Holiday Fireworks


I realized just a few days ago that should do something to celebrate the U.S. Independence day holiday on the 4th of July. And what better way to do that than some on-screen fireworks.

I had figured this out a few years ago — well, perhaps not so few — so I decided to try it again. It’s actually quite easy.

If you have Xscreensaver installed you’re already set to go. If not, install it now. I use Fedora so installed it as the root user with DNF.

# dnf -y install xscreensaver

That installs the Xscreensaver program and a large number of animations. It’s these animations we want. It’s not necessary to start the screensaver to make this work, in fact it’s better that you don’t. But you may want to disable any existing screensavers that are already running.

The animations are located in the /usr/libexec/xscreensaver/ directory so, as a non-root user, make that the PWD. List the contents of that directory so you can see all the fun animations that are available. All of these files are ELF Executable and Linkable Format binaries.

We’re only interested in one animation for now, fireworkx. Launch this as a non-root user using the command below. The –shoot option causes the program to display trails of the shells as they rise from the mortars. The ampersand ( & ) causes the operating system to run the program “in the background” which basically means independently of the shell (the Bash one).

$ ./fireworkx --shoot &

As far as I can tell, there’s no sound to accompany the on-screen display. For readers in the U.S., use this fun program to add a little sparkle to your Independence day. For our other readers, add some fun to your own holidays.

Since we’re already playing around, try some of the other animations. Each animation has a man page with a list of its options. With a decent bit of GPU hardware, it’s possible to have multiple animations running.

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