Is xeyes purely for fun? What is the point of having it installed by default in many linux distrubutions (in X)?

  • I use ctrl key to show mouse position when it's hard to see
    – phuclv
    Aug 25, 2016 at 7:41
  • There may be a reason for it, but I agree with the closure reason - we'd have to ask the maintainers of each/the distribution why they included it.
    – Jeff Schaller
    Jul 23, 2017 at 13:35

5 Answers 5


xeyes is not for fun, at least not only. The purpose of this program is to let you follow the mouse pointer which is sometimes hard to see. It is very useful on multi-headed computers, where monitors are separated by some distance, and if someone (say teacher at school) wants to present something on the screen, the others on their monitors can easily follow the mouse with xeyes.

  • 12
    Are you saying there are teachers out there that use Xwindows and Xeyes in their classroom?! Where is this magical school? I need to attend. I've always thought if it wasn't Windows it was mythical fantasy!
    – Sukima
    Dec 21, 2018 at 14:50
  • 2
    @Sukima Well, actually my first experience with xeyes was on university when the lecturer on laboratory class (I studied physics) wanted to show me something and we sat at different computers. It was a little embarrassing for me because he asked me to start xeyes and at first I completely didn't understand what was he talking about.
    – jimmij
    Dec 21, 2018 at 15:42
  • omg... looks like one of those replies from the know-it-all people on Quora. Please no, please!
    – maxadamo
    Aug 2 at 20:21

Currently xeyes is also useful to work out which Linux apps use Wayland or XWayland. Hovering mouse over an XWayland window moves eyes, while native Wayland windows can not communicate with with X11 server.


xeyes is not only fun it is a useful utility if you have a big screen and a small cursor. Second, it is an example program for the x toolkit intrinsics (Xt) library. XEyes implements an Xt Widget (Eyes.c) and has a nice, clean xt initialisation sequence (xeyes.c). It also initialises the "application icon" (XtNiconPixmap) and catches the window quit event from the window manager (WM_DELETE_WINDOW). A very useful example.


xeyes is a good way to verify if you have X11 setup across remote systems. I use it to verify the graphical tunnel is up before launching VisualVM.


For multiple large displays, 2 Xeyes work better: Assuming you have two big moinitors side by side, place them on the top right corner of each monitor. You mouse locates at the intersection of the two sight lines. That's exactly my current use case.

Although, yes, two eyes (one xeyes) creates two sight lines, but the angle is too small for big monitors: the two sight lines look very much like one. Four eyes (two xeyes) work better.

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