Let it snow, let it snow, let it xsnow.
Oh the weather outside is freezing, but the warmth from your monitor is making it feel like you are in the tropics. Christmas is coming up fast and this blaze of heat is making it difficult for you to get into the spirit of uncontrollable shopping madness. The clock is ticking and you're still at the keyboard looking for inspiration. Well, everyone, I've got just what you need.
Head over to Rick Jansen's Web site at http://www.euronet.nl/~rja/Xsnow/ and pick up a copy of xsnow. This is a great little program that draws trees on your monitor's background, starts a gentle snowfall (with occasional flurries), and reminds you of the true meaning of the season by having Santa and his sleigh pulled by reindeer fly across your screen. As the snow falls, it accumulates on your taskbar and any program windows you might have running. Your icons tend to get washed away by the snow as well but have no fear. A brush with your mouse cursor will bring them right back. To get the feeling, click on the image below and you'll be transported to a full size version.
Installing xsnow shouldn't be a big deal. Source code for xsnow is available from the xsnow website but pre-compiled binaries exist for a number of systems. Start by checking your distribution CDs before you go looking. If you don't find it and you are running RPM based systems like Mandrake, SUSE, or Fedora, check out http://rpm.pbone.net/ and put xsnow in the search field. You'll find what you need.
Running xsnow on most systems is as simple as just typing the program name. You can also click your program launcher, select Run and type "xsnow" to get start the snow falling. Whether you see something right away depends somewhat on the desktop environment you are running. Most, GNOME included, don't require any additional steps but KDE does have check with you before allowing programs to run on the desktop background.
Here's what you do to get xsnow snowing on your KDE desktop.
Right-click on your desktop and select Configure Desktop from the popup menu. When the dialog box appears, click on the Behavior icon in the left hand side bar. A three tabbed window will appear on the right hand side. Look near the top on the General tab and you'll see check box with the words "Allow programs in desktop window" (see the image below). Click that check box, then click the OK button.
That's all there is to it. Now you can run xsnow and get all those holiday feelings flowing. Ah, you can almost hear the sleigh bells, can't you? Along with everyone here at TUX, I wish you all the best the season has to offer.