bsetbg - Man Page

utility to manipulate the appearance of the X11 desktop's root window.


bsetbg [options] image


bsetbg is intended to provide a standard method for the Blackbox window manager to alter the background of the root window (although it will work with any other window manager as well). bsetbg acts as a wrapper both to bsetroot and to a flexible variety of third-party applications that it uses when handling images files.


-f,  -full image

image is stretched to fill the entire desktop.

-t,  -tile image

image is tiled on the desktop.

-c,  -center image

image is centered on the desktop.

-e,  -exec program options fallback-arg image

This option tells bsetbg to run a separate command by executing program with  options, where options are arguments to program.

If a fallback-arg is supplied (-full, -tile, or -center as described above), bsetbg will assume that the last argument is a filename. In the case that program exits non-zero or isn't available on the target system, bsetbg  will try to handle the file with the fallback argument.

See the Examples section for more information on -exec.

-p,  -post list

Specifies a list of arguments to pass to the $POST_COMMAND.

-d,  -debug

Debugging mode. bsetbg will print commands without executing them.

-g,  -generate list

Output a list of default configuration values, suitable for redirecting into  ~/.bsetbgrc. Any arguments that are supplied will be considered applications  to search for in the system path, overriding bsetbg's internal defaults.

-app imageApp

Use this flag to specify which image application to use. This application may be one of the pre-defined list or any application capable of displaying an image on the root window. This flag may be used in conjunction with passing application specific  parameters to the application, in which case they should be enclosed in double quotes.

-v,  -version

Output version number.

-h,  -help

Output a brief usage message.

Other Options

bsetbg will also accept all of the arguments for bsetroot. Consult the bsetroot(1) man page for further information.


bsetbg will read its configuration values from the file ~/.bsetbgrc if it exists. Otherwise, it will scan the  system path for a pre-defined list of image applications to use  (currently this list consists of qiv, xli, xv, wmsetbg, Esetroot,  display, and xsetbg). ~/.bsetbgrc should contain the following variables:


Application and arguments to be used to center an image on the root window when the -center argument is specified.


Application and arguments to be used to stretch an image to fill the root window when the -full argument is specified.


Application and arguments to be used to tile an image on the root window when the -tile argument is specified.


Action to take place by default if none of the above have been specified.

The following variables are optional:

If this variable is set, bsetbg will never modify the root window.


This variable specifies a command that bsetbg will run after every successful modification of the root window.


If this variable is set, bsetbg will keep a logfile of the last two successful commands.


This variable can specify the logfile to be used when $LOG_LAST_CMD is defined. The default is ~/.bsetbg_last_cmd .

As mentioned above, bsetbg will function perfectly for the majority of users without having a configuration file. Power users who want more control over bsetbg's behavior should run bsetbg -g and use the output to create a ~/.bsetbgrc which may then be tweaked by hand.


In this example, bsetbg will set the image in centered mode:

   bsetbg -center foo.png

An example of the -exec argument:

   bsetbg -exec xv -root -quit -rmode 5 -rbg rgb:2/2/2 \ -center foo.png

An example in which bsetbg creates a configuration file using xv and qiv:

bsetbg -g xv qiv > ~/.bsetbgrc

An example of the use of the -app argument:

   bsetbg -app qiv "-o rgb:d6/c5/a2 -x" -c foo.png


The author of bsetbg may be reached at

See Also

blackbox(1), bsetroot(1), qiv(1), xli(1), xv(1), display(1),  wmsetbg(1)

Referenced By


February 2002 v2.0