Xautolock monitors console activity under the X window system, and
fires up a program of your choice if nothing happens during a
user configurable period of time. You can use this to automatically
start up a screen locker in case you tend to forget to do so manually
before having a coffee break.
Xautolock will typically be used to lock the screen but it really
doesn't care what program you make it start. The only real assumption
made by xautolock is that a new countdown starts as soon as the
Nearly 6 years after the release of version 2.1, version 2.2 fixes a
few minor things, but most of all features freshly updated contact
information, as I have left my previous employer in 2006.
For more details on any of the changes, refre to the Changelog file.
HOW TO USE IT
Just read the man page, it's really simple.
If you're on VMS, you should also check out the VMS.notes file.
HOW IT WORKS
If xautolock has been compiled to support either the Xidle, or the
MIT ScreenSaver extensions (or both), it first tries to find out
whether the X server also supports one of them. If it does, xautolock
will periodically call it to determine the amount of time elapsed
since the last input event, and will then base its actions upon that.
In the absence of both extensions, xautolock starts by traversing the
window tree, selecting SubstructureNotify on all windows and adding
each window to a temporary list. About +- 30 seconds later, it scans
this list, asking for KeyPress events. However, it takes care
to interfere as little as possible with the event propagation
mechanism. This is the reason for the delay between the moment
xautolock learns about a new window (and consequently asks for
SubstructureNotify events) and the moment it asks for KeyPress
events. Whenever a new window is created by an application, a similar
process takes place. In contradiction to what many people believe,
this scheme does not cause a noticeable overhead.
In addition, xautolock periodically issues a QueryPointer request in
order to find out whether the pointer has moved and implement the
"corners" feature as decribed in the man page.
If nothing happens within a user-specified period of time, xautolock
will fire up a program which is supposed to lock the screen. While
this program is running, xautolock itself remains on the look-out for
Xautolock should compile straight out of the box. Here's the recepy:
1. Edit the Imakefile to your likings.
3. Have fun.
If this procedure fails, the most likely reason is the absence of the
MIT ScreenSaver extension on your system. If this is the case, simply
edit the Imakefile accordingly and try again.
If compilation fails because MIT ScreenSaver is not available, do the
+ Find out whether the X server supports it (use the xdpyinfo
command for this). Quite often it will, even if the support for
compiling programs with it is absent. If this applies to you,
nag your sysadmin and/or vendor about it. MIT ScreenSaver is a
pretty standard extension that IMHO should be provided with any
X based system.
+ If you cannot find MIT ScreenSaver, repeat the same procedure
with Xidle (except for the `nag your vendor' bit). If your
server supports Xidle, but you do not have the development
files and cannot find them on the web, just send me and e-mail
and I will forward you a copy.
+ If you are still out of luck, use the good old backup mechanism.
Xautolock wil be just as happy without server extensions.
Nowadays, all modern X servers come with MIT ScreenSaver. However,
some (or most/all?) of the HP ones apparently don't, so by default
this feature is disabled on HP-UX. Simply edit the Imakefile if you
Important notice: the first two bugs listed here are only present in
case xautolock has been compiled with support for neither the Xidle
nor the MIT ScreenSaver extensions, or in case the X server being
used does not support them. They make up a good reason to get one of
these extensions installed.
1. If, when creating a window, an application waits for more than
30 seconds before calling selecting KeyPress events on non-leaf
windows, xautolock may interfere with the event propagation
mechanism. This effect is theoretical and has never been
observed in real life.
2. Xautolock can not properly handle the secure keyboard mode of
xterm, since that will prevent any other process, including
xautolock, from noticing the keyboard events aimed at the
xterm. Consequently, xautolock sometimes will think that there
is no keyboard activity while in reality there is.
3. Under some configurations, xautolock fails to exit upon logout.
This problem can occur (but does not always do so) under the
following combined circumstances:
+ Xautolock is started in background from within a .xinitrc.
+ Your are trusting your windowmanager to kill all X processes
when quitting (which, by the way, is not a good idea). One
well known source of problems in this area consists of olwm
and its look-alikes.
+ The .xinitrc contains a "wait" statement to make it collect
all background processes upon logout.
The simplest workround for this problem is to start xautolock
from within a subshell. I.e. use this:
( xautolock & )
On Solaris an alternative solution (which basically works in
exactly the same way) is to use this:
4. The -disable, -enable, -toggle, -exit, -locknow, -unlocknow,
and -restart options depend on access to the X server to do
their work. This implies that they will be suspended in case
some other application has grabbed the server all for itself.
5. Xautolock does not check whether the screen locker specified
actually is available.
6. The xautolock resources have a dummy resource classes.
If you can find others, please notify firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that, while I still scan most X related newsgroups, I do not
actually read them on a regular basis anymore, as X no longer is
a part of my job. I do still actively support xautolock on a daily
basis, though. Hence you are much more likely to get quick help if
you contact me directly.
It looks like there is a bug in the event management code of some X
servers (amongst which both X11R4 and X11R5 on older versions of
SunOS). If you are using version 1.7 of xautolock (previously known
as patchlevel 7), it is best to reset the server before switching to
version 1.8 or later. If you fail to do so, an old version 1.7 bug
may still show up. (Some keyboard events were being hijacked by
version 1.7 of xautolock, particularly when using tvtwm).
The contrib directory may contain various patches that have been
contributed over time. If a patch is in there, I have for some reason
or another decided not to include it in xautolock proper, but still
consider it to be sufficiently usefull to other people in order to
add it to the distribution.
Note that the contents of the contrib directory are *not* part of
xautolock. Each of the contributions lives under its own copyright.
In versions 2.1 and 2.2 of xautolock, the contrib directory is empty,
since due to a lack of time I did not feel like porting the stuff that
used to be in there prior to the 2.x versions. Maybe it'll be back in
2.3 or so.
Copyright 1990, 1992-1999, 2001-2002, 2004, 2007 by Stefan De Troch
and Michel Eyckmans.
Versions 2.0 and above of xautolock are available under version 2 of
the GNU GPL. Earlier versions are available under other conditions.
For more information, see the License file.
Xautolock was conceived, written, and performed by:
Michel Eyckmans (MCE) email@example.com
Stefan De Troch <e-mail private>
Please send queries for help, feature suggestions, bug reports, etc.
to firstname.lastname@example.org only.
Special thanks to:
Kris Croes email@example.com
And the many people who submitted bug reports, patches, suggestions,
No thanks to a certain commercial X server provider who volunteered
to beta test version 1.9 on many, *many* platforms but didn't live
up to it. Also our apologies to the candidate beta testers who were
not retained because of this candidate.