Setting Backgrounds

IRIX supports out of the box on both 6.5 and pre-6.5 versions customized backgrounds. The procedure varies from version to version, however, as 6.5.22+ supports modern image formats, while versions prior do not.

Preliminary Steps

Enabling 24-bit X is a major requirement. IRIX Setup 101 has a section on this. Next, copy the backgrounds configuration file.

% cp /usr/lib/X11/system.backgrounds ~/.backgrounds

Using XPM files (Most versions of IRIX prior to 6.5.22)

IRIX supported 8-bit XPM files relatively early in development. Create a directory to hold backgrounds:

% mkdir ~/backgrounds
Once the images are added, then create an entry in the .backgrounds file:

background "Anime"
command "-xpm /usr/people/neko/backgrounds/anime.xpm"
default "-xpm /usr/people/neko/backgrounds/anime.xpm"
readok "/usr/people/neko/backgrounds/anime.xpm"

This is an example created originally by Nekonoko.

The entry will be in Desktop -> Customize -> Background labeled "Anime"

Using IRIX's Native PNG/BMP/JPEG handler (6.5.22+)

IRIX 6.5.22+ simplified this process greatly. The same entry would be:

background "Anime"
default "-image /usr/people/neko/backgrounds/anime.jpg"

Under 6.5.22.

A Nekochan.net user created this script to automate entry of backgrounds:

cp /usr/lib/X11/system.backgrounds $HOME/.backgrounds
chmod 644 .backgrounds
cd ${BGDIR}
for x in *.jpg *.xpm *.png *.bmp; do
case ${x} in
'*.jpg'|'*.xpm'|'*.png'|'*.bmp') ;;
NAME=`echo ${x} | tr '.' ' ' | awk '{print $1}' | tr '_' ' '`
echo "" >> $HOME/.backgrounds
echo "background \""${NAME}"\"" >> $HOME/.backgrounds
echo "default \""-image ${BGDIR}/${x}"\"" >> $HOME/.backgrounds

Update the BGDIR variable to change the directory.

Using xli

In Nekoware, and several other distributions, xli is available and can add the above functionality to older machines. Configure an entry this way:

background "Anime2"
command "-execute /usr/freeware/bin/xli -onroot -fork /usr/people/neko/backgrounds/anime2.jpg"
default "-execute /usr/freeware/bin/xli -onroot -fork /usr/people/neko/backgrounds/anime2.jpg"
exeok "/usr/freeware/bin/xli"
readok "/usr/people/neko/backgrounds/anime2.jpg

xli is the easiest of the two to install as it has no additional dependencies. It's rather dated in that it does not support progressive JPEG or PNG so some backgrounds will need to be converted to standard JFIF or JPEG before xli can deal with them. xli also does not support pseudo transparency effects with some applications, a good example being X-Chat.

There are a couple of caveats to note when using 24-bit images. Desks Overview will not display background previews in the desk panes and desktop switching slows down dramatically, though that's less of an issue on newer hardware.

xli can also add a background to the login screen by editing /usr/lib/X11/xdm/Xsetup at the top of the file. Add the following:

/usr/nekoware/bin/xli -onroot /path/to/wallpaper/login_pix.jpg
Note that xli may have a different path installed.