I've been playing around with the dpms/blanking settings on a version of Linux built via yocto.

Something odd I've noticed is that "blank" and "dpms off" both put the monitor to sleep. I had thought blanking would just, well, blank the screen, and not actually power off the monitor. Am I mistaken?

Blanking test:

$ xset s blank
$ xset s activate

DPMS test

$ xset dpms force off

What I'd like is to just blank the screen on a short interval and then actually power off the monitor after a longer interval. Perhaps I should look at a minimal black screensaver instead of using the built in blank.

2 Answers 2


Not an answer, but too long for a comment:

If you're looking for a minimalistic screen locker & saver (I think locking is more important than saving), be sure to look into


To my knowledge it doesn't know about a grace period before locking, but perhaps you can wrap slock into a shell script to do that.

  • I don't really need locking, but that's a great reference. Thanks.
    – Eddie
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 15:43

After experimenting further, it looks like:

$ xset s noblank
$ xset s 600 600

Will do what I want. This seems to set the X screensaver to the internal one, which creates a black window, instead of blanking the screen, and timeout after ten minutes.

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