packages icon

 XSNOW(1)                       X Version 11                        XSNOW(1)
                                  Release 4

      xsnow - create a snowy and Santa-y desktop

      xsnow [-option .,..]

      Xsnow lets it snow on your desktop and windows (sic!).

      -display display_name
              Drop the snowflakes on the given display. Make sure the
              display is nearby, so you can hear them enjoy...

      -snowflakes num_snowflakes
              This is the number of snowflakes. Default is 100, max is 1000.

      -sc snowflake_color
              Use the given string as the color for the flakes instead of
              the default "snow".

      -bg background_color
              Use the given string as the color for the background. Note
              that the usual default desktop pattern consisting of 50% white
              50% black doesn't particularly look good with Xsnow.

              When using solid colored backgrounds specifying this option
              may greatly improve performance.

      -tc tree_color
              Use the given string as the color for the trees.

      -slc sleigh_color
              Use the given string as the color for the sleigh. Note that
              the default color is black, so not much of Santa will be seen
              on a black background.

      -santa santa_size
              There are 3 sizes of Santa: 0, 1 and 2. Default is 1.

      -santaspeed santa_speed
              The speed Santa should not exceed if he doesn't want to get
              fined. The default speed for Santa size 0 is 1, for Santa 1
              it's 2 and for Big Santa it's 4.

      -delay delay
              This is the number of milliseconds delay after updating
              everything.  Default is 50 milliseconds, i.e. 20 updates per
              second max.

                                    - 1 -          Formatted:  June 30, 2022

 XSNOW(1)                       X Version 11                        XSNOW(1)
                                  Release 4

              If you specify this option the snowflakes will 'whirl' more
              dramatically, resulting in a somewhat jerkier movement.

      -whirl  This sets the whirl factor, i.e. the maximum adjustment of the
              horizontal speed. The default value is 4.

      -nowind Default it gets windy now and then. If you prefer it quiet
              specify -nowind.

      -windtimer period
              With -windtimer you can specify how often it gets windy. It's
              sort of a period in seconds, default value is 30.

      -xspeed -yspeed
              These options set the maximum horizontal and vertical speed.
              The default X maximum speed is 4, the default maximum Y speed
              is 8.

      -wsnowdepth -ssnowdepth
              This sets the maximum thickness of the snow on top of windows
              and at the bottom of the display respectively. The default
              snowdepth for windows is 15, at the bottom of the screen the
              default is 50.

      -offset With -offset you can specify that snow starts building up a
              number of pixels lower or higher. This is handy if you use twm
              and squeezed window titles.

              Do not display the trees.

              Do not display Santa Claus running all over the screen.

              No Rudolf.

              Do not have snow sticking anywhere.

              Do not keep snow on top of the windows.

              Do not keep snow at the bottom of the screen.

              Xsnow takes care to not let it snow on Pop-up windows, due to
              their nature. If however, you use an Xserver that has backing
              store on for all windows, then specify this option. Symptom

                                    - 2 -          Formatted:  June 30, 2022

 XSNOW(1)                       X Version 11                        XSNOW(1)
                                  Release 4

              would be that no snow is kept on any window, but only at the
              screen bottom.

              Prints the current Xsnow version and does not start Xsnow.

      xsnow -bg SkyBlue3 -sc snow
              Sets the background to a bluish color and lets it snow white.

      xsnow -ssnowdepth 100
              Starts with a thin layer of snow that gradually builds up at
              the bottom of the screen.

      xsnow -santa 2 -santaspeed 10
              Gives you the biggest Santa at a speed that is hardly legal.

      xsnow -delay 100 -notrees
              For slow systems use longer delay and don't draw the trees.

      xsnow -snowflakes 1000 -delay 0
              Uses the maximum number of snowflakes and runs as fast as

      xsnow -bg SkyBlue3 -solidbg
              Sets the background to a bluish color and specify -solidbg for
              increased performance.

      See /usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt for the list of colors and their respective
      poetic names, like Chartreuse and SkyBlue3.

      See xroach(1)

      Rick Jansen (

      Copyright 1984, 1988, 1990, 1993-1995 by Rick Jansen (

      Xsnow is available freely and you may give it to other people as is,
      but I retain all rights. Therefore it does not classify as 'Public
      Domain' software.

      Xsnow borrows some code from xroach by J.T. Anderson (

      Xsnow uses vroot.h for use with virtual window managers. vroot.h is
      copyright 1991 by Andreas Stolcke, copyright 1990 by Solbourne
      Computer Inc. (stolcke@ICSI.Berkeley.EDU)

                                    - 3 -          Formatted:  June 30, 2022

 XSNOW(1)                       X Version 11                        XSNOW(1)
                                  Release 4

      The big Santa with the nice moving antlers and reins was made by
      Holger Veit (

      The idea and code for wind are from Eiichi TAZOE

      System load
      Xsnow itself doen't use very much CPU time, but it can load the X
      server and/or network quite substantially. Use less snowflakes and a
      bigger delay in such a case. On a standalone workstation there usually
      will not be be any problem. Another improvement can be to specify a
      solid background color with -bg and the option -solidbg. This may
      greatly improve performance!

      SGI Irix 5.x
      Silicon Graphics and Irix 5.x users may not see any snow or Santa at
      all, as long the desktop icons are visible. To circumvent this problem
      issue this command:

        /usr/lib/desktop/telldesktop quit

      The icons will disappear and xsnow will work perfectly. To restart the
      desktop just start /usr/lib/desktop/startdesktop or select Desktop-
      >Home Directory from the toolchest.

      It's even possible to have both - desktop icons and xsnow (and even
      multiple desks). You need to modify the window manager's resource file
      4DWm, the file ~/.desktop-`hostname`/4DWm. Example:

      *Global.backgroundDescription:   -execute /etc/killall -TERM xsnow ;
      *Desk 1.backgroundDescription:   -execute /etc/killall -TERM xsnow ;
      *Desk 2.backgroundDescription:   -execute /etc/killall -TERM xsnow ;

      Restart the he toolchest and Xsnow should appear. What this does is
      stop the currently running Xsnow and start a new one when you switch
      to another desktop.

      HP and hp-ux
      HP also uses a Workspace Manager which may interfere with Xsnow.  If
      Xsnow does not appear: In the "Style Manager", choose "Backdrop" and
      select "NoBackdrop".  You should now be able to run Xsnow.

      Snow does not stick?
      On black-and-white X terminals snow may not stick to windows because
      backing store is on. Try specifying the option -nonopopup when
      starting Xsnow.

                                    - 4 -          Formatted:  June 30, 2022

 XSNOW(1)                       X Version 11                        XSNOW(1)
                                  Release 4

      Snow hovering above windows?
      If you use twm it is possible you see the snow layer hovering a little
      bit above your windows. In that case set BorderWidth 0 in your .twmrc
      file. If you use windows with 'squeezed title bars' specify a -offset
      to get the snow on the windows itself.

      snowplough(1), your_travel_agent(1)

                                    - 5 -          Formatted:  June 30, 2022