News about Variety Wallpaper Changer

Variety 0.4.13 released


Variety 0.4.13 was released yesterday. This release focuses predominantly on fixing bugs and polishing some rough edges, so there are relatively few changes visible on the surface. This version is a highly recommended upgrade.

Many bugs fixed

Several potential freezing situation addressed, some issues with the thumbnails bar fixed, some edge cases which prevented proper startup addressed, some issues on XFCE and KDE resolved, etc. etc.

First translations added

This is the first release to include some of the user-contributed translations from Launchpad, specifically Spanish, Russian and Bulgarian. A big “Thank you!” to all the translators who contributed, and I hope more people will join the translation efforts so that future releases ship with more languages included. To run Variety in one of these three languages either set your Ubuntu language preferences globally (a restart might be needed), or launch using a similar command:

LANGUAGE=ru /opt/

Better Remove functionality

In Variety 0.4.12 it was quite easy to remove an image source by mistake with no easy way to get it back. I personally made this mistake several times. Removing a source now shows a popup menu which offers two options: to remove the source, or to remove both the source and the downloaded images. This also makes it much harder to remove sources by mistake.

Avoid “hammering” the servers

Variety is getting more popular and with more people using it, we are getting close to the Flickr API usage limits. We are also collectively putting a bit too much stress on the other wallpaper servers. There are changes in this release targeting this problem. Also the minimal interval between downloads was increased from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Better protection when changing the download location

Variety allows you to specify a custom download location, and also to set a limit for its size. Making a mistake with these two could mean you could lose files, so version 0.4.12 had a measure against this – when changing the download location, it disabled the limit. This was not enough, so now Variety has stronger measures against data loss – if you specify an existing folder, Variety would use a subfolder inside it instead of working directly with it.

Pressing Enter works in dialogs

Dialogs can now be much more easily operated with the keyboard only – pressing “Enter” in the dialog serves the same as clicking “OK”.

I wish you many pleasant moments with Variety,
Peter Levi


  1. There were subtle changes in Variety 0.4.13 except the download time is increased to minimum of 1 minute.
    We were expecting a new option in “Color and Size” tab in ‘Variety Preferences’ which would allow us to enter minimum and maximum of wallpapers size in KB or MB to download.
    I could not find any problem in Variety and it works great and it is the loveliest wallpaper changer I’ve ever used.

  2. just so you know, I got Variety featured on the Welcome message.

    You’re welcome. :)

  3. I have an idea to solve the server-hammering issue

    Have Variety send the requests through a caching proxy server, or a custom server which stores a couple thousand image files which are commonly downloaded

  4. One of the best programs for the wallpaper that I used.
    I have dual boot Win7 and Ubuntu.
    I’d like to use it also in Windows.
    Some chance for Windows?

    • Haha, I also dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu. But the answer is: not for now. It’s nearly impossible to monetize such an application on both Linux and Windows, but for Linux I have the desire to give something back to the community, which acts as a great motivator. This cannot motivate me to develop for Windows. Also Variety is my way of gently nudging people towards using a more open OS, a sort of response for all those great applications that are only available for Windows and OSX, but not for Linux. I do hope one day Linux will have a market share big enough that it will matter and all applications will have a Linux version too, and Variety is just this tiny contribution I can make towards such a situation.

      And, lack of time is another major reason, much more important than any political reasoning…

  5. Any chance for a Windows port in the future? I dual boot and honestly get so sad to not have Variety on my Windows side!

    If you ever decide to do a port and need help I’d gladly contribute!

  6. Hi,
    I have a problem with variety 0.4.13: i was discovering the clock & date on the desktop feature and I tried to modify the variety.conf after consulting the ImageMagick website.

    It didn’t change nothing (i wanted to change the color of the texts) but it did change the size of the desktop background, the width is like 80% of the screen with dark blue stripes on the sides.
    I tried to change so many settings (it’s been 2 days i’m struggling to install and configure linux on a new desktop… bit tired now 😉 ) in this variety.conf and nothing changed that I decided to apt-get remove –purge and reinstall. Didn’t change nothing.
    I tried to apt-get purge and reinstall, same stuff. I thought something changed somewhere else after all but when i reinstall Variety, the configuration is the same than before. Did I miss anything?

    Thanks for the help (I hope it’s the accurate place for this kind of message), i’d like to finish the installation and do something else of my life in the next times 😉

    PS: amzing stuff you did, thanks for that too!

    • Variety does not handle apt-get purge correctly at the moment, it leaves the configuration in ~/.config/variety. Whatever you’ve done – you can revert it by deleting the variety.conf file there, Variety will recreate it with the default. Or, if for some reason it still fails, try renaming or deleting the whole directory ~/.config/variety – this is what purge should be doing (but I haven’t got to this yet). But please remember to backup any valuable wallpaper images from the folder before you delete it.

      • I tried both but it didn’t work, I can see the variety config folder is deleted but when i install again, in the image folders to load i still have in the list the folders i loaded before uninstallation. The backgrounds still don’t fit the screen scale.

        Could it come from anything else than variety?

        • 1. Uninstall Variety
          2. Rename or delete /home/your_username/.config/variety. Make sure it is not there.
          3. Install the latest version of Variety from the ppa (0.4.13 is quite old now)
          4. Run it, it should at this moment show you the initial welcome screen. If it does, then the settings of Variety are cleaned OK – if your problem persists, it is caused by something else.

          The 80% width might be caused by the wallpaper mode setting in Ubuntu’s Appearance settings (tile, zoom, scale, etc.) – you probably want “Zoom” there, check it.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.