flow - Man Page

strange attractors.

Examples (TL;DR)


flow [-display host:display.screen] [-visual visual] [-window] [-root] [-count number] [-cycles number] [-periodic|-no-periodic] [-search|-no-search] [-rotate|-no-rotate] [-ride|-no-ride] [-box|-no-box] [-dbuf|-no-dbuf] [-ncolors number] [-delay number] [-fps]


Strange attractors formed of flows in a 3D differential equation phase space.  Features the popular attractors described by Lorentz, Roessler, Birkhoff and Duffing, and can discover entirely new attractors by itself.


-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.


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


Draw on the root window.

-count number

Number of particles in the flow.  Default: 3000

-size number

Length of particle trails.  Negative values indicate randomness.  The computational load of a given flow depends on (particle count) * (trail length).  Default: -10

-cycles number

Timeout before changing objects.  0 - 800000.  Default: 10000.


turn on/off periodic attractors.  These are flows in 2 dependent variables, with a periodic dependence on a third independent variable (eg time).  Flow will sometimes choose to start all the particles in the same phase to illustrate the flow's cross-section.  Default: on


turn on/off search for new attractors.  If this is enabled, a fraction of the computing cycles is directed to searching a 60-dimensional parameter space for new strange attractors.  If periodic flows are enabled, these can be searched too.  Watch carefully - you are quite likely to see mathematical objects that have never been seen before, and since the parameters are not recorded, you'll probably never see them again!  Default: on


turn on/off rotating around attractor.  Default: on


turn on/off ride in the flow.  Default: on

If both -rotate and -ride are enabled the viewpoint will occasionally fly between the two views.


turn on/off bounding box.  Default: on


turn on/off double buffering.  If Flow runs slowly in full screen, but fast in a smaller window (eg on old graphics cards with too little memory), try turning this option off.  Default: on

-ncolors number

Number of Colors.  Default: 200.

-delay number

Per-frame delay, in microseconds.  Default: 10000 (0.01 seconds.).


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.

See Also

X(1), xscreensaver(1)


Tim Auckland


6.04-1.fc37.1 (23-Jul-2022) X Version 11 XScreenSaver manual