News about Variety Wallpaper Changer

Variety is an open-source wallpaper changer for Linux

Variety 0.6.0 is here with a major new feature – Variety Slideshow!

Variety is packed with great features, yet slim and easy to use. It can use local images or automatically download wallpapers from lots of online sources, allows you to rotate them on a regular interval, and provides easy ways to separate the great images from the junk. Variety can also display wise and funny quotations or a nice digital clock on the desktop.

See some screenshots

Watch a video demo

Installation on Ubuntu

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peterlevi/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install variety

Then you launch Variety from the dash or applications menu, or by running variety in a terminal.

Detailed installation instructions are here. Variety runs on Ubuntu 12.04 and newer, on most Ubuntu variants and derivatives – Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Linux Mint and others, and on several other Linux distributions – Arch, Fedora, Debian.

Source code and bug-reporting

You can find the source code, report bugs, request features or download Variety in tar.gz format at Variety’s project page in Launchpad.


Variety runs on enthusiasm, fueled by donations. If you wish to donate, here is how.

Supported image sources

The supported online image sources are Flickr,, World sunlight map (a live wallpaper that changes as the day progresses),, NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day,, as well as any site that publishes Media RSS feeds – e.g. Picasa, SmugMug, deviantART, InterfaceLIFT, etc.


Variety is developed by Peter Levi, a software developer from Bulgaria. Translations are provided by different contributing enthusiasts, you may join in this effort at Launchpad.


  1. I like it!!
    I made some translations into the russian in Launchpad. But I can’t change language in Variety (0.4.12).

    • Variety is currently translatable in Launchpad, but none of the translations have yet been included in a release. Looking at the progress in Launchpad, probably next release will include Russian, Bulgarian and Spanish translations, as they are fairly complete.

      • Como ya le coment? en correo electr?nico,es un excelente trabajo lo que usted ha hecho con “Variety”,y se merece una compensaci?n.
        Espero que las personas colaboren econ?m?camente con el trabajo desinteresado de usted,aunque sea en peque?as cantidades. ?Cuanto gastamos en cervezas en un mes?
        Pues con solo sacar el importe de las cervezas tomadas en un solo d?a,se le podr?a est?mular al desarrollo de aplicaciones tan buenas como “Variety”.

        Un saludo,?nimo y adelante.

        Manuel Moldes F.

      • Hei peter

  2. I don’t want to register a Launchpad account, but I have the exact same problem as this guy:

    I tried your solution and here is what the terminal messages stated:

    …..~$ /opt/ -v

    INFO:variety: process_command() ‘Received command: [‘-v’]’
    INFO:variety: load_banned() ‘Missing or invalid banned URLs list, no URLs will be banned’
    WARNING:variety: load_history() ‘Could not load history file, continuing without it, no worries’
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “/opt/”, line 46, in
    File “/opt/”, line 87, in main
    File “/opt/”, line 117, in start
    self.thumbs_manager.mark_active(file=self.used[self.position], position=self.position)
    IndexError: list index out of range

    Thanks, I’m looking forward to getting this to work, looks great!

    • Yes, looks like a bug. Do you currently have some wallpaper image set? I managed to reproduce it by setting a solid color instead of an image for wallpaper, then running Variety – if you have a valid, existing image as a wallpaper, you should be able to run it. Please do report back if this workaround works for you. Thanks.

      • Yes, your idea worked! You were correct, I had a gradient color as a background. Variety seems to be running fine now, thanks.

  3. Excellent app Peter, I’ve been looking for an desktop program like this for some time, any plans for an ‘android’ version?

    • Yes, I would definitely want to release an Android version in the future, but I simply don’t have enough time to work that much on Variety at the moment. Besides, I’d like to finish some more functionality on the Ubuntu version that would give me better insight on how to go on with the mobile versions (usage statistics reporting, and a “Variety users’ favorites” channel which requires server-side support).

  4. Using Voyager OS fork of Xubuntu, and the current configuration has a different wallpaper for each workspace. I would prefer having the same wallpaper for each workspace and I’m not sure how to change that. Any help would be appreciated.

  5. hi, Can you make an easy to install package in other formats like rpm etc. I am using fedora18 and am not too used to installing from source. In any case, great job with the utility. :)

  6. I am using Variety and it works great. I use Ubuntu 12.04LTS and would like a different background in each workspace. When I do a google search for this the results say that Variety is capable of providing this functionality, but I cannot find how to enable it. There does not appear to be an an option in the preferences for example.

    • I don’t know where you read this, but it is not possible. GNOME does not support different wallpapers on different workspaces without heavy hacking. I find this quite stupid, but that’s the state of things.

      • Thanks very much for the definitive amswer! The confusion arose with a google search result on the keyword search “variety wallpaper changer ubuntu workspaces”:

        About Variety | Variety
        Variety is a wallpaper changer for Ubuntu which is featureful, yet slim and very easy to … Variety was created by Peter Levi, for the Ubuntu App Showdown 2012. … and the current configuration has a different wallpaper for each workspace.

        Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  7. Thank you so very much for your extremely well thought-out ‘Variety’ app. This is the first wallpaper app I have been ecstatic about since my affair wih Linux and Ubuntu started 5 years ago! No other app is so flexible, easy to set-up or offers the small conveniences that one wants in wallpapare changers but rarely thinks about them! Pay-Pal time…
    Mars Bonfire

  8. brilliant app, works really well yet really simply, but there only seems to be about 8 quotes on a loop. otherwise as i said brilliant

    • Quotes are worked on, the next version will support more sources, not only QuotesDaddy (which turned out to be a bad choice).

  9. Brilliant app. Just installed today and absolutely love it. So many features, and SO well presented; from the taskbar indicator menu to the preferences themselves, to the amount of display configurations available on the quotes/clock, and image enhancements. If this is the kind of software you put out when you “don’t have much free time”, then I wish you had a lot more free time. More Ubuntu software needs to be like this – polished and professional and fantastically written.
    My only wish is that there were a slightly-less-blur option; I wouldn’t mind toning some of the images down a bit without blurring them completely.
    Thanks for this! Will donate for this one, for sure.

    • 0.4.17 has two blur options (soft and heavy), and you can add custom filters or tweak the default ones – just check the filters section in ~/.config/variety/variety.conf. Specifically for less-blur you need to reduce the numbers in the blur filters.

      • Thanks for the speedy reply. I see the conf files for Heavy Blur, but I don’t see a Soft option anywhere. Heavy with the settings set to 1×1 (assuming that’s as low as it can go?) is still a little heavy…

        • Soft blur will be there on a fresh install of 0.4.17 – upgraded installations won’t see it. You may find it in variety_latest_default.conf in the same folder. But it uses the same ImageMagick blur command with another size setting, so if you are modifying the existing one directly, no need to look for the soft one.

          Are you sure you are editing, saving and reloading Variety correctly after the edit? 1×1 is a very very light blurring, almost unnoticeable.

          • Ah, that may be the issue. I was just using the ‘next’ function and letting it load a new image, and each one seemed to be less and less blurry after changing the values. I just noticed that after a reboot there is hardly any blur – so restarting the Variety app was definitely the problem.
            Again – thanks for the help, and for the excellent software!

  10. Ubuntu, Inkscape, IntelliJIDEA, Shotwell and this Variety are my best software list.
    I love your app !! It is great and now it is MUST-HAVE on my every Ubuntu OS.
    You did great job, really. I can see that you have put your heart into this app.
    There are many usefull options.

    My favourite features are: quotes and adjusting how they are displayed,
    blurring wallpapers so they don’t distract me,
    and list of quite good places to download wallpapers.

  11. I love this app, and I know a lot of other Ubuntu users who do as well.
    Have you considered submitting it for inclusion in the Ubuntu Software Centre?

    • It is included in USC for Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10. But the approval and update process is too slow and cumbersome and I’m not doing it anymore. What’s worth is to include it in universe repository, but I haven’t yet checked the exact procedures for this. As far as I get it, anyone from the community can volunteer for this, at the moment I don’t have the time to educate myself in the process, so I rely on a PPA instead.

  12. OUTstanding application, very well thought out and intuitive menus. I installed the current version 0.4.17 from repo. It launches perfectly and in General – Images – If I highlight my local pictures folder /home/user/pictures I see a series of photos at the bottom of my screen. But the wall paper never changes. I am running Bodhi Linux (based on U 12.04 LTS) with Enlightenment 0.17.4 desktop. Anyone have any advise? TIA , Ronin

    • Enlightenment is not supported, because there does not seem to be any standard way to change the wallpaper there from the command line. If you know a command, or can write a bash script to change the wallpaper, then you can add it to ~/.config/variety/scripts/set_wallpaper and Variety will work. Please report back here if you succeed in this.

  13. Peter I cannot seem to get a date and time to come up on a Toshiba Satellite running 12.04 LTS. Quotes come up just fine.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks for the beautiful program!

    • Is ImageMagick installed and working fine? Have you modified the clock configuration in the conf file – you may try resetting it to the default by deleting the current clock_filter entry. Or run Variety in a terminal with “/opt/ -v” and check the log for clock-related errors.

  14. Hello Peter and thanks for the quick reply.
    Apparently I somehow did not get Imagemagick installed the first time around.
    It is now installed and Variety is working just fine.

    Thanks again and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  15. Can you add an option so you can set the command line for the background changer. This way someone like myself could specify something like “fbsetbg -a %f” with the %f being a placeholder for the filename of the wallpaper. I use Fluxbox for my window manager.

    Heck, hide it away as a power feature if you want. Anyone running Fluxbox or Openbox will have no problem editing a config file to set the wallpaper changer.

    • It is hidden just a Google search away, even this very page mentions it a few comments above – edit ~/.config/variety/scripts/set_wallpaper, read the comments at the top before changing.

    • I apologize. I can see that it is possible to do this with Variety. I came here from reading an article that only mentioned that Variety worked with Unity, Gnome, KDE and XFCE. It did not mention you could set a custom wallpaper changer.

      Great Application

  16. Hi Again.
    Still love this app. I see that it says it can be configured to use fortune for the quotes (the ones that come in the regular options are getting a little religious/preachy/sentimental for me and I’d much rather switch to fortunes humor/dirty categories!) Can’t figure out how to make it happen, though.
    Thanks !

    • Hello. Quotes are configured from Effects / Quotes / Sources and filtering, you can enter some keywords or tags there to look for or you can turn off some of the default quote sources. If by fortune you mean the Linux fortune command, it is not supported by default, it can be added via a plugin, but no one has written it yet :-) Not sure where you read it is supported, but it’s not true. If you are interested in light Python scripting –

      • Ah.
        I did try using the filtering to filter by humor, but apparently in the selection of sources I chose there was literally only one humorous choice, so I started getting the same quote over and over (and it wasn’t even that funny!)
        Maybe I’ll look into the python plugin writing.
        This site, if you scroll down under “what’s new in this update”, seems to indicate that Variety will support “fortune file format”. I assumed that’s what this meant.

        • If you hover the mouse over the local files option in quote sources you will see where you can put files with quotes in them. They should be in the same format that is used by the fortune program, this is what’s meant there. But you need to provide the files yourself. Variety comes by default with one fairly big file, that’s quite heavy on humorous quotes. But if you use only this source, keywords are not like tags, but should literally appear in the quote, so “humor” won’t work well.

  17. Everything I was looking and even more!
    There could be a detailed instruction on how to create keyboard shortcuts. I figure it out, but it was a bit tough.
    I suggest Yahoo pipes to turn RSS into a Media RSS.

  18. Variety is Great!! I just installed it today and it already works much better than my previous choice Wallch. Is there any chance of a windows edition since I would love these options on the windows platform.

    • Sorry, a Windows edition is not planned for now. Maybe in the future. You can give John’s Background Switcher a try on Windows.

      • thank you for your wonderful work, and your recommendation

      • Unfortunately, John’s doesn’t support wallhaven and he won’t implement it because they do not provide official API. I still didn’t find the wallpaper site with the same functionality as wallhaven. Any suggestions?
        Anyway, I have a suggestion – please make a Windows version, I’ll be happy to buy it. I suspect, many Windows users will.

      • I got this reply from John today when asked about Wallhaven and how Variety supports it:

        “Unless a site has an official API I can consume in JBS then I won’t add support for it. Variety is screen scraping, no doubt without permission of the people behind the site and that’s not something I’m comfortable doing in JBS.”

        Is it true you are “scraping” without permission? Is this an issue at all or is John making a big deal about it?

        • Scraping is allowed, unless explicitly forbidden. This is the case with Wallhaven – their policy does not forbid it, their robots.txt does not disallow it. We do provide a link back to the site and make clear this is the origin we are getting the image from. I’m not anonymous, so if Wallhaven are not happy with this, they can contact me anytime and ask me to remove Wallhaven support from Variety, and I will do it.

          Recently I have also taken a stance that I will be adding new sources to Variety only when they provide an official API, for another reason – scraping is a support pain and not viable for the long term.

          The bigger problem is that a lot of the content on Wallhaven itself is of unknown origin and lacking attribution. One of the goals I have with VRTY.ORG is to slowly make it a meeting place for creators and consumers of original artwork, where everything is properly attributed, and once I have this up, I intend to remove support for sources like Wallhaven from Variety.

  19. I would love to see Variety made for LMDE, because I’ve tried the current version aqnd it just screws up my updates, and I have no idea why. Gary

    • Hm, according to this thread, it should work OK on LMDE, I’m not sure how you have installed it. I haven’t personally tested it on LMDE, but it shouldn’t be much different from installing it on Debian and there it works fine when installed from the deb file.

      I’m not sure what the results would be if you try to add the PPA: this thread says it’s a bad idea generally.

  20. This is great!, One suggestion, Is there anyway that it could add a login for so I can point it to my favourites on the site?

  21. Hello Peter. Very nice work. I want to know how I can write and post my own quotes? What is the way ? Thank you for your help. Again, great software.

    • Place txt files in ~/.config/variety/pluginconfig/quotes/ and enable the Local Files quote source. The format is like this:

      “If you want to find out who your real friends are, sink the ship. The first ones to jump aren’t your friends.”
      — Marilyn Manson
      “I would rather be an artist than a leader. Ironically, a leader has to follow the rules.”
      — Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

  22. Feature request: run on more than one monitor. I think it would require to duplicate almost all configuration for each monitor. Maybe allow running more than one instance and add one parameter.

  23. After re-installing on my Mint debian addition it still comes up with Ubuntu depositories not found and then my update manager comes up with a big red “X” through it. If this was made for Mint Debian it doesn’t work worth a %$#&!!!! Gary

    • It wasn’t made for Mint Debian, it was made for Ubuntu. But it works on Debian and its derivatives if you install the necessary dependencies or have configured the repositories in a way which allows the package manager to resolve them automatically. Dependencies are listed in the “Other distributions” section on the “How to install” page. For more specific instructions, you’ll have to ask some Variety-on-LMDE user, I am not familiar enough with this distro – try starting here:

  24. Really great job! Thank you a lot!

  25. I just installed Lubuntu on an old P2 computer I had here and I was looking for an app to have a wallpaper changer. I found this cool app and decided to try it. Since the computer is old and does not have a network card I cannot get it on the internet. So I downloaded the variety package and decompressed it on the computer in order to try it. Unfortunately when I try to start variety from the bin folder I get a traceback error telling I have no bs4 module installed. Can you please help? I’m a newbie linux user. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  26. Is there an easy way to add a custom URL? I see some settings in the config file but there isn’t an example to add a specific file.

    For example, this page [1] posts a new wallpaper each month. I’d like to grab the image pertinent to my screen resolution and use it as my wallpaper. I have been using a cronjob to accomplish this [2] but your software looks much more capable. I just don’t see an easy way to add a custom URL.

    [1] –
    [2] –

    Note: The above script doesn’t work anymore since the EAA changed their website. My updated script is on my work PC behind our NAT and I don’t have VPN working on this laptop yet :-/

    • Sorry, there is no way for now to add custom image sources. In the future Variety may support plugins for this.

  27. Thanks for the great work you have done on Variety. I just discovered it today and I’m amazed at all the features you have included. I hope you will be encouraged to continue to improve and promote Variety. I’m sure you will find that what you give today will come back to you in other ways in the future. Greatness comes from people doing little things well. Variety may seem like a little thing, but you have done it well!

  28. Forgive me if this has already been answered somewhere.

    I am curious if wallpapers from local folders are chosen randomly or if they are displayed in sequence. I did not see an option to set this either way.

  29. Variety really made my Ubuntu so beautiful. Something totally refreshing when ever I log into my system. Awesome job. Thanks a lot. Cheers :)

  30. terminal is rejecting commands says
    sudo: add-apt-repository: command not found

    am using linux mint 15 cinnamon. Please help

  31. Variety wont change background, add quote, or add clock & date on gnome 3 desktop on Arch Linux, filed bug report on Arch Linux Package

  32. It doesn’t work very well with dual monitors when you want to span one wide wallpaper across both. You end up with the wallpaper repeated instead of spanned.

    • Set wallpaper display mode to Span in the Appearance settings of your desktop environment. Or choose whatever other mode suits you best. Variety does not override this setting, it only changes the image itself.

      • Whoa! That works! THANKS!

        Weird that I never took it off of span, so I didn’t try putting it back to span.

        This is fantastic news. I used to use Wallch, but that’s not working in Ubuntu 14.04, so I think this app will get some traffic due to that.

        Thanks for this app!!

  33. Hello,
    I just wanted to tell you you did a great job on this!
    Also, something that would be cool is in the time on the desktop to be able to set it to 12 hour time instead of 24 hour time. Also, when I put in a URL for, it does not like me, and it says “Could not find wallpapers there, please check the URL”, but anyway, great app, definetly considering putting it in my distro (if i ever get around to making one :P)

  34. Well, when wallpaper-sites change the format for their pages, the convenient links in your app will continue to break (unless you’re just removing URL-based sites all-together…) If, rather than hard-coding the links into the program, the source links were in a config file or GUI editable by the user, we could fix the broken links ourselves rather than wait on another release.

    Additionally, by allowing users to set the URLs themselves, we could point to our preferred websites.

    If you go through with this, one additional thing that would help me is if we could set key variable names to ‘grep’ on in the target website. Using my EAA example above, I’d want to search on the results of links on the target page for my custom screen resolution. Perhaps add in a user-set variable or two to allow us to target the specific file we want to display.

    Hope that clears up the comment.

    • It is not “the links” that are hardcoded into the program, it is the scraping logic for websites, or the API calls for API-based services like Flickr. I.e. fairly big chunks of code and logic. This is something that you can expose to the users only via plugins, not by allowing them to define “custom URLs”. For example, when change their website, it is not just the format of the URLs you see in Variety that needs to be updated, it is the whole logic for downloading wallpapers from the site and even the GUI for adding it as a source.

      Regarding custom preferred websites – again, you need the whole scraping logic (or API calls logic) to have them in Variety. This can be supported with plugins, but it is not so easy to make a plugin API in a way that makes it both easy to create plugins and easy for users to use those plugins. Think about one of the existing image sources in Variety – it has a dedicated GUI to add the source, it needs to validate that whatever the users sets as parameters (e.g. URL) is sensible and contains images, etc. A plugin will have to provide these things to be user-friendly. You can easily create a simple script that downloads images from site X into a folder, but such a thing does not suit the ordinary users of Variety – it needs to have a GUI to set keywords or whatever, to have the logic to actually take these into account, it needs error-checking logic, etc.

      One day Variety will support custom image sources via plugins, but not soon. It is not as easy as you see it.

      • Makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to explain the problem in harvesting images from a varity of sources. And thanks for a cool project!

  35. Hello, Peter.
    I appreciate your work and effort. Variety is one of the best wallpaper changer software.

    Good wishes, Peter, for you and ur life.

    Farman Ullah Khan,

  36. Love this app. I am new to all things linux so please bare with me. If I choose icon as “None”, how can I get to the preferences? Terminal maybe? Thanks in advance.


    • Nevermind, paid more attention this time, I found your instructions.

    • Answering if anyone else stumbles on the same:
      Instructions are next to the combo for the icon. The command to get back to preferences is:
      /opt/ --preferences

  37. Variety works great in Ubuntu 14.04 & linuxmint 15. But after installing in linuxmint 17 LTS 64 bit, I get this error, and sometimes lose mouse/keyboard and have to cycle power to recover.

    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/”, line 1184, in do_open
    raise URLError(err)
    No such schema ‘com.canonical.unity-greeter’
    /home/sadhu/.config/variety/scripts/set_wallpaper: line 41: xfconf-query: command not found
    Terminating signal received, quitting…

    • Some errors may be logged to the log without interfering with the normal operation of Variety. The ones you list look normal. Do these prevent Variety from working?
      Regarding mouse/keyboard – please confirm this is related to Variety and not something else and please confirm it does not happen if you change the wallpaper manually from desktop settings many times in short intervals.

      • Not to derail this particular thread, but I couldn’t help notice what you said in the second paragraph of your reply to Sadhu concerning rapid manual change of desktop wallpaper causing the desktop to become unresponsive.

        In fact I found your software as a result of a process of elimination, believing the desktop locking condition that I was experiencing with Mint 15 64 was a bug in the wallpaper change program. I have since confirmed that the bug appears to be with the desktop itself, and specifically the function that changes the background image.

        Your question seems to suggest that this problem only manifests itself when the wallpaper is changed frequently, which is the exact configuration I was using. I have tens of thousands of images for wallpaper, so I thought changing them every 30 seconds would produce an interesting effect. This led to occasional desktop freezes. I have not tried increasing the interval as a workaround, however, and have instead just stopped using wallpaper changers in general.

        Forgive me if I am seeing more into your question than you intended, but it sounds like you know of this problem, and it is my profound hope that you might have a solution to it. If so, you would be doing me a tremendous service to share :)

        Wonderful software, I only wish I could use it without fear of this desktop bug freezing my system.

        Thank you for any help you can provide.

        • I have experienced the problem myself, yes, in Ubuntu 12.04, while I was developing the scroll-wheel-over-icon-for-next-and-previous function – in the early phases it was generating a “set-wallpaper” request to the system several times per second. This tended to crash gnome-settings-daemon pretty quickly and made me put a limit to the allowed change interval in Variety (it is now minimum 5 seconds). I have not seen the problem with such longer change intervals, but the memory remains that this might be possible, especially on slower systems, where the wallpaper change smooth transition effect might be putting significant load on the graphics stack.

          Unfortunately I have no suggestion for you. Basically what wallpaper changers do is they put higher load on the graphic systems of the machine, so if there are any bugs in the GPU drivers, in their configuration, in Compiz, in the desktop environment, in the way all these systems interact, etc. – these bugs may surface. My own experience is that proprietary GPU drivers for Linux are always buggy, both for Nvidia and ATI, and are often the culprit of various similar problems. That’s why I buy machines with integrated Intel video only, they provide good open-source drivers. But I’m not a gamer…

          Basically what you may do is debug your problem. First make it 100% reproducible – create a script that tries to change the wallpaper, say, 5-10 times per second and runs indefinitely. Run it, see if it causes a crash, then start fiddling with Compiz settings (if your system uses it),, try changing the GPU driver if you have this option, etc, etc.

          • Greetings.

            I wanted to post this followup so that others could know the outcome of my troubleshooting efforts.

            The bug I described in my original post is indeed something within the Cinnamon desktop. I have experienced it in the versions that ship with Linux Mint 16 and 17 (Cinnamon 2.0 and 2.2, respectively). The problem does not occur with the MATE desktop at all.

            In fact, the bug in Cinnamon can manifest itself using the built-in method of changing wallpaper, without Variety (or any other wallpaper changer) being installed at all.

            sadhu: The bug may indeed have been corrected since my testing was finished. Perhaps I’ll give cinnamon another go and see if that’s the case.

            Thank you for your suggestions in troubleshooting.

          • Looks like the bug concerning wallpaper change and DE freeze have been corrected with Cinnamon 2.2. Four solid days now of wallpaper changing every minute and narry a freeze.

            All is right in the world again :)

      • To update the thread:

        At the terminal (linuxmint 17 lts 64-bit cinnamon) I entered
        sudo apt-get update
        sudo apt-get upgrade

        It took quite a while to download everything, but afterwards Variety and other buggy applications started to work normally.

        I’m going to report this on the linux mint forum.

        Thanks your help, and for a great program!


  38. How to change Clock Time Format From 24 Hours To 12 Hours (AM/PM)

  39. Inspired by the Guardian’s short “In Praise Of…” articles in their “Comment Is Free” section (e.g., I decided to try something similar on the website for which I currently write. I am afraid you are the guinea-pig for my attempts. Please see:

    “In Praise Of… Variety”

    I hope you approve.

    Martin Ward
    Minehead, UK

  40. Yes, I realised that that was probably the case, which is why I was relatively cautious, I think, in ascribing credit. So “Trilby Girl” isn’t yours – pity, I was rather hoping for an introduction…

  41. Is there a way to change the backgrounds every one or two seconds or so?

  42. Timed wallpaper change: Preferences > General tab
    Click 2nd checkbox: “Change wallpaper every [____]
    and select from the list box. {days, hours, minutes, SECONDS}

  43. Just stsrted using Variety and love it.

    Have clock displayed on Desktop but want to change display from Day – Month – Date to Day – Date – Month. Is this possible, please?

  44. Hi I have been using variety for a while now and I think it’s a great program. I recently upgraded Ubuntu to 14.04, I reinstalled variety, and it works well. I cannot seem to find the reason that it is blowing up my photos, showing just a portion of the photo as a very large image. I would like to restore the program to just showing pictures at normal full size. Can you provide any way to change this. I would like to show the clock too but the date format is wrong it shows month day year, I think the Americans use that format. I prefer the logical format of day month year, that we use in Australia. Best regards, great work, thanks a lot.

  45. Hi! I love Variety but now I am unable to use https links when using flickr. I am using 0.4.20 version.

    Is there any fix?


  46. Variety rocks. Period. Using 4.20 on Pinguy and it’s tres slick. Currently using it with two monitors, duplicating the image on each with minor cropping, which is fine.

    But I think I just caught a weirdness. Every so often when I unlock the box, the left/right monitors have switched. And some of the windows just bork, mainly terminal. When you close a terminal it leaves behind a black white space. Some windows a ghosts – the image is there, but you can’t touch them.

    I’ve put it down to nvidia generally, but just now it happened while I was on the box working, for the first time. I saw the backgrounds start to change, then poof, the screens swapped. It might be coincidence that the swapping bug happened right when Variety was updating the backgrounds …

    Anywhere I can look ? Anything to check ?

    Specifically, left is a Viewsonic VA2223wm (1920×1080) and right is a Dell 2405fpw (1920×1200) being driven by a GeForce 9500GT.

    • Since you’re the first to report such behavior I’d guess there is something borked in your setup that shows itself just under specific load which changing the wallpaper might provide.

      Generally, Variety calls your desktop env.’s command for changing the wallpaper and leaves it to the underlying systems to do the rest. The script for changing the wallpaper is at ~/.config/variety/scripts/set_wallpaper. It accepts a path to an image file. You might try putting it to some load – create a script that calls it many times in a short period. This will show if this is the underlying reason for the problem. If the problem appears this way, you may try commenting out everything in this script except for the lines relevant to your DE and check again.

  47. Thanks for writing this! I had trouble with Wallch crashing, and others I tried didn’t seem to work with Ubuntu/Unity 14.04. So far, this does what I want.

  48. Hi,
    Is it possible to use a tumblr link with variety ? thx

  49. Nice job !

    I just spent an hour trying to get wallch (another wallpaper changer) working reliably and consistently and the. finally gave up.

    Just found your app and it’s been solid so far. survived a reboot, suspend, resume and continues to work fine..


  50. I have installed variety wallpaper changer on opensuse 13.1 but I can’t understand the internals.

    I want to use variety on the desktops like GNOME, KDE, xfce and lxde, mate, cinnamon.

    When I have tried variety on GNOME, KDE it sometimes it works and at sometimes not.

    Can you please suggest how to use variety on the desktops.

  51. Nice work….. Thanks for the great app….

    I’m using variety in Ubuntu 14.04 with GNOME shell..I have some confusion with manual change of wallpaper/quote… Correct me if i’m using the nice work wrongly…

    The notification Icon/bar can be used to change manually only when the notification is turned ON. Is there any option to make the bar visible without notifications..? I have another problem that sometimes the change only visible in the desktops’ thumbnail at right side of the screen and the wallpaper and quote remains the same. Please help… Where can I find the keyboard shortcut manual..?

  52. Great program, I love it!

    Have a little bug though on two computers running KDE: the workaround image file gets destroyed on startup. When I set “change image on startup” it gets updated soon after. But I would like the program to change the wallpaper only every 5 days or so. Could you please fix that? Thank you in advance!

    • If you want it changed every 5 days you should not check “change on startup”. What happens if you uncheck it and set the change interval to 5 days? Which file gets destroyed?

      • Thank you for the reply, that was quick!

        On startup the old walpaper shows buth when variety starts, the picture /home/~/Pictures/variety-wallpaper/wallpaper-kde.jpg gets destroyed and I get a black “wallpaper”. This happens every time I start variety on both my computers. Setting the next one works though.

        Opening the file with Gwenview gives the message “Loading wallpaper-kde.jpg failed; Loading meta information failed”. Gimp also can’t handle it.

        Because the file only has 525 B I opened it with an editor, It contains of:



        I started with variety 0.17, now I have the current version 0.20 from the repository. You have done some major bug solving since then, I am really enyoing it!


      • sorry, my last reply failed. The file contains a lot of xml tags which somehow got deleted. Tag names: background; static; duration 8640000.0; file; size …;

  53. I’m using this with a minimal arch install (X+i3+some utilities). I uncommented the ” feh” part of the wallpaper changer and it works without a hitch.
    However, I can’t change options through the GUI. It’s no big deal, as I am able to change them by editing the preferences files manually, but it’s a bit of a bother.
    What’s happening is that when I check an option, the check mark appears for a split second then disappears again, so I can’t know what state my options are at. Do you have any idea why this is happening and what I could do to fix it?
    If not, as I said, it’s no biggie…Variety is a great piece of software anyway :)
    Keep up the good work!

    • You’re the first to report something like this. Please report a new bug in and attach a log file after running with ‘-v’, as per the instructions on the report page. We’ll go on from there. If we’re lucky, the error will be visible from the log file. If not, bad, but we’ll do something :-)

    • I’m also using arch linux. I’ve no problem at all with variety. I use it under KDE and Mate. Did you install some system lib using the AUR system (yaourt)? I used to install developer releases (git and hg versions in AUR) when I started using Arch thinking that the new is the better, but they could make your system unstable if you don’t know what you’re doing. Now I look carefully at the dependencies when installing software from AUR avoiding all those which implies replacement of packages from ALPM (pacman). Sometimes there’s no escape and you’re forced but I keep track of all the changes and I know how to downgrade a package. We learn from our mistakes. 😀

  54. Any chance to try the beta on ArchLinux?

    • If you have all the dependencies, you should have no problem running the Beta from source – instructions are the same as those on “How to install”, just the BZR branch is “lp:~peterlevi/variety/variety-smart” instead of “lp:variety”.

  55. Variety doesn’t seem to work at all in KDE 5 — I can set the background to the ‘wallpaper-kde.jpg’ image in Desktop Settings, but KDE doesn’t auto-update the image. Also, I can’t add the ‘variety-wallpaper’ folder as a slideshow. Plasma 5 thinks it’s looking for a FILE, and won’t let me select a folder to add to the list.

  56. Dude, this is an awesome piece of software!
    But am I a little confused with adding an RSS imgae source: Is ther no way to add the National Geopgraphic
    or this one to the sources?

  57. The URL
    updates the .jpg file on server every 15 minutes.
    Right now I am using a very small custom script to fetch every 15 minutes the new image and overwrite the previous.
    I would like to use Variety to do this and be able to alternate different sources.
    Is this difficult to be done in Variety?

  58. ! Looks like my message lost. (wrong email, waiting moderation?) Let’s try again.

    I would like to use as a source. This URL updates the .jpg every 15 minutes.
    Now I am using a custom script to fetch and set the image as background but I would like to use Variety just to alternate sources.
    Is this difficult to be implemented?

    • Variety does not support custom sources for now. But you can have an external cron job to update a static file from this URL (using curl or wget) and include this static file path as an Image source in Variety, along with other sources.

  59. it wont let me add another flickr source it says: Exception while checking user. Please run with -v and check log

  60. Hello, Peter… I’m not English speaker native, but Spanish, so please forgive my English… True lovely job… I’d like to donate, but Goverment restrictions in Venezuela don’t allow me to do so… Any way, I enjoy gratefully this Variety wallpaper changer, as far as I have over 4.000 images… As a new Linux operator (Lubuntu 14.10 in Acer Aspire One D55E notebook), coming from Windows, I miss from Windows wallpaper changers the hability to put the names of the images on desktop… For example, while writing this, my desktop is showing “Matisse, Henri. Odalisca de pie reflejada en el espejo. 1923”; I’d like that line in my desktop… Could that be possible? Thank you very much for making better my computing days… From Caracas, Pablo J….

  61. hey
    i’m using version 0.4.17. i want to display quotes on desktop via a local text file. So, i put my text file in
    /home/kashish/.config/variety/pluginconfig/quotes/.txt in this format

    quote — author
    secondquote –another author

    but i cant get the quotes in the text file on my desktop. What wrong am i doing?

    • I have the same problem as kashish, Variety doesn’t display local quotes… only some random quotes from the internet. I have not enabled any other sources for quotes other than “Local text files”. Using Ubuntu 14.04. with Variety 0.4.20.

    • You seem to be doing everything correctly, except that you are using an old version of Variety. You might be hitting some old bug, like Please upgrade to 0.4.20 – please note that unsupported versions of Ubuntu (12.10, 13.04, 13.10) are not getting updates from the PPA automatically, you will have to install the latest deb manually.

      The other thing I notice – use double dash to separate the quote and the author “–“, not just “-“.

      • Thank you for your quick reply

        I just updated to version 0.4.20 . And I am using — double dash before author.
        Even then i cant get quotes in the text file on my desktop. Please help.

        • You have turned off the other quote sources, left just local quotes enabled, right? Name the quotes file myquotes.txt (or whatever normal filename you choose, just make it with txt extension) and put it in the folder “/home/kashish/.config/variety/pluginconfig/quotes/” – is it this way now?

          • Yes, I have turned off all other sources except local quotes.
            My text file is named quotes.txt and is placed in

            and i am using ubuntu 14.04 lts 64 bit.

  62. Mail me this file please at peterlevi at Also please run Variety with -v and mail me the log file as well (~/.config/variety/variety.log). Thanks.

    • hey ,

      i just watched my log file and saw this

      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:44,724: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘swami vivekananda’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:46,727: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘socrates’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:48,729: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘buddha’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:50,732: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘buddha’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:52,735: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘sai baba’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:54,737: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘aesop’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:56,739: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘darren hardy’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:15:58,742: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘buddha’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:16:00,745: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘jim rohn’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:16:02,747: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘swami vivekananda’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:16:04,749: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘jim rohn’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:16:06,752: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘aesop’ for plugin Local text files’
      WARNING: 2014-12-21 15:16:08,754: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ‘aesop’ for plugin Local text files’

      The name of the authors mentioned above are the ones which i put in “show only these tags and authors” tab.
      when i removed those author names from the “authors” field . all the quotes become visible on my desktop.
      Thanks for the log idea and thanks for this beutiful software.

      the only problem left now is that i can see two dashes — between the quote and the author on my desktop which don’t look good.

  63. is no longer available. Can you add instead?

  64. First, I would like to congratulate the designers of this application, as it seems to work very well. I only have one complaint. Variety has started opening up a pop-up add every time I boot up my computer. I have my own way of getting the wallpaper I like, and I don’t really want to join the Variety community (no offense intended). I thought I solved the problem by opening Variety from the Applications menu, and un-checking the boxes that indicate any kind of desire to be a part of the community. I was actually thinking of donating a little, as I like the app, but now I’m feeling hounded. The pop-ups persist, and I don’t think anything proclaimed as “Free Software” should be hounding it’s users with annoying pop-ups. If there is a way to stop these pop-ups, please tell me what it is, because I can’t seem to locate the “off switch”. Thanks.

    • Hi Kirk, this is not intended behavior, you are hitting some bug. You were supposed to only get the invitation on the first run. Which popup is the one that appears when time you run it? Can you please report this at and attach there a screenshot (or description) of which dialog you see, and a log file – run Variety in a terminal with “/opt/ -v”, the log file will be located at ~/.config/variety/variety.log. Ideally, if you know how to record a screencast, it would be most helpful.

    • Actually I think I reproduced it – on the invitation screen you are probably clicking the “X” close button, right? Intsead please uncheck the “Participate” checkbox and click “Continue”, then you will not get this message any more.

  65. How do I add my own picture to the favorite in sync?

  66. How do I add my own picture to favorite with sync??

    • Do I understand your question correctly – you want to sync an image in your Favorites folder that has not come from Variety, but is your own image? You cannot. Variety’s sync feature works only for images downloaded by Variety itself. This is for privacy and copyright reasons, and Variety also needs to know where to download the image from.

      Please keep in mind Sync is not a Dropbox/Google Drive-replacement service. You can use one of these services for a more complete syncing solution.

  67. Thanks for you reply. I have taken a screenshot of the pop up, and along with the variety log have logged a bug report with Ubuntu One. Hope it helps. Thanks again.

  68. Ah! I didn’t see this message until I answered the first one. I’ll try to withdraw the bug report. Thanks.

  69. I’m trying to build version 0.5.0 from source on Manjaro Linux but I can’t seem to find any of the dependencies I need. What am I missing here?

  70. Ram slowly increased when the wallpaper changed in Elementary OS.

    • Please try this without using Variety, just by using the Appearance GUI, try changing the wallpaper 20-30 times. If RAM usage still increases, then the problem is outside of Variety and it needs to be reported elsewhere – this has been the usual case. If not, and Variety is the reason, please create a bugreport in Launchpad ( and we’ll continue there.

  71. Please introduce Windows version. Many thanks.

  72. Please introduce a paying Windows 8.1 desktop application. Many thanks.

  73. How does Variety select the wallpapers? Randomly, or in order? If in order, how is it ordered? alpha? Date?

    I would like it if there were some click-setup in Preferences to set the order. I prefer in order by filename, case-insensitive. This is because I have nearly 900 photos in my “wallpapers” directory, all of which are landscapes or cityscapes. All of the pictures of, say, San Francisco (where i used to live, so these are nostalgic for me) start with “SF”. California scenes start with “calif”, etc. That’s why I would like the pictures to be in order. So I could select a starting point and for the next few hours see all the pics in the selected locale.

    (I don’t download from wallpaper sites. Scenes I like, I like to look at again, so I pick what I’ll view on the desktop background. )



  74. An option to take next wallpaper using terminal would be great :)

  75. As quotes – Local text files won’t work. I have writen something in txt file and have put in a pluginsconf/quotes and nothing.

    • I’m experiencing the same problem. The log shows the following:

      INFO: 2015-05-18 00:36:28,954: prepare_thread() ‘Quotes prepared buffer contains 0 quotes, fetching a quote’
      WARNING: 2015-05-18 00:36:28,955: get_one_quote() ‘No quotes for ” for plugin Local text files’

      I only have the one quote plugin active (local text files) and I think I’m running 0.5.2

      Any thoughts? I didn’t see a bug in launchpad for it.

  76. If anyone’s interested, a nice feed that will feed you images that are selected by Google for their chromecast backdrop. you can find all info on this website:

  77. I’m really impressed with the recent updates to variety and pretty happy with it for the most part.

    …erm, I wasn’t sure exactly how to react a few seconds ago when my background changed to softcore batman porn (you can’t make this stuff up), buuuuut for now I guess I’ll just remember not to install this on a work computer!

    • I’m working on the porn-moderation procedures on VRTY.ORG, but it will take some time, on work computers you can disable the Latest and Recommended sources and you should be fine.

  78. Nice app, runs nice and smothly

  79. Nice application, runs nice and smothly. I did not find the .deb package, but i managed to run Variety on Kali.
    Step 1. Download the source code = > go to folder
    Step 2. tar xf archive.tar.gz
    Step3. Download the libfiles
    Step4: Go to variety folder => cd /variety/
    Step5: write bin/variety -v

    Then it started, but how do I get it to run as a application on my OS?
    I always have to start the program from the terminal

    Best regards: kalin00b

  80. Great Application! Keep up the good work : )

  81. Your application is really good. Thanks.

  82. Can I use my own credentials from to download pictures from my favorites?

  83. hi Peter
    Thank you for this nice software.
    “Light” indicator icon doesn’t show up on my title bar. All other indicator icons (Dark, Use current wallpaper, None) are working well though. How can i fix that ? Thank you.

    • Please report it as a bug in Launchpad and follow the instructions there on how to include OS info, log file, etc.

  84. Hi,

    I just installed Makulu 7.1 on a small Acer laptop. I enjoy Variety but cannot register. Here is the message I get:
    Error: 404 Not Found

    Sorry, the requested URL ‘’ caused an error:

    Good luck,

  85. I’ve just installed Variety for the first time.

    This is really a trivial point – my version tells me that version 0.5 has been released. I guessed that I would have been installing the latest version and when I checked I found I have 0.5.3. I suppose that is a small slip in the coding.

    Anyway, I came back to the website and don’t see how to update. I am assuming that the normal updates for Ubuntu Unity will kick in because the install procedure involved registering the repository.

    • Yes, if you installed via the PPA, you should get the updates automatically via Ubuntu’s software update mechanisms.

  86. Oh – and I’m trying to find my way about in all these myriads of features. Nice software!

  87. Hi

    I just upgraded my system to Ubuntu 15.04. The problem I am having is that now Variety does not change the wall papers. If I lock the system I can see a new wallpaper but it does not change it on the desktop. I have the Quote’s enabled as well but can not change them either they stay the same at startup. I get a new Quote and image for wallpaper after any reboot but the image does not change. If I click on next image nothing happens.

    • I also notice that the clock does not change either it is still at the login time

    • What happens if you try to change the wallpaper from Ubuntu’s Appearance settings? Does it work?

      • It does not change. Looks like something is stuck in the process.

        • Please disable Variety’s “start with the computer” option, restart and try again. If it still does not work, then the problem is completely outside of Variety and I can’t help. My own experience with Ubuntu upgrades is that they are generally buggy and often result in problems like this, that’s why I personally prefer to always install Ubuntu clean, only LTS releases (so I don’t have to do it too often).

  88. I can’t find an option to resample images to fit the screen in the latest version (0.5.3). It forces the images to fill the screen, and crops portrait images badly on widescreen displays.

  89. variety works fine on LXQt as well. All you have to do is adding an entry to the script ~/.config/variety/scripts/set_wallpaper

    # LXQT/PCmanFM-Qt
    if [ “$XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP” == “LXQt” ]; then
    pcmanfm-qt –set-wallpaper “$WP” 2> /dev/null

    (shamelessly copypasted and adapted from the LXDE entry).

  90. Hi Peter, great work…
    I am not sure if it is a bug or a misconfiguration on my part..

    1 – the background is set “change wallpaper every (10min)” and the quote is set “change quote every (20min)”
    as you see they are not set to the same value, yet the quote change on the wallpaper set value (every 10min)

    the opposite does not happen…”change wallpaper every (20min)” and “change quote every (10min)”
    both follow their set value.

    2 – when I put the computer on suspend and and wake it up, I end up on the login screen but the clock still show the time and date when I put the computer on suspend…
    is this a normal behavior ?


    • 1. Yes, when you use quotes, the quote always changes when you change the wallpaper. The regular change interval option for quotes is targeted at users who want to have a static wallpaper with quotes – thus they can force the quote to change regularly even though the wallpaper stays the same.

      2. Normal. Clock is drawn on the wallpaper and Variety does not change the wallpaper while in suspend, so the clock stays the same.

  91. 2- Is there a way not to let variety save the wallpaper with the clock drawn so when it reboot
    the wallpaper will be without the clock..

    IMHO I find, it is not a neat way to display the login page with the wrong date and time…
    maybe a possible solution is that before going to (sleep / rebooting) to not let variety save the wallpaper with the clock drawn…
    just to save the wallpaper by itself….
    and after the user login, the clock start to be drawn with the quote..

  92. I have grown accustomed to having different wallpapers on my Windows and OS X desktops and I have always found it strange that most desktop environments in Linux struggle with this simple capability. Compiz’ Wallpaper plugin doesn’t work because it doesn’t redraw the backgrounds so the desktop icons are missing. I decided to take advantage of Peter’s scripting in Variety along with the Ubuntu WallPaperSwitcher to cobble something together that almost does what the other environments have.

    I wrote a simple script for set_wallpaper that checks for the Unity desktop environment (it would probably work for Gnome 3 too). If so then I look to see if the Ubuntu WallPaperSwitcher script is running. If that condition is true then I look for the workspace number and see if I should change the wallpaper or not. I put in a condition that allows for static wallpapers on certain workspaces. If the wallpaper is not static then it sets it; otherwise, it leaves it alone. If you manually set the wallpaper through Variety then it will change on the next scheduled change if you are on that workspace. Wallpapers only change if not static when you are on that workspace. It does not change wallpapers for non-active workspaces. If Ubuntu WallPaperSwitcher is not running then the wallpaper is changed in the normal fashion.

    I hacked this script together in an hour or so. I don’t write many shell scripts these days so it may be a bit crude but it works. If people are interested, I could post the code. I do enjoy having different wallpapers on workspaces but Ubuntu WallPaperSwitcher takes a second or two to catch the switch. It’s something.

  93. Hi,
    Does this work on the mate desktop??


  94. Hi, thanks for developing variety! It would be really great if you could add to the possible sources! Best wishes jw

  95. I love this program. Its is really good. I also love the quotes. Sometimes it seams that the quote and the image go together.

    I got a little problem from the last kernel ubuntu update (I got 3.16.0-45-generic #60~14.04.1-Ubuntu), and is that
    the image and the quote disappears for some minutes then I don’t know how the Variety appears again.

    What did I do wrong? (The same problem with my laptop too)

    • When they disappear and you choose Variety -> Image -> Next, does it reappear?
      Is the interval the screen stays blank the same as the interval at which Variety is set to change wallpapers?

  96. For Your Information,

    Variety works great on Moksha Desktop in Bodhi Linux. :)


    It very easy to create Moksha Desktop support by “adding OR lines” to enlightenment sets, or just copy it,

    please officially support it on subsequent release. :)

  97. Would it be possible to have an option for with or without pictures of pretty girls in various poses, for those users who might not appreciate or want such pictures on their computer?

    • This is something I am working on, but it will not be ready soon, it is a big and complex issue. Detecting porn or racy images is hard.

  98. Hi

    I have installed Variety from the PPA, version 0.5.4 on Kubuntu 15.04.
    It was my understanding that for KDE Plasma 5 the program would generate 2 images under
    ~/Pictures/variety-wallpaper, or at least change the filename. However I only have “wallpaper-kde.jpg”, and as a consequence Plasma doesn’t update the wallpaper.

    Am I missing something?

    • You have probably modified ~/.config/variety/scripts/set_wallpaper. Please rename or delete it so Variety can use the latest default version, restart Variety, and try again.

      • Thank you for the quick reply.
        I did not modify the script, it’s the first time I try variety.
        I tried to delete the script, and also the whole ~/.config/variety folder, but this didn’t solve the problem.

        • Damn, my mistake. I have actually failed to commit this particular change so it has not made it into the release. I will make a new release tomorrow with the fix.

          That’s why I hate working with VMs… I had tested the changed script in a Kubuntu VM, but I have somehow failed to transfer it properly from the VM to the main code tree…

          Thanks for bringing this up.

        • Please upgrade and try again. I released a new version with the fix.

  99. Hi,
    Great job Peter Levi. Really it is a very nice app. I am using Ubuntu since 2010 but last time I knew Variety from searching the Web and found “Top 10 things to do after installing Ubuntu”, they highly recommend to use Variety and they were right, it’s a wonderful job.


  100. Something seems to be wrong with the way KDE’s Plasma Shell is loading some wallpaper pictures. The desktop wallpaper is at times inconsistent with Variety’s selected wallpaper. When I attempt to open the picture from the Variety context menu, Gwenview, the default KDE image viewer, says “Loading image failed”, and KDE Plasma Shell seems to echo that behavior.

  101. A small suggestion: apparently you are using kfmclient to move images to trash in kde;
    this doesn’t work in kde5 and I think it doesn’t in kde4 either.
    Some commands were moved from kfmclient to kioclient, including ‘move’, so you should use the latter.

  102. Hey,

    Making a feature request! Sometimes variety will cycle through the same set of images before picking new ones. Is there any way to easily store the ids of the last few to discourage the use of repeated wallpapers when more are available? maybe as an option?

    • Well, the logic for this needs to handle lots of different cases – very few wallpapers in the folders, huge number of wallpapers in the folders, few pictures among many non-image files, filtering by different criteria, prioritizing new downloads coming in, etc. And it tries to be simple and not build and keep up-to-date a DB of the files, as this would be quite a complication. As a result, it does not work perfectly in all cases. But it does the job well-enough and is not something I would like to revisit at the moment. It works well if you already have 50+ wallpapers or if you have downloading enabled at a period not substantially longer than the wallpaper change interval, and this is also the common case. If you are just starting with Variety from an empty state, it will take some time to download some stuff, that’s a result of throttling the download rate (necessary for multiple reasons) rather than bad logic for rotating the existing stuff.

  103. Hi,

    first congrats and thx to that great application. Happy to see that 0.5.5 solves the KDE5 issue finally.

    However, I still have a problem with KDE5 (background and gwenview) not showing many wallpapers, especially from Wallhaven. Most of the times it helps to open the picture in another viewer and save it, even without change. Sometimes it helps to assign an EXIF Rating in Variety.

    Guys at Manjaro suspect that the reason is that Variety saves some pics with XMP data, which isnt supported by QT5.5 anymore.

    You’ve heard of that prob before?
    If you dont want to get rid of XMP, could you maybe make it optional? So KDE5/QT5.5 user can switch if off.

    Many thx for your great work.

  104. sorry, but I don’t find a right dependences to install on Gentoo or from source code appropriated

  105. Please add network and proxy setting in program settings.

  106. Hi,

    The app is amazing !! Only have a problem with the random of images. Variety repeat the same circle of images :( … I have lot of folders and these has a lot of images. How I can fix this problem? Thanks a lot.

    • Check the “Color and size” options and make sure you are not filtering out most of the images due to some setting there.
      Normally Variety will find all images in the folders you have added, including subfolders. The most common image formats are supported, not CR2, tiff, etc.

  107. Hey thanks for Variety in general and adding the Bing picture of day as a feed in preferences! Just noticed that.

  108. Nice program.

    Some of my pictures however appear unrotated, whereas the appear rotated in my other photo-applications.
    What am I doing wrong? Can it be solved?

    Some of my pictures have a nice composition. Variety shows a cropped version. I would prefer to see the complete picture with a frame around it if that is necessary for the aspect ratio. Is this possible?

    These two things would make the application very complete for my use.

    Kind regards,

    Joris Mourits

    • I am using Linux Mint Cinnamon, and in the “Backgrounds” setting for Picture aspect I have selected “Scaled”. At one time this didn’t work correctly because it would not stay selected, but works well now. The pictures keep their aspect ration and show black (or whatever color you choose) bars around it. The words used to describe these settings need better descriptions and/or help!

      I am having the same rotation issue you are and can’t find a solution. Pictures that rotate correctly in other viewers do not rotate in Variety. What am I doing wrong? Can it be solved?

      • I think I have a clue about why some pictures rotate correctly and some don’t.

        My old camera created Exif Version 2.20 information, and these rotate correctly.

        My new camera creates Exif Version 2.30 information, and these do not rotate correctly!

        Is there any way to make Variety work with either version?

  109. This is just awesome. I had an idea of how I wanted this to work, and this just passed it by far. I love the oil painting effect and the clock. WOW. Just one thing. You have a ‘select all button’ in resources but can you also make an ‘unselect all’ button when everything has been selected? If I made any sense.

  110. Hi Peter, first of all, thanks for this program, its just what I needed (a Muzei for Linux of sorts).
    I was wondering/hoping, could you help me with something: I can’t seem to configure Variety in such a way that it will only use the current Bing photo of the day. I can configure it to change wallpaper 1 time a day, and that it should only use Bing as a source, but then it just randomly uses Bing pictures, whereas I only want it to use the current Bing picture.
    If you (or another Variety user) knows a way to do this, I’d be very grateful.

    Thanks in advance,

    Is it possible to tell Variety to change the wallpaper on 06:00AM, or if its past that, as soon as the laptop is unsuspended?

  111. I wish there is a great wallpaper app like this on android

    • There is! it’s called Muzei. Muzei alone isn’t really that special, but the plugins for it (that you can find by searching for ‘Muzei’ in the Play Store) pretty much make it as powerful as Variety.

  112. Is there a way to get this to pull down anime related wallpapers as well?

  113. Hiii thanks a lot for this. It’s perfect 😉 I am working right now on windows 8.1 also and I am missing that a lot. A lot of good hd pictures 😀

  114. Hi. Congrats for the appl.
    Could you add this website on variety? There are lots of sci-fi, fiction, anime, robots, game, etc… cool wallpapers…
    Thx a lot…

  115. I love this app it was what I needed, but I have a problem, I ticked the quotes section twice and it crashed on me, no restart or logout did anything, it is still crashed even if I try to load it from the launcher. Ubuntu 14.04 if that helps. I would like to use it again, I have tried to remove the ppa and purge it but no luck, can you offer help or suggestion, Thanks in advance.

  116. I love this app it was what I needed, but I have a problem, I ticked the quotes section twice and it crashed on me, no restart or logout did anything, it is still crashed even if I try to load it from the launcher. Ubuntu 14.04 if that helps. I would like to use it again, I have tried to remove the ppa and purge it but no luck, can you offer help or suggestion, Thanks in advance. Mark.

    • It could be that the config file has been corrupted for some reason. You may clean Variety’s state by renaming or deleting ~/.config/variety. If you delete it, make sure to first save your Favorite pictures if you kept them there.

  117. Hi, I’d like to add a shortcut for the next and prev ,how can i do it?

  118. I really, really, really like it :)
    Sent a donation.
    Have a very happy holidays :)

  119. I love it! A great job!

    But I’m having a problem, I use it in my office and I cant have photo of half naked models appearing… I try ranking them with 1 star, rejecting them and then deleting but seems like the number of this kind of wallpapers is increasing…

    • You just have to not use the photo feeds that include such imagery, or add known good Flickr groups or other edited feeds – Bing photo of the day, NASA, etc.

      A filter for such “not always safe for work” wallpaper feeds would be nice though!

  120. Hi Peter, can you add Ubuntu Xenial Xerus to the PPA? Thanks!

    • I just copied it, it will be in the PPA in a couple of minutes. BUT I have not tested it on Xenial, so will be grateful for feedback whether everything runs OK there.

  121. Thanks! It installed fine and seems fully functional — I will let you know if I experience any issues.

  122. Hi Peter
    I like variety. I want to know if it’s possible to display info about image from Panoramio like in wally.
    Thx a lot…

  123. I was working with Manjaro Capella and variety worked fine. Recently change to Manjaro Deepin and can not find how to configure it. Any ideas?. Variety is certainly an excellent screen changer

  124. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this “must have” software.
    I used Webilder on Ubuntu for a long time and recently switched to Variety. Nice!!

    Just spotted this note on the Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Alpha article on OMG.

    “New recommended apps, including Redshift and Variety wallpaper slideshow”

    I have this working on Fedora 23 via RPMFind and also spotted it in the OpenSuse Tumbleweed repos but it didn’t work for me. Think it was missing some dependencies as it gave some python errors. Both of those in a Virtualbox. I’ll troubleshoot Suse when I get time.

  125. I need some help getting variety working with lightdm. I have variety copying the wallpapers to /usr/share/backgrounds/variety, and permissions are fine. But when I configure lightdm, the only option available is to choose a particular image for a background. The problem is that variety copies uniquely named images to the backgrounds folder. Each one has a different name, and they get deleted. I can’t point lightdm to just a folder and have it pick an image. Help.

  126. I really like Variety.
    I would like to add an effect with the exif date of my picture (if it exists)
    (I rotate my favorite pictures and from time to time we ask : where was that?)

    Anyway I am maybe the only one with such a request.

  127. I love Variety. Thank you Peter for a great product!

    I have one issue and one question:

    Issue: Some of my pictures appear unrotated, even though they appear rotated in my other photo-applications. What am I doing wrong? Can it be solved?

    Question: Is there documentation for creating a “Quote” text document. I would like to put an undisplayed comment with my quotes sometimes. I tried putting a “#” at the beginning of the comment line, but it displays.

    # Undisplayed comment
    Quote text — Author

  128. What can I do if Variety doesn’t change my login screen wallpaper?

    I use Ubuntu 15.04…

  129. Great product , everything working great until Mint 17.3 upgrade…it disabled a feature ie mouse scroll over icon ??
    Any way to fix ?

    Upgraded from Linux Mint 17.2 x64 to Linux Mint 17.3 x64, same Variety version (0.5.5). I can no longer scroll my mouse wheel on the Variety icon in the tray to change the wallpaper, however, the automatic wallpaper change still works, as does changing the wallpaper via clicking on the Variety icon and choosing previous/next.
    Version of Variety: 0.5.5
    Desktop Environment: Cinnamon 2.8.6
    Thanks T

    • This is a common question, I just created a FAQ for it, please read and give me feedback if it worked for you: I’ll have to try things myself when I have some time and see if it can be fixed in Variety or is an issue in Cinnamon.

    • Thanks , the setting was the issue , in system settings , general.. in mint 17.3 and not your program, others might not notice this after update of mint 17.x to 17.3 , good call on your part, again great product..t

  130. love it… (? ???) ???U?

  131. Hallo,

    I don’t like pictures of women.

    What can I do that those pictures don’t appear in variety?
    e.g. Which types do I have to deactivate?

    I prefer especially landscapes, also nature, trees, flowers, animals.

    best regards
    Mr. Preihs

  132. Any Idea why can’t I access via web browsers (Chrome, Mozilla)? And the Earth wallpaper is not changing.

  133. Hello!!

    Variety it’s an awesome utility I’ve been using it for a while in multiple computers and the addition of is just gorgeous!!

    But although all the included features there is one issue that annoys me: lack of multi monitor support. At least dual monitor with one wallpaper on each. I think it wouldn’t be so difficult in Ubuntu/Unity because it allows to span wallpaper across monitors. So by composing a big image width two (or more) backgrounds you may achieve it. I’m using in Windows 7 and it just does that.

    Would be possible to do such composing using Variety’s command line and/or scripting? Any clue?

    Will Variety support multiple wallpapers on each monitor in the future? My Windows desktop (using Variety’s wallpapers) looks prettier with dual wallpapers than my Ubuntu’s :-(

    Thank you very much!!

  134. Hello,
    I like pictures of woman, because of variety I discover sites like wallhaven, I’d like to set up variety to use NSFW from there (or any wallpaper website) but I can’t figure out how.

  135. Has someone ‘hacked’ Variety? I haven’t had access to the tray notifier for about a week (Linuxmint 17.3 Rosa Cinnamon) When I open ~/.config/variety/scripts/set_wallpaper with Gedit the text all appears in ‘Mandarin’ Chinese. Can post it on if anyway is interested?

    • No. But I don’t know how you installed it. The official PPA is safe.

      There are problems with python app indicators in Mint 17.3, read here for a workaround:,

      You are the second one reporting the Chinese text problem. Does it happen in other editors too or only Gedit? Can you attach the set_wallpaper file that is on your machine in a new bugreport, or send it to my email (peterlevi at peterlevi dot com), along with a screenshot of what you see in Gedit? Also please rename this file and restart Variety so it can replace it with the one bundled with it. Any changes?

  136. It’s a problem with gedit, use leafpad instead (or nano).

  137. variety suddenly stopped showing the indicator icon in linuxmint 17 32-bit

    variety -v yields:

    INFO: 2016-03-12 20:20:08,609: set_from_theme_icon() ‘Showing indicator icon variety-indicator from GTK theme’

    I tried reinstalling variety, changing the theme, but still no go. Rebooted machine, logged out, restarted cinnamon, but nothing helps: the tray icon is missing. How do I get it back?

  138. This rss are not working..

    Popular –
    Upcoming –
    Fresh –
    Editors’ Choice –

  139. I really like it.
    I am a woman coder and i don’t WANT pictures of pretty ladies on my desktop. AT WORK.
    Yes, they ARE pretty, and nice photography etc; but there does not seem to be a way to filter out just those without losing all the nice wallhaven nature photos.

    Would EXIF tag filtering help?

    Thank you for the otherwise lovely application.

    • Yes, I wish there were better filters, my solution is to just be happy with Bing and NASA photos selected. I have looked for appropriate Flickr feeds as well, but have had mixed results.

      Variety is excellent overall though!

    • Variety does not implement image-feature-based filtering, for one major reason – it is hard to get right and I haven’t had the time to research and do it.

      All of the default sources have been setup to fetch maximally safe content from the respective sites, but even with these settings some of the sources are more prone to contain some mildly racy content. For example “autumn” fetches mostly autumn images but there are also some girls named Autumn that fit into this search…

      Basically in situations where racy content might be a problem, it is good to curate the image sources manually and leave only those that look safe to you. Bing, Unsplash, NASA, are all safe sources, some of the Wallhaven searches – too. There are also some image subreddits that are safe, for example those from the so-called SFWPORN network in Reddit – e.g.…. Yes, this link is fully SFW.

      Here is a suggestion – add some custom sources, enable all of the default ones, turn off the download limit, reduce the download interval to 1 minute, leave Variety run overnight. On the next morning visually inspect which of those image sources fit your criteria and leave them, remove the rest.

  140. Hi Peter, I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this.

    Is there really still no way to support multi-monitor setups in 15.10+? Admittedly I haven’t looked at 16.04 yet (downloading beta 2 now) but I can’t believe Unity doesn’t support such a basic feature. Then again, they also didn’t officially support moving the launcher until 16.04…

    Could you maybe take a look at a future implementation? I don’t want span support like so many others before (read through comments starting in 2013), just two different ones on each monitor.


    • No, GNOME and Unity still do not support different wallpaper per monitor / workspace. You could get this before via a plugin for Compiz, not sure if this method still works. In any case Variety cannot depend on the user installing and configuring this plugin.

      For the time being there is no sensible way to support this in Variety with the lacking support from the desktop environment.

      • Thanks for replying! It’s amusing how customisable Linux is seen as being, and yet, so many distros and desktop environments lack features that have been a part of Windows for almost a decade if not more (didn’t have a multi-monitor setup before Win 7 so not sure on that front).

        So far the only one I’ve seen with native support for that is KDE, but it’s almost too complicated (each monitor has its own individual settings) and there are some major problems with things like screen tearing that prevent me from using it.

  141. I’ve installed Windows 10 Insider Preview build 14316 which supports running an Ubuntu subsystem, and so I thought I’d try installing Variety in this environment. The program appears to install successfully, but upon running the executable, I get all of this mess:

    error: XDG_RUNTIME_DIR not set in the environment.
    error: XDG_RUNTIME_DIR not set in the environment.
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “/usr/bin/variety”, line 39, in
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/variety/”, line 193, in main
    bus = dbus.SessionBus()
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/”, line 211, in __new__
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/”, line 100, in __new__
    bus = BusConnection.__new__(subclass, bus_type, mainloop=mainloop)
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/”, line 122, in __new__
    bus = cls._new_for_bus(address_or_type, mainloop=mainloop)
    dbus.exceptions.DBusException: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NotSupported: Unable to autolaunch a dbus-daemon without a $DISPLAY for X11

    So, simply enough, I set the DISPLAY environment variable to :0.0 and tried running Variety again, but it fails again, saying:

    ** (variety:5891): WARNING **: Could not open X display
    error: XDG_RUNTIME_DIR not set in the environment.
    error: XDG_RUNTIME_DIR not set in the environment.
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “/usr/bin/variety”, line 39, in
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/variety/”, line 193, in main
    bus = dbus.SessionBus()
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/”, line 211, in __new__
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/”, line 100, in __new__
    bus = BusConnection.__new__(subclass, bus_type, mainloop=mainloop)
    File “/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/”, line 122, in __new__
    bus = cls._new_for_bus(address_or_type, mainloop=mainloop)
    dbus.exceptions.DBusException: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.Spawn.ExecFailed: //bin/dbus-launch terminated abnormally without any error message

    Since this is a new Windows 10 build, I’m not sure there’s a fix for all of this right about now, but I would appreciate it if you guys would keep me posted.

  142. There is no graphical subsystem in the Win10 bash environment. From

    “Don’t expect a graphical Linux desktop, either. “We are also only working on command line,” says Microsoft’s Russ Alexander in a video. “This is all about the developer.””

  143. Is there a way to have the images dissolve from one to another? I seem to recall this was a feature in an earlier version though I may be mistaken. A hard change is very disturbing when you see the desktop snap to a new photo behind the window you are working in.

    What would be nice is to have an effect where the duration of the dissolve can be changed within some set parameters of seconds.

    Great software, by the way!

  144. Hi, I really love this software, thank you! :)
    I’m having some trouble adding some flickr users and group such as:
    It says : “No images found”
    Where is the problem?

  145. best application i ever used, hope it always maintain and upgrade

  146. Peter, congratulations for your idea, I’m an enthusiastic user of User varitey since the begining.
    But I’ve had a problem when update my ubuntu to 16.04.
    When I execute varitey it doesn’t run, in the log there are two errors :

    ERROR: 2016-05-06 09:54:03,688: set_up_logging() ‘Could not create file logger’
    IOError: [Errno 13] Spermission denied: u’/home/sergi/.config/variety/variety_latest_default.conf’

    where i’ve to report this problem ?

    Thank you

    • Most probably it is what it says – the permissions of Variety’s config folder are borked and Variety cannot read or write there. Fix them, your user must have permissions over everything in your ~/.config/ folder.

  147. Hi, Peter. Dont working downloading images with wallhaven site. Thank you!

  148. Hi Peter, thanks for a fantastic piece of software! Just to tell you, as others have, that the site is not working anymore, so Variety is kind of crippled as of now. regards,

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