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#1 2013-06-06 16:46:30

MountainDewManiac
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From: USA police-state welfare-state
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 308

New Screen"Saver" Confusion

There were some new updates in my update manager. I accepted them a couple days ago (EDIT: I think they were from the Xfce 4.10 PPA. Or maybe the 4.12 PPA.). Everything is fine except that I seem to now have...

Before, after a few minutes of inactivity, the computer's screen blanked. This was fine. When viewing a fullscreen video in VLC, the screen did not blank (I'm almost certain) - which was also fine.

Now, instead of my screen simply blanking, it does one of those animated screen-"saver" electricity-waster gizmos. Worse, it even does it while viewing a video in fullscreen.

I wanted to put everything back to the way it was when it worked right. I looked and the only thing I found in the menu that mentioned screen-saver was /Settings/Screensaver. When I click on that, I get a box titled "Screensaver Preferences (XScreenSaver 5.15, 28-Sep-2011)" - in addition to this box, I get another box on top of that one that states "Warning: The GNOME screensaver daemon appears to be running. It must be stopped for XScreenSaver to work properly. Stop the GNOME screen saver daemon now?" and it has two buttons, Cancel and OK(sic).

Not knowing what to do, I click on Cancel and then close the Screensaver Preferences box.

Is there a FAQ or How-to stating the steps people need to take to make all this go away and bring back the simple and functional previous "blank screen when not doing anything, but don't blank it when watching videos (even if the user CBA to wiggle the mouse cursor every few minutes) - and lose the pretty little time-wasters?"

Thanks (much!) in advance,
MDM

Last edited by MountainDewManiac (2013-06-06 16:47:30)

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#2 2013-06-06 18:48:33

Sideburns
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From: Camarillo, CA
Registered: 2011-03-30
Posts: 296
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Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

In my experience, the only way to stop the gnome screensaver from taking over and doing things its way is to uninstall it.  Once that's done, you can run xscreensaver-demo from a terminal and set things up the way you want.  BTW, screensavers don't use any more electricity than leaving the screen alone when you're away and I really doubt that your monitor is using more than a few pennies worth of energy per hour.  Yes, I agree that blanking the screen when you're not going to be using it is just common sense, but having the pretty pictures running costs next to nothing.


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#3 2013-06-07 13:56:01

stqn
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Registered: 2010-10-11
Posts: 168

Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

Of course an animated screen saver uses more electricity than no screen-saver. CPU and GPU usages are not free.

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#4 2013-06-07 20:49:00

Sideburns
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From: Camarillo, CA
Registered: 2011-03-30
Posts: 296
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Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

Yes, of course, but my point is that the difference is minimal.  Please note that I didn't say it doesn't cost anything, but "... having the pretty pictures running costs next to nothing."


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#5 2013-06-07 21:56:02

stqn
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Registered: 2010-10-11
Posts: 168

Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

I suggest you check CPUs and GPUs power consumption in idle and at full power.

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#6 2013-06-07 22:13:10

Sideburns
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From: Camarillo, CA
Registered: 2011-03-30
Posts: 296
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Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

If you really think that a screensaver runs either your CPU or GPU at full power, try running top in a termnal and letting it sit there until the screensaver's been going for a while.  Then, when you come back, take a good look at the load average and see how low it is.


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#7 2013-06-08 01:58:41

MountainDewManiac
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From: USA police-state welfare-state
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 308

Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

First off, thanks to everyone.

Sideburns wrote:

In my experience, the only way to stop the gnome screensaver from taking over and doing things its way is to uninstall it.  Once that's done, you can run xscreensaver-demo from a terminal and set things up the way you want.

Uninstalling gnome screensaver is what I need to do? I mean, it is the new thing that was recently added to our systems via update process? I wish to avoid the possibility of removing the wrong thing.

Sideburns wrote:

BTW, screensavers don't use any more electricity than leaving the screen alone when you're away

Not true.

Sideburns wrote:

and I really doubt that your monitor is using more than a few pennies worth of energy per hour.

Probably not. But it's all relative, isn't it? Aside from the fact that if the couple billion people with computers changed all their screen-"savers" to screen-blankers, the electricity saved would be rather substantial - and the fact that a lot of electricity is still produced by destroying finite resources... A few pennies per hour, for every hour that the computer runs each day, over the course of a month would buy a loaf of bread at least. There have been plenty of times that I couldn't afford a loaf of bread. Now, for example. We can't all be rich - most people in my family would immediately find their eyes glazing over if they heard anyone say anything to the effect that wasting "pennies" was ever a non-issue, lol. All you have to do is add those wasted pennies up, consider the multitude of aches and pains, and think about what percentage of them were created to equal those added-up pennies.

Sideburns wrote:

Yes, I agree that blanking the screen when you're not going to be using it is just common sense, but having the pretty pictures running costs next to nothing.

Assuming that if I'm not going to be using it, I'm not going to be sitting there staring at it, either... There's really no point to it. Maybe if I was Chuck at Computers Я Us and wanted to catch potential customers' eyes and, err, custom with a couple dozen pretty time-wasters, I could see a use. But that isn't the case here.

stqn wrote:

Of course an animated screen saver uses more electricity than no screen-saver. CPU and GPU usages are not free.

I was only thinking of the extra energy involved in lighting up the display vs. a darkened one. But you're correct, there's more waste than that. Along with a small but measurable increase in the amount of waste heat produced. And the one computer (out of three) that I have access to that doesn't overheat constantly is an old laptop that uses the radeon graphics driver, which I gave up on ever finding someone willing to help me configure in the way that I needed so it bogs whenever anything more complicated than just sitting there is required - and it's got a Pentium 4 in it which makes the situation worse... Screen-"saver" kicks on, a few seconds later it sounds like a hair-dryer going maximum output when its three fans kick on and ramp up to full. I guess it's all just a big PitA. Which, you know, with old computers and all, I'm kind of used to such pains. But, usually, the inrease in it is because of some useful feature. Or something that I decided to add, not something that does nothing for me and that came as a result of my NOT deciding to add something. So, yes, that undoubtedly makes what would ordinarily have been me just shaking my head at the waste of however much work it took by the developers to add this utterly worthless crap to our setups... That much more frustrating. I stayed with Xfce because I liked it, but the reason I initially tried it out was because I understood (falsely, perhaps?) it to be "Pointless/useless/worthless crap-free." So, yeah... It's... No, can't use that word. Or that one, either. Hmm, site's auto-censors would probably strike that one. And I'd probably get banned for using that one....

Sorry, venting is said to be healthy. wink

Sideburns wrote:

Yes, of course, but my point is that the difference is minimal.  Please note that I didn't say it doesn't cost anything, but "... having the pretty pictures running costs next to nothing."

Sideburns wrote:

BTW, screensavers don't use any more electricity than leaving the screen alone

I can understand the confusion.

And, again, it's a relative thing. If a monitor in use costs something, a darkened one costs a significant percentage less than that something, and one that isn't in use by the operator per se but is being used by the screen-"saver" costs much closer to something than (a significant percentage less than that something), then it's not "next to nothing." "Next to nothing," in fact, would come much closer to describing the usage of a screen that has been blanked. Which is what I had before, found to be exactly what was called for, and lost.

Yeah, frustrated indeed,
MDM

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#8 2013-06-10 09:04:42

paolo321
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Registered: 2011-06-26
Posts: 121

Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

I've had issues where some screensavers had a really high cpu usage, probably I had some video driver problem or something else.

Anyway, the most important thing is that xfce + xscreensaver are CONFIGURABLE to do what you want, while other systems are locked the way someone else thinks you should use your pc.

For example, I understand that a powered down screen may be way better than a screensaver, specially on a battery-powered device, and I do that on my devices... But when I setup PCs for "casual users", usually I setup a screensaver to make easier to understand if "pc is powered down" or "monitor only is powered down" ...
There are many ways to do something and many different needs, what I like is that I'm able to customize something (even if often I'm fine with the default setting) ...

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#9 2013-06-10 19:10:02

MountainDewManiac
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From: USA police-state welfare-state
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 308

Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

Well... You are correct that a thing which is configurable is better than a thing which is not. Arguably (not really, I suppose, but I was the one who was "arguing," lol) this remains the case even if the thing which is not configurable is set up the way that the user would like and the thing which is configurable needs to be, err, configured in order to reach that state.

Therefore: My apologies to all the users who like this new way better. And, also, my apologies to the developers who most likely spent time and effort to make this change because they felt that it would be appreciated by more users than the number of users who would not appreciate it. I could - and should - have worded my posts in this thread better.

I guess that some of my frustration stems from the usual situation of my Update Manager often not providing changelogs for an update (flip a coin) when I click on the changelog tab. I've long been of the opinion that whoever decides whether or not to add an update at the user-level for our auto-magic update manager apps should be dipped in hot tar and rolled in feathers for putting updates into the channel with no attached changelog. But that is just me and I've never known who to complain to about it. Sometimes - okay, many times, lol - those changelogs that are included are Geek to me, but they often allow me to learn a bit more about the component and the system in general, even if only vaguely. And reading them in the update manager is both easier and more cohesive than noting the names and version numbers (current plus the ones the update app will get) and spending a half-hour (on a good day) searching the WWW for information. But this is not the thread for that...

I was hit with a change and I did not know what to do in order to change back. Or the ramifications of doing so versus not doing so, etc.

Truthfully, the only screen-saver gizmo that I ever thought to be... not "more useful" than a blanked screen, exactly, but "nice," at least, was the "Marine Aquarium Sreensaver" for Microsoft Windows OS. Full 3D aquarium with fish, the occasional starfish climbing the wall of the- I mean your monitor's screen, audio (bubbles), and changing light conditions. I found myself activating it when I needed to relax, lol. If the thing had broken down twice a month and at least half the fish had died every other month, I'd have said that it was completely realistic <GRIN>.

The only thing is, it was more an app for when I was staring at the screen than for when I wasn't; so I'd not call it a screensaver.

An "Xfce Demo" - or "Mint Demo," "Ubuntu Demo," "Mandrake Demo," or what have you - might be nice for new/casual/prospective users, to show them a bit about the system.

An "Information Panel" which displayed the current time/date, weather conditions, perhaps scrolling news, et cetera, might be nice for those who wish such things.

But I wouldn't call any of that "screen-savers." "Idled Display Information Centers," maybe.

Rambling,
MDM

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#10 2013-06-11 07:42:15

paolo321
Member
Registered: 2011-06-26
Posts: 121

Re: New Screen"Saver" Confusion

MountainDewManiac wrote:

An "Xfce Demo" - or "Mint Demo," "Ubuntu Demo," "Mandrake Demo," or what have you - might be nice for new/casual/prospective users, to show them a bit about the system.

An "Information Panel" which displayed the current time/date, weather conditions, perhaps scrolling news, et cetera, might be nice for those who wish such things.

But I wouldn't call any of that "screen-savers." "Idled Display Information Centers," maybe.

You can already do that with xscreensaver :-) ...
Under "advanced" tab you can select which images and texts are used by some screensavers using texts or images...
This way you can create screensaver with content YOU like , eg. system information, your pictures, content from webpages or rss feeds.
Additionally, some screensavers may be customized individually (eg. GLText may display a custom string).

These options were "hidden" from gnome-screensaver, then, IIRC, after that gnome devs said definitely "nobody likes screensavers" or something similar and gnome-screensaver just blanked screen. Not sure about it, but ubuntu had a "modified" version still keeping screensaver.

Just my 2 cents: disable gnome screensaver and use xscreensaver... It's quite "old-style" but works nicely imho.

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