Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist

XScreensaver vs. Fedora Core 16 and Gnome 3

I just started a new job where my desktop system runs Linux. It's been pretty common for me to use a lot of Linux systems in the past--I had windows open to them at Momentum and Teradata, and I had a secondary system under my desk at Qualcomm running it--but this is the first time the monitors on the desk in front of me are directly driven by a Finnish kernel. (At home, I do a lot of work on my home server, but I'm rarely on its console, I'm almost always just ssh'ed in from one of the Macs.) So for the first time, I have to worry about day-to-day desktop configuration. It's a lot better than it used to be, but there's some oddities that took some time to address.

First: The crew maintaining the Gnome window manager are a real arrogant bunch. Through version 2 and hardcore into version 3, they have taken away options from users, deviating from the flexibility that popularized Linux towards forcing a single vision of how to operate on the desktop upon their users. I think they're dicks for this.

One way this manifests is they now no longer ship a real screensaver. gnome-screensaver just presents a blank screen with the time and logged-in user name at the top of each screen. They expect that when you aren't using the system, the display should simply be shut off. Well fuck you guys. Early on, it was kind of a pain to enable XScreensaver, but it's been worked out.

First: There are Fedora RPMs available so yum install xscreensaver xscreensaver-extras

2) Change what Gnome runs at startup: gnome-session-properties
Disable the "Screensaver" entry, and create one called "XScreensaver". The command to use is /usr/bin/xscreensaver -nosplash

3) Open the System Settings panel. In the "Screen" pane, turn off the option to lock the screen. (Gnome won't be doing that itself anymore.)

4) In the "Keyboard" pane, go to Shortcuts, and under System, disable the "Lock Screen" shortcut. (Click whatever key sequence is there, and hit backspace to clear it.) Under Custom, create a new shortcut, call it Lock with XScreensaver/usr/bin/xscreensaver-command -lock. The shortcut I use is Windows-L. (It stores as "Mod4-L") (I got really used to that when I had a Windows desktop.)

You will probably find that hitting Windows-L right now doesn't lock your screen. That's another Gnomism I don't understand offhand, but it's a quick fix. In the Keyboard pane of the System Settings app, look for Typing, then Layout Settings, then Layouts, then Options. Under Alt/Win key behavior, select Hyper mapped to Win-keys
Tags: gnome, jwz, linux, xscreensaver

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