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bsod - Man Page

Blue Screen of Death emulator


bsod [--display host:display.screen] [--foreground color] [--background color] [--window] [--root] [--window-id number][--mono] [--install] [--visual visual] [--delay seconds] [--fps]


The bsod program is the finest in personal computer emulation.  

bsod steps through a set of screens, each one a recreation of a different failure mode of an operating system.  Systems depicted include Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, MS-DOS, AmigaDOS 1.3, Linux, SCO UNIX, BSD UNIX, HPUX, Solaris, Tru64, VMS, HVX/GCOS6, IBM OS/390, OS/2, MacOS (MacsBug, Bomb, Sad Mac, and OSX), Atari ST, Apple ][+, VMware and NCD X Terminals.


bsod accepts the following options:


Draw on a newly-created window.  This is the default.


Draw on the root window.

--window-id number

Draw on the specified window.


If on a color display, pretend we're on a monochrome display.


Install a private colormap for the window.

--visual visual

Specify which visual to use.  Legal values are the name of a visual class, or the id number (decimal or hex) of a specific visual.

--delay delay

The duration each crash-mode is displayed before selecting another.

--only which

Tell it to run only one mode, e.g., --only HPUX.


Display the current frame rate and CPU load.



to get the default host and display number.


to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.


The window ID to use with --root.

X Resources

Notable X resources supported include the following, which control which hacks are displayed and which aren't. doWindows, doNT, doWin2K, doWin10, doRansomware, doAmiga, doMac, doMac1, doMacsBug, doMacX, doSCO, doAtari, doBSD, doLinux, doSparcLinux, doHPPALinux, doBlitDamage, doSolaris, doHPUX, doApple2, doOS390, doTru64, doVMS, doMSDOS, doOS2, doHVX, doVMware, and doATM. Each of these is a Boolean resource, they all default to true, except for doAtari, doBSD, doSparcLinux, and doHPPALinux, which are turned off by default, because they're really not all that interesting looking unless you're a fan of those systems.  

There are command-line options for all of these: e.g., --bsd, --no-bsd.  (Also note the --only option.)


Unlike the systems being simulated, bsod does not require a reboot after running.

See Also

X(1), xscreensaver(1)


Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Windows 95, and Microsoft Windows NT are all registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.  Apple Macintosh is a registered trademark of Apple Computer.  Amiga is a registered trademark of Amiga International, Inc.  Solaris is a trademark of Sun Microsystems.  HP-UX is a trademark of HP Hewlett Packard Group LLC.  Nvidia is a tradmark of Nvidia Corporation.  VMS is probably a trademark of Digital Equipment Corporation.  Atari ST is probably a trademark, too, but it's hard to tell who owns it.  SCO is probably still a trademark of somebody these days, I guess. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds, but it isn't his fault. OS/2 is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. VMware is a registered trademark of VMware, Inc.  Android is a trademark of Google LLC. GladOS is a trademark of Aperture Science Incorporated.


Concept cribbed from Stephen Martin <smartin@mks.com>.  This version is by Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>, with contributions from many others.


6.08-2.fc40 (27-Jan-2024) X Version 11 XScreenSaver manual