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Is it possible to change the GNOME desktop background during some period of time by just a random phrase from the list on black screen? Will is seriously load the CPU and consume battery life?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can use something like:

ex_bg=$(gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri)
str=$(shuf -n1 list)
convert -background black -fill white -pointsize 72 label:"$str" /tmp/new_bg.jpg
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri "file:///tmp/new_bg.jpg"
sleep 20
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri "$ex_bg"

It converts a random phrase from the file "list" to a jpeg and displays it for 20s, then set the old background.

For gnome 2, you have to use gconftool-2 :

gconftool-2 -s --type string /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename "file"
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You can also put videos and xscreensavers on your background (also in compiz) with xwinwrap

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