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xsetroot - root window parameter setting utility for X


xsetroot [ -help ] [ -version ] [ -def ] [ -display display ] [ -cursor cursorfile maskfile ] [ -cursor_name cursorfontname ] [ -xcf cursorfile cursorsize ] [ -bitmap filename | -mod x y | -gray | -grey | -solid colour ] [ -bg colour ] [ -fg colour ] [ -rv ] [ -name string ] [ -d display ]


The xsetroot program allows you to tailor the appearance of the background ("root") window on a workstation display running X. Normally, you experiment with xsetroot until you find a personalized look that you like, then put the xsetroot command that produces it into your X startup file. If no options are specified, or if -def is specified, the window is reset to its default state. The -def option can be specified along with other options and only the non-specified characteristics will be reset to the default state.

Only one of the background colour/tiling changing options (-solid, -gray, -grey, -bitmap, and -mod) may be specified at a time.


The various options are as follows:
Print a usage message and exit.
Print a version message and exit.
-def, -default
Reset unspecified attributes to the default values. (Restores the background to the familiar grey mesh and the cursor to the hollow x shape.)
-cursor cursorfile maskfile
This lets you change the pointer cursor to whatever you want when the pointer cursor is outside of any window. Cursor and mask files are bitmaps (little pictures), and can be made with the bitmap program. You probably want the mask file to be all black until you get used to the way masks work.
-cursor_name cursorfontname
This lets you change the pointer cursor to one of the standard cursors from the cursor font. Refer to appendix B of the X protocol for the names (except that the XC_ prefix is elided for this option).
-xcf cursorfile cursorsize
This lets you change the pointer cursor to one loaded from an Xcursor file as defined by libXcursor, at the specified size.
-bitmap filename
Use the bitmap specified in the file to set the window pattern. You can make your own bitmap files (little pictures) using the bitmap program. The entire background will be made up of repeated "tiles" of the bitmap.
-mod x y
This is used if you want a plaid-like grid pattern on your screen. x and y are integers ranging from 1 to 16. Try the different combinations. Zero and negative numbers are taken as 1.
-gray, -grey
Make the entire background grey (Easier on the eyes).
-bg, -background colour
Use colour as the background colour.
-fg, -foreground colour
Use colour as the foreground colour. Foreground and background colours are meaningful only in combination with -cursor, -bitmap, or -mod.
-rv, -reverse
This exchanges the foreground and background colours. Normally the foreground colour is black and the background colour is white.
-solid colour
This sets the background of the root window to the specified colour. This option is only useful on colour servers.
-name string
Set the name of the root window to string. There is no default value. Usually a name is assigned to a window so that the window manager can use a text representation when the window is iconified. This option is unused since you can’t iconify the background.
-d, -display display
Specifies the server to connect to.

See also

xset, xrdb


Mark Lillibridge, MIT Project Athena

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