xstarfish: X wallpaper generator
version 1.0, released 28 August 2000
Please read the COPYING file for information on the distribution terms
for this program and its source code.
Please read the BUGS file for information on problems known to exist with
this and other releases of starfish.
This software comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. Use it at your
OWN RISK. I am NOT responsible for any damage it may cause.
Mars Saxman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
with help from:
Sebastien Loisel's 'zut'
Adrian Bridgett <email@example.com>
Philip Derrin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
current web site is:
latest release lives at:
"Starfish", with capitals, is a wallpaper generator program. "xstarfish"
is the unix port of this program. Neither of these entities has any
connection to "starfish", the xscreensaver hack. I regret the confusion.
Starfish generates colourful, tiled images using random numbers fed through
mathematical functions. It does not use source image files, so it can generate
its images nearly forever without running out of material.
Once it has created an image, Starfish applies it to the root window of
your display as the background pixmap. Since Starfish images are
seamlessly tiled, the pixmap will wrap around forming a "wallpaper" effect
behind your windows. This allows you to customize your desktop, as often
as you wish, with a new look and without much work.
There is no GUI control panel, but Starfish is quite simple to control on a
command line. There are not many options. In fact you can run Starfish without
any command line options at all:
This will generate a 256 pixel by 256 pixel wallpaper pattern. If you don't
like it, simply run Starfish again and it will replace the old pattern.
Perhaps you have an older machine that runs slowly, or you don't like big
bold patterns. You can instruct Starfish to create a smaller-than-normal
xstarfish --size small
Valid sizes are small, medium, large, and full. These sizes are all
relative to the size of your screen, and they are all slightly randomized.
While two "medium" patterns will be roughly similar, they are unlikely to
come out exactly the same. "full" size, however, is always exactly the
same size as your default screen.
If you really don't care how big the patterns are and you just want
xstarfish --size random
While Starfish will happily create a new desktop pattern any time you ask
for one, the ultimate lazy person's solution is to run Starfish in "daemon
mode". In this mode, Starfish will create patterns automatically at a time
interval you determine. Perhaps you want a new pattern every day:
xstarfish --daemon 1 day
Or you are a real graphics junkie and you want Starfish to spit out
patterns more rapidly:
xstarfish --daemon 30 seconds
Recognized time units are days, weeks, seconds, and minutes. When you run
Starfish in daemon mode, it will appear to quit immediately, taking you
back to the command line. This is an illusion; Starfish has merely put
itself in the background and will continue to create new patterns
indefinitely. You can shut it down with the standard "killall" command,
Finally, you can direct Starfish to save its output as a PNG file instead
of applying it to the X root window:
xstarfish --outfile wallpaper.png
These are the basics. For a complete listing of Starfish command line
This will print out a list of Starfish's options and what they do, but
will not create a new pattern.
The MacOS Version:
Starfish was originally written for the MacOS. The Mac source code is not
included in this package, but is available at the Starfish web site on
redplanetsw.com. Mac binaries are also available there.
Copyright (c) 1999,2000 by Mars Saxman.
Copyright (c) 1998 of the bits taken from zut by Sebastien Loisel.
Copyright (c) 2000 (makepng.c) by Philip Derrin.