TermSaver: Text Based Screensaver for the Command-line (Ubuntu Linux)

“TermSaver” is a pretty cool screensaver that you can launch from the command-line interface (Terminal) in GNU/Linux. It’s not supposed replace other screensavers that come with your desktop (Gnome, KDE, Unity etc). And it also might not be able to carryout the actual purpose of a screesaver since it lacks a lot of pixel movements (screen animations), which otherwise helps to prevent “screen burns” on display devices.

But, if the command-line is your primary interface or, if you’re a desktop user who usually uses the Terminal emulator and looking for a screensaver that’s quite fun to use, then you might wanna try “TermSaver”.

Few main features …

*. It has few built in screensavers that can be enabled or disabled using the below arguments (commands) when launching the application.

But as mentioned above, these are very simple screensavers (text based) and there aren’t any graphics (except for few ASCII art related ones, as shown in the below screenshot).


1.” clock”: If you use this argument when launching it, then it’ll display a simple clock (using ASCII-art) on your Terminal window (date included).

2. “quotes4all”: If you use this option, then it’ll automatically fetch famous quotes (online) and display them on your screen.

3. “asciiartfarts”: This will display funny quotes and ASCII images (personal favorite ;-)).

4. “randtext”: This will display random text and you can also enter a word of your own as well.

5. “dot”: With this option, you’ll see dots flying over your Terminal window.

6. “rfc”: Fetches the “RFC” content in text format and displays them on your screen (it’s like the computer is writing a book all by itself :D).

7. “urlfetcher”: You can use this option to make “TermSaver” read any given website. But it won’t show you them in the text format and only reads in pure HTML, meaning that you won’t see the posts and their content like you see them in your web browser and will also output “weird” programing codes too.

8. “rssfeed”: This is pretty cool though. Unlike with the above option, as long as you know the “feed” address of a web site, you can let “TermSaver” to fetch data and display it on your pretty little Terminal window!. So you’d be able to see the latest updates from web sites just as with a feed reader (only in text format).

That’s it.

Remember, this is a new project and there are no pre-built packages right now (there’s an empty PPA though). However, the installation is pretty simple and even if you’re a newbie, you should be able to install it within few seconds :).

For that, please follow below procedure.

1. First go to this “TermSaver’s” home page and get the compressed package.

2. Now double-click on the downloaded file and extract the content to your “Home” folder.

3. Then open your Terminal and enter the below command to go into the extracted folder within the Terminal.

cd termsaver-0.1

Depending on your downloaded file’s version, you’ll have to replace the name “termsaver-0.1”.

4. Then to install it, enter the below command.

sudo python setup.py install

That’s it!.

Now whenever you want to launch it, use its main command with one of the above mentioned “sub-commands”.

Few examples …

For instance, let’s say that I wanted “TermSaver” to display the funny ASCII-art with quotes, then I’ll use the below command.

termsaver asciiartfarts

If you want the pretty clock (as shown below), then use the below command.

termsaver clock


For the funny quotes, use the below one.

termsaver quotes4all

For displaying the “RSS feeds”, use “TermSaver” in the below format (replace “feed-address” with your actual address).

termsaver rssfeed -u feed-address

If you use one of those desktop based Terminal emulators and want to use it in full-screen, then simply press the “F11” key on your keyboard (pressing it again will exit the full-screen mode).

To know more, please refer to its manual by using the below command.

man termsaver

Update: As you can see from the below comment from the developer (“Bruno”), each individual feature has its own simple “help” section. For instance, if you wanted to know how to use “rssfeed” feature, then you can read its sub help file using the below command.

termsaver rssfeed -h

It also has another “programmers oriented” feature that lets you display random codes (chosen from a file that you’ve given) on the screen too. To know how to use that, please use the below command (which again, should reveal is help page).

termsaver programmer -h

That’s all I have to say about that! ;-). Enjoy!.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

2 thoughts on “TermSaver: Text Based Screensaver for the Command-line (Ubuntu Linux)”

  1. Good point on the merit of the screensaver's purpose… I wasn't totally sure about this, so I found in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screensaver
    that the idea is basically to be able to change the color of CTRs (which even for moving texts, it could serve its purpose), and that this need is nowadays obsolete, from improvements on such monitors and with the introduction of the LCD… It was nice to read all about it though!

    Great article by the way! Only one note I would add (most seemed to have missed it) is that each screen has its own independent help page. For instance:

    $ termsaver randtxt –help

    You will see that you can choose your own word (or phrase) to display, as well as control the speed.

    I would also write about the "programmer" screen, which is why I created this project in first place (lol).

    Thanks for sharing this! Nice job!


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