An EarthDesk-alike using XPlanet
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"PlanetDesk" - an EarthDesk-alike using XPlanet

EarthDesk is a program which displays a dynamically-updated view of the Earth 
(or some portion of it) on your desktop, if you happen to be running Mac OS X 
or Windows.  I am no longer a Mac user, so this is a collection of scripts 
which does more or less the same thing on Linux using XPlanet.

This script assumes you use GNOME.  If you use KDE, may be of 
some help.

To install:

1.  Install XPlanet, eg. by typing `apt-get install xplanet`.
2.  Get this code.  `git clone git://` is 
3.  cd into the code directory and run `./`, or open it in your 
    favorite text-editor and run the commands by hand in a separate terminal.
4.  Go to and pay the nice man for
    his Earth textures.  (Or really any of the planets, as you like, but you'll 
    have to write your own XPlanet configuration file for the others.  If you
    do, mail it to me at and I'll include it here.
    Surely you want to know the time at Cydonia on Mars!)
5.  Download the files earthmap10k.jpg, earthbump10k.jpg, earthspec10k.jpg, 
    and earthlights10k.jpg and put them in ~/.xplanet/images.
6.  Run ~/bin/ -- your desktop background should
7.  Fiddle with the environment variables in 
    until they're set to your liking.
8.  Install the following line in your crontab (`crontab -e` to get started):
      2,17,32,47 * * * * $HOME/bin/ 2>&1 > /dev/null
    This will update your desktop with a new world image every 15 minutes.

Thanks to James Hastings-Trews for his excellent textures, Michal Pasternak for
his script, the XPlanet Developers, random blog posts and 
pages on the Internet for help configuring XPlanet, ...

Things this doesn't do which EarthDesk does:  moon shine, seasonal variation 
(vegetation, snow cover), ...

Questions, comments, concerns, queries, quibbles, or patches (we love patches)?
E-mail them to me at

Everything in this distribution is in the public domain, except where noted