Things around xscreensaver packaging - a notebook for xscreensaver developers and maintainers

Latest development version

Getting the latest version of the XScreenSaver debian package can be done by cloning from git:// like this:

git clone git:// or git clone


The xscreensaver package has now been split into:

Similarly, the xscreensaver-gl package is split into:

This means that other screensaver infrastructures can depend on xscreensaver-data. They don't need xscreensaver since they have their own backend. The -extra packages are for hacks that we don't see fit included and enabled in a default install, but interested users can install them on their own.

In addition to the hacks, the -data package includes standard .desktop files for each hack. (Same goes for -data-extra, -gl and gl-extra). These are in /usr/share/applications/screensavers.

In the future, we might move hacks beetween -data and -data-extra. Other packages should therefore not depend on individual hacks, but look for all installed .desktop files. (Same goes for -gl vs -gl-extra).

Tip: If you still need to ship a .desktop file for an executable from another package, include the ?TryExec key in the .desktop file.

The hope is that this package split will make it easier for other screensaver infrastructures (kscreensaver, gnome-screensaver, etc) to enjoy the beautiful hacks from xscreensaver, and to avoid any conflicts with the xscreensaver backend. Similarly, we want to please those who prefer xscreensaver to the other backends by shipping a non-crippled xscreensaver backend in its own package.



  1. [done] release 5.04-3 with the split
  2. [done] make gnome-screensaver and kscreensaver-xsavers depend on xscreensaver-data #469204, #469211

  3. [filed] have gnome-screensaver drop popsquares
  4. reenable popsquares in xscreensaver-data
  5. Try to get the .desktop files automatically generated

Screensaver hacks

New hacks

bad guys - should stay in xscreensaver-data-extra