Unix Data Splashing Tool
Unix Splash Screen Tool - turn your desktop into a 2D / 3D canvas
Made in C++
See below for distro / DE compatbility
splash is a generic tool that provides a command-line interface for rendering non-windowed raw data directly onto your desktop environment.
splash transforms your entire desktop into a 2D / 3D canvas, for dynamic data or simple static overlays that can interact with your mouse and keyboard and trigger commands.
Example of splash displaying an animated GIF on the desktop background.
Example of splash displaying a full 3D OpenGL application (albeit a very basic one) with user interaction.
Example of splash rendering truetype font text, with a bunch of options, in the foreground on the desktop.
This was originally written because I wanted to have a custom "splash screen" like those fancy, super expensive software packages have when starting up, with transparency and everything. Now it supports a full OpenGL context.
Splash requires specification of an execution mode.
Reading:  Required <> Optional
help Display help message
fidget Display a 3D fidget spinner (lol) : None
img Display .png image [data]: Image file name
gif Display .gif image [data]: GIF file name Note: Only works for full replacing gifs!
text Render truetype text (static) [data]: Text to render
-p [x y w h] Position Splash Quad -t [s] Splash timeout in seconds (integer)
--t Test configuration file --v Verbose mode
--bg Place splash in background --fg Place splash in foreground (default) --ni Splash no-interact --ns Disable splash shadows (compton) --a Display splash on all desktops
Program specific flags:
-ff [font] Font face (searches in ~/.fonts/, default "arial.ttf") -fc [hex] Text color (hex code, e.g. 0xFFFFFF) -fs [size] Font size, positive integer -v [0,1,2] Vertical Align [center, up, down] -h [0,1,2] Horizontal Align [center, left, right]
/testdata/folder for example programs to splash some data onto your screen.
#Default desktop fidget spinner (no shadow, foreground)
splash fidget -p 710 290 500 500 --ns --fg
#Animated SMB wallpaper gif (no interact, all screens, no shadow)
echo "smb.gif" | splash gif -p 660 340 600 400 --bg --ni --a --ns
#Display an Image (with shading, blocks mouse input)
echo "image.png" | splash img -p 360 140 1200 800
#Display some text on your background
echo "splash" | splash text -p 100 100 800 400 --bg --ns -ff "arial.ttf" -fs 100
Compiler: g++ Rendering: OpenGL, glX, GLEW X-Server: X11, Xfixes, Xrender Boost: boost, boost_system, boost_filesystem
All of these should be available as packages for your favorite distro.
Run the script
The script will make sure that the required directories exist and will setup splash at
The script will also ask if you wish to compile splash and the execution modes.
The execution modes are placed in
~/.config/splash/execand splash is placed in
If you wish to compile manually, use the makefiles in
./splash: make splash
./program: make [mode] make all
Note that splash is separate from the actual execution modes. Execution modes are compiled separately (linked at runtime by splash).
If you have problems with compiling search the closed issues to see if there is a solution and otherwise feel free to open a ticket.
Common problems might include: Incorrect linking in the make files, because your distro places libraries in a different location, and slightly different names of the libraries in
This is just from some basic tests I can run on my computer. If you can compile / test on other distros and DEs, please open an issue so I can add it here.
Ubuntu 18 Compiles successfully Arch / Manjaro Compiles successfully (see issues) ... feel free to open an issue for your distro!
Gnome / Ubuntu Works fully Openbox Works fully XFCE Works fully bspwm Works fully (requires config, see below)
i3 *Restricted (see below)* i3-gaps Not tested ... Feel free to open an issue for your DE!
Note: Some WMs require additions to their config (see below)
Sidenote: The various degrees of compatibility depend on how strictly the window manager conforms to the X11 extended window manager hints specification (EWMH). Particularly tiling window managers don't adhere entirely, making it more difficult to produce consistent splash behavior. There are work-arounds using the WM configs.
Splash will spawn an X window with a number of additional properties that your WM / compositor / other programs can target to get expected visual behavior:
SPLASH_SHADOW = [0,1] set to 0 if --ns is set (1 by default) WM_CLASS = SPLASH for every window spawned with splah WM_NAME = SPLASH
Note: You might want shadow on for a splash for e.g. an image overlay.
To enable shadow toggling, add the following rule (or similar) to your compositor config (e.g.
#Enable shadow toggling shadow-exclude = [ #... "[email protected]:32c = 0", #... ]; #...__
If you don't add this the compositor will always shade splashes, and it can't be deactivated with
Other compositors (check where to set shadow exclude rule):
Note: Other compositors might support features such as kawase blur. Use the same flag above to target splash for exception.
Add the following rules to your
# Splash Float bspc rule -a SPLASH:SPLASH state=floating bspc rule -a SPLASH:SPLASH border=off
This is necessary to make sure bspwm immediately floats splashes. Otherwise you get unintended behavior.
Add this line to your i3 config to make splash semi-compatible:
# splash config for_window [class="SPLASH"] border none for_window [class="SPLASH"] floating enable
A number of issues mentioned below will persist.
Problem: These window managers do not support the EWMH specification for specifying a preferred order of floating windows (specifically
_NET_WM_STATE_BELOW). It ignores these hints and forces its own order.
--fgoptions do not work as intended (splashes will be permanently on the floating window layer). Splashes will never "disappear" behind tiled windows. Splashes will conflict with other floating windows too, and not stay above or below other windows.
Problem: i3 does not seem to properly support the X shape extension.
Effect: Disabling user input / hover focus for the window is non-standard (read: difficult), so the
--niflag will not work. For some reason, i3 decides that a window with no input area has its entire area instead be it's border, so dragging on a splash after setting the
--niflag will instead resize it in a wonky way.
All other options work as intended. If you never use other floating windows and use splash just for overlays (with no click-through), the program works as intended.
Currently this issue is will not fix, because it seems that it will require a substantial rewrite for a WM that does not follow the X spec. Consider forking and proposing a solution!
Read the following discussion for possible fixes:
I am currently working on a configuration system to make the display behavior more easily customizable.
Possible configuration options include color-schemes, transparency options and event triggers.
Currently, building custom execution modes requires knowledge of C++ and OpenGL. If you don't have the experience but you have an idea for a type of visualization you would like, let me know.
splash provides a "windowless"* OpenGL context and a system for modularized data visualization using small shader programs ("execution modes"), which have access to the piped-in data and user-input events.
Note: An X11 window technically exists, it is just made "transparent" to the desktop.
A generic "program" base class is exposed to user input (piped data, commandline, X11 events). It contains an event handling callback and a rendering callback.
The program class is exposed to an OpenGL rendering context for visualization, as well as a number of utility classes that intuitively wrap boilerplate OpenGL (taken from TinyEngine ).
By defining a derived class with specialized callbacks (and any additional desired members), arbitrary behavior can be achieved using the data piped in, on the "windowless" OpenGL window.
The derived classes are precompiled and placed into
~/.config/splash/execwhere they are found and linked by splash at run time.
You can build your own visualization programs by defining a custom derived class, compiling it and placing it in the
execfolder. Check out the
programfolder for examples (as well as the makefile).
If there is a desire for more detailed information on how to build a custom visualization, I can update the Wiki (if I get requests).
check out my dope desktop fidget spinner, man
One could theoretically add a whole DearImGUI menu to your desktop using splash. Why? I don't know. But it's possible. Everyday I stray further from the light.
If you find this interesting and would like to contribute that would be awesome. A number of places where contributing would be nice: