Linux / UNIX Desktop Fun: Let it Snow On Your Desktop

by on December 20, 2011 · 6 comments· LAST UPDATED December 20, 2011

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Feeling lonely this holiday season? Try Xsnow. This little app will let it snow on the Unix / Linux desktop. Santa and his reindeer will complete your festive season feeling with moving snowflakes on your desktop, with Santa Claus running all over the screen.

I first installed this 13 or 14 years ago. It was was originally created for Macintosh systems in 1984. You can install it as follows:

Install xsnow

Debian / Ubuntu / Mint users type the following command:
$ sudo apt-get install xsnow
Freebsd users type the following command to install the same:
# cd /usr/ports/x11/xsnow/
# make install clean

OR, try to add the package:
# pkg_add -r xsnow

A Note About Other Distros

  1. Fedora / RHEL / CentOS Linux desktop users may find the package using rpmfusion repo.
  2. Gentoo user try Gentoo portage i.e. emerge -p xsnow
  3. OpenSuse Linux user try Yast and search for xsnow.

How Do I Use xsnow?

Open a command-line terminal (select Applications > Accessories > Terminal), and then type the following to starts xsnow:
$ xsnow
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Snow for your Linux and Unix desktop systems

Fig.01: Snow for your Linux and Unix desktop systems


You can set the background to a blue color and lets it snow white, type:
$ xsnow -bg blue -sc snow
To set the maximum number of snowflakes and runs as fast as possible, type:
$ xsnow -snowflakes 10000 -delay 0
Do not display the trees and Santa Claus running all over the screen, enter:
$ xsnow -notrees -nosanta
For more information about xsnow and other options, please see the manual page by typing man xsnow from the command line:
$ man xsnow

Recommended readings:

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This entry is 3 of 5 in the Linux / Unix Desktop Fun series. Keep reading the rest of the series:
  1. Terminal ASCII Aquarium
  2. Steam Locomotive
  3. Let it Snow On Your Desktop
  4. Summon Swarms Of Penguins To Waddle About The Desktop
  5. Text Mode Box and Comment Drawing

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LeftMeAlone December 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Debian squeeze 64 bit user download xsnow manually as it will not install on the 64- bit system using the apt-get and friends. So get the 32-bit version and install it:

wget http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/non-free/x/xsnow/xsnow_1.42-8_i386.deb
dpkg -i --force-architecture xsnow_1.42-8_i386.deb
2 Pothi Kalimuthu December 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Good to see something colorful on my desktop. Works great on my CrunchBang Linux box.

3 Synical December 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm

OpenIndiana users: package can be installed with “pkgutil” from OpenCSW:

pkgadd -d http://get.opencsw.org/now

/opt/csw/bin/pkgutil -i xsnow (or add /opt/csw/bin to ~/.profile)

Recommended: xsnow -bg SkyBlue3

Happy Holidays Solaris nerds! :D

4 Bruce December 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm

doesn’t seem to work on enlightenment. :(

5 om thakur January 2, 2012 at 7:20 am

its good

6 EPUB April 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Wow, it looks beautiful. Already Installed it on my Ubuntu box. Pretty simple

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