How To Activate Screen Saver In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Ubuntu 11.10 does not ship with a default screen saver and even Gnome 3 displays a mere black screen when your system is idle. This is why the only way one can acquire a proper screen saver in Ubuntu 11.10, is to install a third-party application.

XScreenSaver is one such application, which can be used to obtain a range of attractive screensavers for Ubuntu 11.10. For those of you who may be unfamiliar to XScreensaver, it is the standard screen saver collection for many Linux distributions and is also available for UNIX and Mac OS X. In the absence of a screen saver set in Oneriric, XScreenSaver seems to be a perfect match for the Gnome 3 and Unity desktop. In this post, I will walk you through the process of installing and enabling screen savers in Oneiric with the help of XScreensaver.

In the first step, remove the default Gnome (blank screen) screensaver by using this Terminal command.

sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver

After that, install XScreenSaver and some extras, with this command.

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra

Once installed, launch XScreenSaver to perform configurations (from Display Modes tab). XScreenSaver provides dozens of screensavers, along with the option to select a desired screensaver mode for viewing a random, on screen or a blank screen saver.

After selecting a  screen saver from the list, you can set a time frame for enabling the screensaver. The selected screen saver can also be previewed to see how the selected screensaver may appear on your screen.


For managing more advanced settings, head over to the Advanced tab. This tab provides four sections, namely Image Manipulation, Display Power Management, Text Manipulation and Fading and Colormaps. The Image Manipulation section provides the option to grab desktop images, video frames or to choose random images (as screen saver). You can set power management related option from Display Power Management section, including setting the standby and screen saver disabling time. Likewise, you can configure text and animation settings from the Text Manipulation and Fading and Color Maps sections.


For adjusting more appearance configurations, go to Settings (from Display Mode tab). From here, you can adjust the frame rate by moving the slider, enable wire frame and view the frame rate.


To remove XScreenSaver anytime and to bring back the blank screen saver, use the following commands.

sudo apt-get remove xscreensaver xscreensaver -gl-extra xscreensaver -data –extra

sudo rm /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command

sudo apt-get install gnome-screensaver

You can find out more about XScreenSaver, as well as download source and binary packages from the link given below.

Download XScreenSaver