root window parameter setting utility for X
xsetroot [-help] [-version] [-def] [-display display] [-cursor cursor‐ file maskfile] [-cursor_name cursorfontname] [-xcf cursorfile cursor‐ size] [-bitmap filename | -mod x y | -gray | -grey | -solid color] [-bg color] [-fg color] [-rv] [-name string] [-d display]
The xsetroot program allows you to tailor the appearance of the back‐ ground ("root") window on a workstation display running X. Normally, you experiment with xsetroot until you find a personalized look that you like, then put the xsetroot command that produces it into your X startup file. If no options are specified, or if -def is specified, the window is reset to its default state. The -def option can be spec‐ ified along with other options and only the non-specified characteris‐ tics will be reset to the default state. Only one of the background color/tiling changing options (-solid, -gray, -grey, -bitmap, and -mod) may be specified at a time.
The various options are as follows: -help Print a usage message and exit. -version Print a version message and exit. -def, -default Reset unspecified attributes to the default values. (Restores the background to the familiar gray mesh and the cursor to the hollow x shape.) -cursor cursorfile maskfile This lets you change the pointer cursor to whatever you want when the pointer cursor is outside of any window. Cursor and mask files are bitmaps (little pictures), and can be made with the bitmap(1) program. You probably want the mask file to be all black until you get used to the way masks work. -cursor_name cursorfontname This lets you change the pointer cursor to one of the standard cursors from the cursor font. Refer to appendix B of the X pro‐ tocol for the names (except that the XC_ prefix is elided for this option). -xcf cursorfile cursorsize This lets you change the pointer cursor to one loaded from an Xcursor file as defined by libXcursor, at the specified size. -bitmap filename Use the bitmap specified in the file to set the window pattern. You can make your own bitmap files (little pictures) using the bitmap(1) program. The entire background will be made up of re‐ peated "tiles" of the bitmap. -mod x y This is used if you want a plaid-like grid pattern on your screen. x and y are integers ranging from 1 to 16. Try the different combinations. Zero and negative numbers are taken as 1. -gray, -grey Make the entire background gray (Easier on the eyes). -bg, -background color Use ``color'' as the background color. -fg, -foreground color Use ``color'' as the foreground color. Foreground and back‐ ground colors are meaningful only in combination with -cursor, -bitmap, or -mod. -rv, -reverse This exchanges the foreground and background colors. Normally the foreground color is black and the background color is white. -solid color This sets the background of the root window to the specified color. This option is only useful on color servers. -name string Set the name of the root window to ``string''. There is no de‐ fault value. Usually a name is assigned to a window so that the window manager can use a text representation when the window is iconified. This option is unused since you can't iconify the background. -d, -display display Specifies the server to connect to; see X(7).
Mark Lillibridge, MIT Project Athena