set wallpapers in CLI with new xfdesktop?

Paul Johnson pauljohn32 at
Tue Oct 15 19:38:24 CEST 2013

I noticed the new xfdesktop 4.11 introduces the ability to put different
wallpapers on different workspaces.  Great, that inability has been the
reason I was running WindowMaker, Enlightenment, or Compiz.

So I built xfdesktop 4.11, leaving in place the other XFCE4.10 packages
from Debian Jessie. It seems to work fine, I can open the xfdesktop gui
configurator and set the background directory and choose one. The setup is
not recursive into the subdirectories, that's not handy.  But, it does work.

I've got too many backgrounds in too many subdirectories for this
pointy-clicky system. I have a Perl program that can randomly choose images
and assign to workspaces.  I've used that in several window managers over
the years.

I don't know how to talk to XFCE from the command line, though. Can you

In compiz, the CLI interface has me build an image array and then tell the
compiz to draw it, I could write out the details if you need to see. In
WindowMaker, it was a little easier, there was a simple shell script with a
syntax like this:

# wmsetbg  -a -u -w 2 image.jpg

where w 2 chooses the workspace. Enlightenment had a script called Esetroot
(which wmsetbg was based on).

I need similar CLI way to tell xfdesktop how to put a particular image on a
particular background.


Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science      Assoc. Director
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504      Center for Research Methods
University of Kansas                 University of Kansas     
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