Adding a Background Image To a Basic Window Manager

by Caitlyn Martin

Running a basic, truly minimal window manager can save significant CPU cycles and memory. This becomes important if you're running old, limited hardware or when designing a desktop environment for an embedded Linux device. Even the oldest, most primitive window managers (think TWM or MWM) can support a pretty desktop background image. The ability is almost as old as X itself.

The tool you need is a very old, very small utility called xli. It's included as part of X.org in many distributions. If your favorite distro doesn't include it the source code can be found here. You can load the image of your choice either from the command line or when your window manager starts. The command you'd use to add a background to an X session that's already running is:
xli -onroot <path-to-image>

3 Comments

francesco
2007-02-26 03:18:16
lol, twm is functionaly but a little ugly... with a background image is much better!
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2008-06-14 18:40:10
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2008-06-15 16:53:26
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