starfish - Man Page

radially-symmetric throbbing colormap-hacking graphics demo


starfish [-display host:display.screen] [-foreground color] [-background color] [-window] [-root] [-mono] [-install] [-visual visual] [-delay usecs] [-delay2 secs] [-thickness pixels] [-rotation degrees] [-duration seconds] [-colors int] [-blob] [-no-blob] [-fps]


The starfish program draws radially symmetric objects, which expand, contract, rotate, and turn inside out.  It uses these shapes to lay down a field of smooth colors, and then rotates the colormap.


starfish accepts the following options:


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


Draw on the root 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 microseconds

How much of a delay should be introduced between steps of the animation. Default 10000, or about 1/100th second.

-thickness pixels

How wide each color band should be.  Default 0, meaning random (the chosen value will be between 0 and 15.)

-rotation degrees

How quickly the objects should rotate at each step.  Default 0, meaning  random (the chosen value will be between 0 and 12 degrees.)

-colors int

How many colors to use.  Default 200.  The more colors, the smoother the transitions will be, and the nicer the resultant images.

-duration seconds

How long to run before choosing a new shape.  Default 30 seconds.

-delay2 seconds

When duration expires, how long to wait before starting a new run. Default 5 seconds.


If blob option is specified, then the raw shapes will be shown,  instead of a field of colors generated from them.


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)


Jamie Zawinski <>, 14-Jun-97.


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