A Christmas Toy for your Desktop
With the Christmas holiday season coming up, I decided to do a little computer decorating and went looking for the right software. What I found is a program called Xsnow. Xsnow is a simple app that turns your desktop into a snowy landscape with Santa flying across the screen on his sleigh.
Xsnow works with KDE, although I haven't tried GNOME. To get it to work in KDE you need to adjust the Desktop settings. You can do this by opening the KDE Control Center (called System Settings in Kubuntu), click on the Desktop icon, the Behavior section, and then the General tab. Make sure that the box next to "Allow programs in desktop window" is checked. Apply the settings and exit.
Xsnow does not come with a menu entry so it needs to be started through the terminal or the Run dialog. The quickest way is to press ALT+F2, type in xsnow, and click Run.
If you are interested in fiddling further, there are customizations to the default that you can make. I'll mention a few examples, but you should see the man page for details on each of them. One useful feature is specifying a specific display. This could come in handy with a second monitor. Other modifications allow you to change the number of snowflakes, adjust the color of everything, change Santa's size and/or speed, and modify the wind effects.