So you want to waste your precious resources by having an animating wallpaper? Great! I’ll share few of my experiences in this field. There are several ways in achieving an animated desktop background.
Yes, this program is usually used as a system monitor, but it does display graphics too and it can be scripted with lua. There’s a limitation introduced by the update interval (1 sec). So You can’t have any greater update speed in you animation and since the update interval is also the step of the animation, the fastest frame count you can have is 1/sec!
It does have some interesting advantages though. As it can access your systems vital stats, you can include these in your animation.
XWinWrap is an program that allows you to play videos or screensavers as a wallpaper. Unfortunately I couldn’t make this work. I did get a video to play, but it was displayed as fullscreen video (Not in the background!). This may be because I was running e17 while trying this.
Here’s an article about running xwinwrap in Ubuntu 10.04.
DreamScenes (KDE 4.9)
It seems that DreamScenes will make an appearance in KDE 4.9. There’s a polish blog about it, but It’s not really a language I can understand.
Enlightenment has native support for animated wallpapers! The easiest way is to get one of more from e17-stuff. Of all the functionality edje is superior. It isn’t just for playing animations, but you can make it interactive (click somewhere and your wallpaper will do something). You can have scaling, transitions (linear, decelerating, sinusoidal, …), transparency. The downside is that edje-themes can be really heavy on your CPU.
Enlightenment does allow to set specific wallpapers to a certain desktop. So you can keep only one desktop animated and the others static. This means that CPU usage is higher only when you have your animated edje as active desktop.
xplanet renders images from the solar system and sets them as wallpapers. If you are into space you’ll want to install xplanetFX. It’s a GUI for xplanet and it makes setting your desired planetary view much easier.