
    Full path to a file containing all the images (wherein one full path/line) to be used by the plugin, e.g. the output from "find / -name *.jpg | sort". Entries starting with a "#" will be ignored.
    Default: ~/images.idb
  • Auto update image list
    Select whether the image list should be automatically updated when the image database file is modified.
    Default: off
  • Ignore not found images
    Remove image files which could not be found from the (internal) list.
    Default: off
  • Randomise Images
    Select whether the image list should be randomised or not. If it is not set, it will always start at the first entry of the image database.
    Default: on
  • Reset timer on "lock" release
    Reset the timer to the initial value, if the "image lock" is released.
    Default: off
  • Reset timer on config changes
    Reset the timer on config changes, i.e. when you hit the "apply" button.
    Default: off
  • Change wallpaper on load
    Changes the wallpaper when the plugin loads.
    Default: off
  • Change wallpaper on config changes
    Changes the wallpaper when the config changes.
    Default: off
  • Remember "locked" state from last run
    Remembers whether the current wallpaper was "locked" or not when GKrellM last shut down. Use with change-on-load option off to load a new wallpaper only on request.
    Default: off
  • Remember image number from last run
    Remembers the image number from the database that was shown when GKrellM last shut down. It starts the next time with this image if the image list didn't change.
    Default: off
  • Center text
    Centers the displayed text.
    Default: on
  • Display text
    Toggles the text on or off.
    Default: on
  • Display krell/slider
    Toggles the krell on or off.
    Default: on
  • Mouse wheel adjusts timer
    When selected, scrolling the mouse wheel adjusts the time rather than "lock" the image. Otherwise the adjustment works in combination with the <Shift>-key.
    Default: off
  • Mouse wheel adjusts the timer by nnn seconds
    This is the amount of seconds by which the timer is adjusted when scrolling the mouse wheel while holding the <Shift>-key. See also "Mouse wheel adjusts timer."
    Default: 60

Note for Windows users: the mouse wheel doesn't work there, so <Shift>+click is currently the only way to "lock" the image.

Note for KDE 3.x: the command to change the wallpaper is dcop:

dcop kdesktop KBackgroundIface setWallpaper <image> <mode>

where <image> stands for the full path of an image and <mode> stands for the mode in which KDE should display it: centered, scaled, tiled etc. Because of this extra argument, dcop cannot be used directly by the plugin. One way to use it, is to put the above command line into a shell script which takes only the image filename as an argument and calls dcop appropriately:

# for gkrellmbgchg
# standalone usage: <full path of image file>
dcop kdesktop KBackgroundIface setWallpaper $1 6

After saving this in your path and making it executable, it can be used as the plugin's changer command.

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