Cinnamon 2.4: Background slideshows
by clem 47

Credits to Joseph from the development team, Cinnamon 2.4 will gain support for background slideshows:

Screenshot from 2014-09-23 21:09:58

So far, two types of background collections are supported:

  • Cinnamon background collections, which are XML collections provided by the OS or installed via the Software Manager (in the screenshot above we can see mint-backgrounds-qiana and mint-backgrounds-petra)
  • Filesystem directories, which you can add or remove via the interface

The interface remains simple with the ability to either pick a single background from a collection or activate a slideshow for that collection.

47 thoughts on “Cinnamon 2.4: Background slideshows

  1. somini Sep 23,2014 19:49

    Great work! Finally time to retire that hack-y cron job.

  2. Herr Dierk Sep 23,2014 20:53

    Wow, this is just great! Every time I read this page I like Mint more and more. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to all the people behind this wonderfull Distro !

  3. Sergio Esaú Arámbula Durán (S. E. Durán) Sep 23,2014 21:01

    COOL, I will like this new feature, add Noise playback keys and MPRIS support for thesound menu and I will be completelly satisfied

    • Stephen Sep 24,2014 19:14

      The way the sound applet interacts with DBus was recently changed, and will be available in the next release. The change allows any player to work, regardless of whether it is in the list of supported players or not, and implements features based on what the program reports as available. If the media control buttons still don’t work for you after the next release, than it is most likely a problem with noise’s implementation of MPRIS. You should contact them instead.

  4. mrman Sep 23,2014 22:22

    This is great, much needed.

    I wonder if the images just change or if there is a fade transition or slide option ?

    • JosephM Sep 24,2014 04:36

      Right now the images just change. There is code in cinnamon to do some sort of transition but I think it was causing some errors. Don’t remember the exact reason why, but I know it was disabled.

      • mrman Sep 24,2014 13:26

        i wonder if it could be fixed up and implemented or at least offered as a side mod for people to test?

        a transistion is much nicer than a nasty straight swap thats all a bit xfce :P

        of course on full screen content such as a maximised firefox window or a proper fullscreen program ( like a game or something) it doesnt need to do it. only for the times the wallpaper is visible by a percentage or through a transparency (given GTK isnt really awash with transparency window decorations that last bit doesnt really matter) probably better to stick with a percentage or just a command to not do it on a full screen window to save clock cycles and stop things juddering on games.

        even just a menu radio button Slide / Fade / Wash ( il let you think what the last one might look like )


  5. MintUser Sep 24,2014 04:06

    Just after You had decided not to make a new release based on 14.10, many great usability improvements have come out. It’s fantastic!

  6. Anand Sep 24,2014 04:59

    Cool. Now, you can close couple of github requests as well. :-D

    Now if we were able to select background setting per each workspace, it would be more awesome. :-)

  7. Anand Sep 24,2014 05:06

    If I right click a random image in a folder and set is as image, which collection would it get added to? Just being curious here.

    • JosephM Sep 24,2014 06:17

      Anand, if your talking about doing it from something like nemo, it wouldn’t be added to any. If I’m not mistaken the Right Click->Set as Wallpaper option just sets the picture-uri gsettings key to point to that image. If the slideshow is running it will just be overwritten on the next scheduled image change. What might be nice is an option in the right click menu for “Add to current slideshow”.

      • JosephM Sep 24,2014 06:29

        Sorry for the back to back replies. Keep in mind that if I have my slideshow set to play from a certain folder, say, ~/Pictures/MyKids and I add another picture to that folder, It will be picked up automatically and added to the slideshow.

        • Anand Sep 24,2014 07:28

          Thanks for clarifying. Sometimes, it so happens that come across a nice wall paper in web, download it and from ‘Downloads’ or ‘tmp’ folder. As you say, I happen to set them either from Nemo or in an image viewer. (sometimes within Firefox itself) So, looks like such files don’t get registered / added to backgrounds unless I specifically add them from Background Settings. I think, they wont persist after reboot if ‘tmp’ is cleared…Will be good if gets added to Backgrounds but now it raised under which collection – Anyways, users can manually add it… not a big worry…

          Makes sense that any file added to folder gets automatically, desired behavior as well.

          • Anand Sep 24,2014 07:30

            Sorry, if it all sounds gibberish…was in a lunch hurry ;-)

          • JosephM Sep 24,2014 19:26

            Ok, a bit more follow up. This was just changed in Git. Setting a wallpaper from an external source such as Nemo or Firefox will now stop the slideshow. That seems like the way it would be expected to behave.

          • Anand Sep 25,2014 09:11

            Yes, thanks for looking into this and making the changes. I will wait for nightly updates and give it a shot.

          • Anand Sep 26,2014 02:06

            Hi Joesph, Noticed a weird issue on this in the Nightly build. Images in collections get mixed up.

   >> ‘Qiana’ collection incorrectly shows an image from Pictures collection.

   > ‘Pictures’ incorrectly shows images from ‘Qiana’

            Seems to have some refresh issues while navigating between collections- also experienced auto-select of images as well at times.

          • Anand Sep 28,2014 13:37

            Sorry to be a pest but would like to make a point on the suggestion made earlier. I feel, images set as desktop BG from elsewhere needs to be added to collection to make any changes. For instance, if Picture Aspect needs to be set for the image. In fact, the below message is shown
            “The image has been set as Desktop Background. Would you like to modify its appearance” along with a button Open Background Preferences.
            Hence, it makes sense to have an ‘Active’ or ‘Recent’ collection. Else, user needs to add the image again.
            Also, looks like only folders can be added and not individual files?

          • JosephM Sep 28,2014 19:47

            While I understand where your coming from, the functionality when setting a bg form an external source hasn’t really changed. The image set as a bg from something like Firefox has never shown in bg settings. You can change the picture aspect for the bg in the settings regardless of what the bg currently is.

            If you want the bg your setting to be made part of a certain collection then don’t use the “set as background” menu item. Instead for example in your browser use “Save Image As” and save it to the folder you have set for your slideshow. This will automatically add it to the list of slideshow pictures and the image will then show up in the bg settings as part of that collection.

            In nemo it would probably be possible to create a new Nemo action that would allow you to have a “Add Image to current Slidehshow” menu item. Not sure how useful that is to be honest since you could simple copy the image to the proper folder.

            As for notifications. I don’t really see why this would be necessary. When a user chooses to change the bg I don’t know that a notification is needed to tell them they changed it. If they don’t like the way it’s fit to the screen they can open the bg settings and change the picture aspect setting.

            The idea was to try and keep the slideshow and it’s settings as simple and straightforward as possible on the first go. It’s really easy to get carried away with all of the things possible with the slideshow and overcomplicate the whole thing. Features and functions can always be added based on user feedback. Even though I disagree with some of your suggestions, I do appreciate the feedback and will keep them in mind :). If you have suggestions, add them on github where they won’t get lost.

          • Anand Sep 29,2014 03:09

            Thanks for response. I was not aware that picture aspect settings apply independently regardless of whether image is selected / shown. My bad, should have checked. I didnt say it’s a regression :-), was just seeing if we can improve things while we’re on it. Although, guess ability to select individual image files is now replaced by selecting folders.

            Agree, that I could take a different process to achieve the same. Also, notification message is already present, if you try setting bg from am image viewer, for instance. That’s what lead me to my comment in fact. Anyways, we can leave it at this as its not a critical functionality / most common of use cases.

            Sure, can post on github but I have had better visibility / response times here. :-)

  8. Avinash Sep 24,2014 12:45


    Can we install Cinnamon 2.4 on Mint 17 Cinnamon?


  9. CupidsHelper Sep 25,2014 03:35

    I am very glad to see this come to Cinnamon. Thank you. :)

  10. Daniel4x Sep 25,2014 19:12

    This is very good new feature in Cinnamon. Thanks Mint team.

  11. Eric Sep 25,2014 22:43

    Kind of a random thought, but wasn’t sure where to share. This is also an issue in Gnome, but it would be nice if the desktop icons “Keep Aligned” option not only did vertical alignment, but horizontal as well, an X/Y grid I suppose (like Windows does, just an FYI.) My take at least and wanted to see if that was something of interest. Thanks!

  12. Scott Sep 28,2014 04:51

    I’m liking the new additions! Good job and keep working on those UI refinements!

  13. Ankleface Wroughtlandmire Sep 29,2014 17:40

    Actually this is already possible in cinnamon (dconf org.cinnamon.background.mode “slideshow”), but it’s great to see this functionality exposed with a nice interface! Thanks so much.

    • JosephM Sep 30,2014 05:40

      Your right that slideshow functionality was previously available through dconf. The settings were just hidden. The new slideshow isn’t actually based off of that at all though.

  14. Jürgen Kazmirzak Sep 29,2014 21:45

    Hi Clem, thanks for the steady work on cinnamon!

    Hi Anand, you are absolutely right!

    Transitions are a beautifull thing and enrich the desktop experience!

    But even more enriching would be the option to have a different background image for every workspace – so the image is not only decoration but serves a function: it shows you where you are.

    If you are at work, you could have a “private” and a “business” desktop, and you can switch it at the push of a button! If you work at home it makes a nice separation between “free time” and “office time” – you switch by switching workspaces. Different backgrounds are soo needed not to confuse things – I used to work with multiple workspaces – but I gave it up cause they always got mixed up – you never know which one you work on, and you end up opening windows randomly.

    Think this would gain lots of media attention ;-)

  15. erg Sep 30,2014 05:54

    everything is looking very good! a very usefull tool will be systemback(to find by launchpad). i hope that will be by default in linux mint. only with this software i convinced 4 people to use mint cinnamon 17! it was an answer to “what i’m doing if something goes wrong with the system?”
    install again or look in the internet maybe you’ll find an answer was not a solution.

    thank you for the great work!

  16. Minter Oct 2,2014 15:38

    I think Juergen has a good idea:

    “But even more enriching would be the option to have a different background image for every workspace – so the image is not only decoration but serves a function: it shows you where you are.”

    If not in Cinnamon 2.4, maybe in a future release?

    • mrman Oct 6,2014 11:15

      Juergen has a good idea, the only other thing to add to separate workspace images in future releases is the option of a soft lock or password per workspace that removes itself on reboot. so you have a pre-defined ‘lock’ icon next to the workspace name with a password that is remembered, then each time you lock that workspace it needs the password until reboot ( this saves from any unessary forgeting passwords headaches or weird not able to shut down because a document is open on a locked desktop etc..)
      this way you truely have work/play workspaces, sometimes you want to temporary lock your workspace for the time the pc is on because it has that accounting file open but the kids want to quickly look at something on the ‘web’ named workspace with firefox, it stops any eyes from seeing. Then sometimes maybe your wife wants to look at the accounting page and web, but the play tab is locked … ;) catch my drift.


      • RichardG Oct 6,2014 13:09

        Why not use the ‘Switch User’ functionality ?
        IIRC you can even use that when the desktop is locked.

  17. ttjimera Oct 6,2014 07:27

    This is great. Right now I am using Variety to change the background at intervals. Variety works just fine. But it is good to have something native to Cinnamon. Thank you. Looking forward to trying it out.

  18. jcxz100 Oct 11,2014 22:08

    Random thought; how about borrowing this bit from Xfce:
    An option to have only the [i]focused[/i] window be 100% Opaque, all unfocused can have (customizable level of) transparancy?
    I like this feature so much I am *almost* considering a switch… but then again ;-)

    And please accept my apologies, if this would really have to be a Nemo change – I’m still feeling a bit fuzzy about what controls which part of it all..

    Btw: Cinnamon has so many features MATE lacks, and (with dconf-editor) it’s almost as customizable – keep up the good work!

  19. JohnnyD Dec 5,2014 15:19

    I’m really liking the new slideshow functionality, but I’m wondering if it’s possible to include multiple collections in the slideshow (e.g. I really like some of the Qiana wallpapers, so I’d like the slideshow to go through both the Qiana and Rebecca collections)?

  20. ViA Dec 26,2014 09:58

    Newbie, how do you install it?

  21. mrman Dec 30,2014 00:55

    not sure if its you Josepth that handles the animations but if you run ‘classic’ top panel and bottom panel mode + autohide either panel, then the login animation shows a blank screen,then the wallpaper,then the blank screen, then the animation.

    looks a bit scruffy and kind of misses the point of the effect.


    • JosephM Dec 30,2014 19:37

      The startup animation is a separate issue from the bg slideshows. It was added pretty late in the dev cycle and then hacked on a bit more during the Mint RC due to a lot of people (inluding me) having issues with it. If you would, raise an issue for it here:

      It will have a better chance of being addressed and not lost/forgot about. Make sure and include the steps to reproduce it, and thanks.

  22. simon Jan 16,2015 22:18

    I was thinking that a Cinnamon Applet to control the slideshow might be nice. I’ve created myself keyboard shortcuts to advance to the next background, and to delete the current background and so on. Would there be an appetite for an applet to do this?

  23. somini Feb 12,2015 23:29

    As it stands, Cinnamon doesn’t recurse folders when you add them.
    Using this simple python script
    You can create a XML you can put in /usr/share/cinnamon-background-properties/screenshots.xml, and it just works.
    When you update the folder you can just rerun the script.

  24. mrman May 14,2015 17:04

    i have been using Mint Mate 17.1 & Mint XFCE 17.1. Both offer fades between desktop backgrounds with a selectable transmission time using Compiz. It does not effect performance one bit. I have also noticed Gnome does this and so does ubuntu, in fact Cinnamon is one of the only desktop that ‘cant’ physically seem do this as 3rd part apps wont work due to the inbuilt wallpaper manager.

    such a small but nice feature to have it seems a shame seen as the code is already written :)


  25. ruoaa Mar 26,2016 15:08

    why cinnamon doesn`t show desktop backgrounds of other desktops ?

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