Phosphor

I have been using xscreensaver for the past few months now. The main reason for using it was the phosphor function. Phosphor is one of the screensaver options that can be used to draw text on the screen using a pixelated font and phosphor green color that is reminiscent of an old tty. It is also a fully functional vt100 emulator.Ā  You could point to any file that needs to be read, to draw when the screensaver is active. It could be either source code, or something else.

Here are a few screenshots illustrating how it works. Notice the fade out, fade in effect. I have pointed to a C program in this example. When the screensaver is active, the entire program code will be drawn on the screen continuously, until you move your mouse or use any key. It’s no big deal I know, but it is certainly cool to see scrolling phosphor green text! But to be honest, I caught a nasty bug in my program looking at the scrolling text once. šŸ˜› So it does have some use. Anyway, lets get to the shots.

1. Main xscreensaver interface: Choose only one screensaver option from the drop down menu. Then, choose phosphor as the screensaver. You can see the screensaver in action on the preview screen. I believe the fade effect is also obvious.

Xscreensaver Interface - Phosphor+Preview

2. Advanced Window: Click on the Advanced tab and you will be presented with various options. Since we are interested in text, lets just focus on the text manipulation quadrant.I want one text file to be read, hence, I use the Text file option here. If you want an entire directory with a host of programs to be read, choose the Program option and you could use the cat command to point to the directory you are interested. Anyway the following screenshot should give you an idea.

Advanced Options - Text File Choice

3. Settings Option: Now that we have chosen the file to be read, lets go back to the main window and click on Settings button. First, we will be presented with the standard Phosphor options, where you can control frame rates, font scaling etc. Piece of cake.

Phosphor Settings Window

4. Advanced Options: Clicking on Advanced tab will give you options to control the visual parameters. For example, true color, monotone, grayscale etc., as seen below.

Advanced Phosphor Options

That’s it. Once you set the time parameter in the Lock Screen option, we are ready to go. You would see plain text scrolling on your screen gloriously. To make it better, its phosphor green! šŸ˜› Right now, I alternate between a text file, where I have the entire conversation between the Architect and Neo from The Matrix Reloaded and another text file with the most brilliant quotes and happenings from Neal Stephenson’s masterpiece, Cryptonomicon.

I came to know of phosphor only a few months ago, and hence, I am posting it here. If some of you also haven’t heard about it, then I hope this post is helpful.

2 comments on “Phosphor

  1. I never thought of using phosphor like this! I’ll definitely gonna try this next time I do some programming ;D

    I have to tell you that I really like your screenshots and your posts and it’s thanks to them that I got hooked in into Tiling WMs, specifically your post about ScrotWM was what made me use it in the first place.
    I’ve got a lot of inspiration on how I want my desktop to look like thanks to you.

    So thank you very much for your posts, your screenshots, and the awesome music you post šŸ˜€

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