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Variety is a wallpaper manager for Linux systems. It supports out-of-the-box most Linux desktop environments, and can be configured to work on more esoteric ones.

It can use local images or automatically download wallpapers from Flickr, Wallhaven, Unsplash, Bing, Reddit and other 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.

Where supported, Variety sits as a tray icon to allow easy pausing and resuming. Otherwise, its desktop entry menu provides a similar set of options.


Screenshot from 2022-07-30 16-36-55


As a system package

Variety is available in the distro repositories of:

Detailed installation instructions can be found here.

On a recent Ubuntu or Debian-based system (Universe repository has to be enabled on Ubuntu):

sudo apt update && sudo apt install variety

Ubuntu PPA

Variety backports to older Ubuntu releases are available at this PPA: The PPA usually provides newer releases than the ones available in the Universe repository:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:variety/stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install variety

If you have added the PPA, you may also install Variety Slideshow – a pan and zoom image slideshow/screensaver, which is an nice optional addition and integrates well into Variety. It is not available in the standard Ubuntu Universe repository.

sudo apt install variety-slideshow

Install from source

To install Variety from source, you will need Git, Python 3.5+ and distutils-extra. To actually run Variety, you will also need the following:

Runtime Requirements

  • GTK+ 3
  • gexiv2
  • libnotify
  • Python 3 libraries:
    • BeautifulSoup4
    • lxml
    • Pycairo
    • PyGObject, built with Cairo integration
    • ConfigObj
    • Pillow
    • pkg_resources (from setuptools)
    • Requests
    • Optional: httplib2 (for more quotes sources)
  • Optional: imagemagick (for wallpaper filters)
  • Optional: feh or nitrogen: used by default to set wallpapers on i3, openbox, and other WMs
  • Optional: libayatana-indicator (for AppIndicator support)
  • Optional: for tray icon support on GNOME, the GNOME AppIndicator extension
  • Optional: libavif-gdk-pixbuf (for avif format support)

See debian/control for an equivalent list of runtime dependencies on Debian/Ubuntu.

Install steps

  1. Clone the git repository: git clone && cd variety

  2. Run python3 install. By default, this will install Variety into /usr/local; for a local installation, use python3 install --prefix $HOME/.local.

  3. Run variety from the command line or its desktop menu entry.


Regardless of how you install, you can launch Variety from the dash or applications menu, or by running variety in a terminal.

Run variety --help to see the command-line options. They allow you to control Variety from the terminal.