I read about the LibraryThing Mac Screensaver and of course wanted the same thing for my Ubuntu workstation at $work. Naturally, I’m supposed to be working on some high-priority tickets on a tight deadline…so I started to work right away on how to do this. Your tax dollars at work, etc…

I’m sure that there’s a much more elegant way of doing this, but I basically created a simple python program extract-images that will pull image urls out of arbitrary text, suck down the images, and dump them to a directory. This can be combined with cron and the standard GLSlideshow screensaver, which displays a slideshow of images in a particular directory.

So you just download extract-images, put it in your path, add a crontab entry like (substituting edsu for your LibraryThing username):

00 14 * * * extract-images http://www.librarything.com/labs-screensaver.php?userid=edsu /home/ed/Pictures/covers

And then tell GLSlideshow where your images are by adding this to your ~/.xscreensaver

imageDirectory:   /home/ed/Pictures/covers
chooseRandomImages:   True

Dear $manager, it really didn’t take me that long to do this. Honest!