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rotating wallpaper imageWant rotating wallpaper in Ubuntu, but don’t want to use the default slideshows? Design your own with SlideWall. This easy-to-use software lets you pick which photos you want to rotate and when, and can even automatically download and rotate high-quality wallpapers from the web.

You can even set your wallpaper to a real-time depiction of where the sun is an isn’t shining on earth, if you want.

Windows and OS X both let you pick a folder of wallpapers to rotate – something mysteriously missing from Ubuntu and other Gnome-based Linux distributions. Luckily SlideWall fills the void quite nicely while providing you with web-based photos as well. It’s well worth checking out if you enjoy seeing different images throughout the day.

Slidewall was made with Ubuntu’s Unity in mind, but also works in Gnome Shell and Gnome Classic.

Wallpaper Slideshow

The wallpaper tab in SlideWall lets you add as many images as you like to your rotating wallpaper, or remove ones you’ve decided you no longer like.

rotating wallpaper image


Zoom settings for the images are also present, if you want control over how your images show up on screen.

The options tab gives you control over how frequently your wallpaper switches, and more:

rotating images

You can also manually switch the next wallpaper, anytime, by clicking the tray icon (if enabled). “Next” and “Previous” buttons there make the job easy.

Live Wallpapers!

Like the idea, but don’t have a collection of wallpaper handy? Head to the “live” tab of SlideWall. Here you can pick from three different live collections of wallpapers:

rotating images

You can use the latest or random wallpapers from Wallbase, if you want to be surprised throughout theday. Or, if constantly being aware of which parts of the world are experiencing day or night is more your thing, you can use the live earth setting:

rotating wallpaper image

Pretty cool, right? Variations on this have been possible in Linux distros for a decade or so, but many of these older programs no longer work. It’s nice to have an easy-to-use option for Unity and Gnome Shell.

Install Slidewall

Ready to give SlideWall a shot? Ubuntu 12.04 users can find the program in the Ubuntu Software Center; just search for “slidewall”. Or, if the the command-line is more your thing, use a good old-fashioned “sudo apt-get install slidewall”.

Users of other Linux distros can download SlideWall here. Some assembly required; sorry about that.


My wife Kathy collects her favorite photographs in a folder. Because of SlideWall I can now rotate them in Linux the same way she does in Windows 7, and that makes me happy.

Let me know how you like SlideWall in the comments below, along with the usual questions. Alternative software for the job is appreciated too.

Also feel free to let me know which features Windows and/or OS X comes with by default that you find lacking in Ubuntu specifically or Linux in general – I’ll see if I can’t find software for the job.

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  1. Freecycle Me
    September 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    This is what I want! Installing now. Many thanks

  2. sunshinekhan
    September 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Installed from Ubuntu Software Center. Couldn't get it to startup at logon.

    Manually added it to Startup Applications from /opt/

    Everytime I logout it starts fresh and gives me the following error window:

    SlideWall Error
    You need atleast one image!

    What is wrong here? My Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is fully updated.

    • Justin Pot
      September 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      I didn't run in to this problem, and can't find any bugs related to it. Does anyone else know what to do?

      • John
        September 6, 2012 at 3:03 am

        I ran into the same problem. Go to the terminal and remove and re-install it.

        • Justin Pot
          September 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm

          Glad something fixes it. I wonder if simply deleting the config files would do the trick?

  3. MatthewOMealey
    September 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Weird that 20 minutes is the max time for rotation.

  4. Ahmed Khalil
    September 4, 2012 at 10:56 am

    looks nice tool, i hope it is working well On MAC and PC

  5. Anomaly
    September 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Justin, in the article you mention the default slide shows that come with Ubuntu, what are you referring to? Ubuntu does not have a default wall paper changer.

    • Justin Pot
      September 2, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      It does! Head to the wallpaper page in the settings and you'll find all the default wallpapers, along with one collection ( the one that looks like a stack of pages). Click that and your wallpaper will rotate through all of the contest winners for that release.

  6. josemon maliakal
    September 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    i really like this feature

  7. anthonymonori
    August 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Great find. As an Ubuntu user, I would like to see more of these here on MUO.

    • Justin Pot
      August 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      I try to review Ubuntu apps here regularly, so stay tuned.

  8. Ben Klaas
    August 30, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Good find. I think I like the idea of the live wallpapers better, but the favorite photo folder thing you describe is a great candidate for putting those on Dropbox (or insert your favorite linux-accessible cloud storage). Then you can have the same pool of images for SlideWall on different machines without copying files.

    • Justin Pot
      August 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      That's what I set up. I love it.