XSNOW(1) MachTen Programmer’s Manual XSNOW(1)
xsnow - create a snowy and Santa-y desktop
xsnow [-option .,..]
Xsnow lets it snow on your desktop and windows (sic!).
Drop the snowflakes on the given display. Make
sure the display is nearby, so you can hear them
This is the number of snowflakes. Default is 100,
max is 1000.
Use the given string as the color for the flakes
instead of the default "snow".
Use the given string as the color for the back-
ground. Note that the usual default desktop pat-
tern consisting of 50% white 50% black doesn’t
particularly look good with Xsnow.
Use the given string as the color for the trees.
Use the given string as the color for the sleigh.
Note that the default color is black, so not much
of Santa will be seen on a black background.
There are 3 sizes of Santa: 0, 1 and 2. Default is
The speed Santa should not exceed if he doesn’t
want to get fined. The default speed for Santa
size 0 is 1, for Santa 1 it’s 2 and for Big Santa
This is the number of milliseconds delay after
updating everything. Default is 50 milliseconds,
i.e. 20 updates per second max.
If you specify this option the snowflakes will
’whirl’ more dramatically, resulting in a somewhat
-whirl This sets the whirl
factor, i.e. the maximum
adjustment of the horizontal speed. The default
value is 4.
-nowind Default it gets windy
now and then. If you prefer
it quiet specify -nowind.
With -windtimer you can specify how often it gets
windy. It’s sort of a period in seconds, default
value is 30.
These options set the maximum horizontal and ver-
tical speed. The default X maximum speed is 4, the
default maximum Y speed is 8.
This sets the maximum thickness of the snow on top
of windows and at the bottom of the display
respectively. The default snowdepth for windows is
15, at the bottom of the screen the default is 50.
-offset With -offset you can
specify that snow starts
building up a number of pixels lower or higher.
This is handy if you use twm and squeezed window
Do not display the trees.
Do not display Santa Claus running all over the
Do not have snow sticking anywhere.
Do not keep snow on top of the windows.
Do not keep snow at the bottom of the screen.
Xsnow takes care to not let it snow on Pop-up win-
dows, due to their nature. If however, you use an
Xserver that has backing store on for all windows,
then specify this option. Symptom would be that no
snow is kept on any window, but only at the screen
Prints the current Xsnow version and does not
xsnow -bg LightSkyBlue3 -sc snow
Sets the background to a bluish color and lets it
xsnow -ssnowdepth 100
Starts with a thin layer of snow that gradually
builds up at the bottom of the screen.
xsnow -santa 2 -santaspeed 10
Gives you the biggest Santa at a speed that is
xsnow -delay 100 -notrees
For slow systems use longer delay and don’t draw
xsnow -snowflakes 1000 -delay 0
Uses the maximum number of snowflakes and runs as
fast as possible.
See /usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt for the list of colors and their
respective poetic names, like Chartreuse and LightSky-
Rick Jansen (email@example.com)
Copyright 1984, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994 by Rick Jansen
Xsnow is available freely and
you may give it to other
people as is, but I retain all rights. Therefore it does
not classify as ’Public Domain’ software.
Xsnow borrows some code from xroach by J.T. Anderson
Xsnow uses vroot.h for use with
virtual window managers.
vroot.h is copyright 1991 by Andreas Stolcke, copyright
1990 by Solbourne Computer Inc. (stol-
The big Santa with the nice
moving antlers and reins was
made by Holger Veit (Holger.Veit@gmd.de).
The idea and code for wind are
from Eiichi TAZOE
Help for DEC VMS from Martin P.J. Zinser (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SGI Irix 5.x solution by Fjodor
Xsnow itself doen’t use very much CPU time, but it can
load the X server and/or network quite substantially. Use
less snowflakes and a bigger delay in such a case. On a
standalone workstation there usually will not be be any
SGI Irix 5.x
Silicon Graphics and Irix 5.x users may not see any snow
or Santa at all, due to ’desktop’ management. Turn off
desktop management by creating a file named ’nodesktop’ on
your desktop directory:
Where <yourmachinename> is
the hostname of your machine.
You can obtain this name with the command ’hostname’.
To turn off icon placement, add the following line to your
After you made these changes you
should logout and login
again, and then you must be able to start xsnow.
Snow does not stick?
On black-and-white X terminals snow may not stick to win-
dows because backing store is on. Try specifying the
option -nonopopup when starting Xsnow.
Snow hovering above windows?
If you use twm it is possible you see the snow layer hov-
ering a little bit above your windows. In that case set
BorderWidth 0 in your .twmrc file. If you use windows with
’squeezed title bars’ specify an offset to get the snow on
the windows itself.
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