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       xscreensaver-command - control a running xscreensaver process


       xscreensaver-command  [-display  host:display.screen]  [-help | -demo |
       -prefs | -activate | -deactivate | -cycle | -next | -prev | -select n |
       -exit | -restart | -lock | -version | -time | -watch]


       The   xscreensaver-command  program  controls  a  running  xscreensaver
       process by sending it client-messages.

       xscreensaver(1) has a client-server model: the xscreensaver process  is
       a  daemon  that  runs  in  the  background;  it  is controlled by other
       foreground    programs     such     as     xscreensaver-command     and

       This  program,  xscreensaver-command,  is a command-line-oriented tool;
       the xscreensaver-demo(1).  program is a graphical tool.


       xscreensaver-command accepts the following command-line options:

       -help   Prints a brief summary of command-line options.

       -demo   This just launches the xscreensaver-demo(1) program,  in  which
               one  can  experiment with the various graphics hacks available,
               and edit parameters.

       -demo number
               When the -demo option is followed by an integer,  it  instructs
               the xscreensaver daemon to run that hack, and wait for the user
               to click the mouse before deactivating (i.e., mouse motion does
               not    deactivate.)    This   is   the   mechanism   by   which
               xscreensaver-demo(1)  communicates  with  the   xscreensaver(1)
               daemon.  (The first hack in the list is numbered 1, not 0.)

       -prefs  Like  the  no-argument  form  of  -demo,  but  brings  up  that
               program's Preferences panel by default.

               Tell xscreensaver to turn on immediately (that  is,  blank  the
               screen,  as  if  the  user had been idle for long enough.)  The
               screensaver will deactivate  as  soon  as  there  is  any  user
               activity, as usual.

               It is useful to run this from a menu; you may wish to run it as
               sleep 5 ; xscreensaver-command -activate
               to  be  sure that you have time to take your hand off the mouse
               before the screensaver comes on.  (Because if  you  jiggle  the
               mouse, xscreensaver will notice, and deactivate.)

               This  tells  xscreensaver  to  pretend that there has just been
               user activity.  This means that if the  screensaver  is  active
               (the  screen  is  blanked),  then  this  command will cause the
               screen to un-blank as if  there  had  been  keyboard  or  mouse
               activity.   If  the  screen is locked, then the password dialog
               will pop up first, as usual.  If the  screen  is  not  blanked,
               then  this  simulated user activity will re-start the countdown
               (so, issuing the -deactivate command periodically is one way to
               prevent the screen from blanking.)

       -cycle  If the screensaver is active (the screen is blanked), then stop
               the current graphics demo and run a new one (chosen randomly.)

       -next   This is like either -activate or -cycle, depending on which  is
               more  appropriate,  except  that the graphics hack that will be
               run is the next one in the list, instead of  a  randomly-chosen
               one.  In other words, repeatedly executing -next will cause the
               xscreensaver process to invoke each graphics demo sequentially.
               (Though  using  the  -demo  option is probably an easier way to
               accomplish that.)

       -prev   This is like -next, but cycles in the other direction.

       -select number
               Like -activate, but runs the Nth element in the list of  hacks.
               By knowing what is in the programs list, and in what order, you
               can use this to activate  the  screensaver  with  a  particular
               graphics  demo.   (The first element in the list is numbered 1,
               not 0.)

       -exit   Causes the xscreensaver process to exit gracefully.  This  does
               nothing if the display is currently locked.

               Warning:   never  use  kill  -9  with  xscreensaver  while  the
               screensaver is active.  If you are using a virtual root  window
               manager,  that  can  leave things in an inconsistent state, and
               you may need to restart  your  window  manager  to  repair  the

       -lock   Tells  the  running  xscreensaver  process  to  lock the screen
               immediately.  This is like -activate,  but  forces  locking  as
               well,  even  if  locking  is  not the default (that is, even if
               xscreensaver's  lock  resource  is  false,  and  even  if   the
               lockTimeout resource is non-zero.)

               Note  that locking doesn't work unless the xscreensaver process
               is running as you.  See xscreensaver(1) for details.

               Prints the version of xscreensaver that is currently running on
               the  display: that is, the actual version number of the running
               xscreensaver background process, rather than the version number
               of   xscreensaver-command.   (To  see  the  version  number  of
               xscreensaver-command itself, use the -help option.)

       -time   Prints the time at which  the  screensaver  last  activated  or
               deactivated  (roughly,  how long the user has been idle or non-
               idle: but not quite, since it only tells you  when  the  screen
               became blanked or un-blanked.)

               Causes  the  screensaver  process to exit and then restart with
               the same command line arguments as last  time.   You  shouldn't
               really  need  to  do  this, since xscreensaver notices when the
               .xscreensaver file has changed and re-reads it as needed.

       -watch  Prints a line each time the screensaver changes state: when the
               screen  blanks,  locks,  unblanks,  or when the running hack is
               changed.  This option never returns; it is intended for use  by
               shell  scripts  that  want  to react to the screensaver in some
               way.  An example of its output would be:
               BLANK Fri Nov  5 01:57:22 1999
               RUN 34
               RUN 79
               RUN 16
               LOCK Fri Nov  5 01:57:22 1999
               RUN 76
               RUN 12
               UNBLANK Fri Nov  5 02:05:59 1999
               The above  shows  the  screensaver  activating,  running  three
               different hacks, then locking (perhaps because the lock-timeout
               went off) then unblanking (because the user became active,  and
               typed  the correct password.)  The hack numbers are their index
               in the `programs' list (starting with 1,  not  0,  as  for  the
               -select command.)

               For  example, suppose you want to run a program that turns down
               the volume on your machine when the screen blanks, and turns it
               back  up  when  the  screen  un-blanks.   You  could do that by
               running a Perl program like the following  in  the  background.
               The  following  program tracks the output of the -watch command
               and reacts accordingly:

               my $blanked = 0;
               open (IN, "xscreensaver-command -watch |");
               while (<IN>) {
                   if (m/^(BLANK|LOCK)/) {
                       if (!$blanked) {
                           system "sound-off";
                           $blanked = 1;
                   } elsif (m/^UNBLANK/) {
                       system "sound-on";
                       $blanked = 0;
               Note that LOCK might come either with or  without  a  preceding
               BLANK  (depending  on whether the lock-timeout is non-zero), so
               the above program keeps track of both of them.


       If xscreensaver is running, but you want  it  to  stop  running  screen
       hacks (e.g., if you are logged in remotely, and you want the console to
       remain locked but just be black, with no  graphics  processes  running)
       you  can  accomplish that by simply powering down the monitor remotely.
       In a minute or so, xscreensaver will notice that the  monitor  is  off,
       and will stop running screen hacks.  You can power off the monitor like
       xset dpms force off
       See the xset(1) manual for more info.

       You can also use xscreensaver-demo(1) to make the  monitor  power  down
       after a few hours, meaning that xscreensaver will run graphics until it
       has been idle for the length of time you specified; and after that, the
       monitor will power off, and screen hacks will stop being run.


       If an error occurs while communicating with the xscreensaver daemon, or
       if the daemon reports an error, a diagnostic message will be printed to
       stderr,  and  xscreensaver-command will exit with a non-zero value.  If
       the command is accepted, an indication  of  this  will  be  printed  to
       stdout, and the exit value will be zero.


       DISPLAY to get the host and display number of the screen whose saver is
               to be manipulated.

       PATH    to find the executable to restart (for the  -restart  command).
               Note  that this variable is consulted in the environment of the
               xscreensaver process, not the xscreensaver-command process.


       The latest version of xscreensaver(1) and related tools can  always  be
       found at


       X(1), xscreensaver(1), xscreensaver-demo(1), xset(1)


       Copyright  ©  1992-2013  by  Jamie  Zawinski.  Permission to use, copy,
       modify, distribute, and sell this software and  its  documentation  for
       any  purpose  is  hereby  granted  without fee, provided that the above
       copyright notice appear in all copies  and  that  both  that  copyright
       notice  and  this permission notice appear in supporting documentation.
       No representations are made about the suitability of this software  for
       any  purpose.   It  is  provided  "as  is"  without  express or implied


       Jamie Zawinski <>, 13-aug-1992.

       Please let me know if you find any bugs or make any improvements.

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