Screensaver showing random pics not from Pictures folder


Pictures screensaver is showing pictures from all over the home file system, instead of from the Pictures folder. Is there a way to return it to the old behavior?


Please don't forget Ubuntu-MATE 18.04 LTS is EOL

Refer Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS reaches end of life

You can use ubuntu-support-status to confirm which packages are still supported (patched for security fixes) on your system, and which are not.

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I still get updates regularly. It asked for a reboot a couple of days ago, so I guess system updates are still coming through.

I did not have a good experience upgrading from 16.04 to 18.04. I did not have a good experience with 18.04 and returned to Windows 7. This system now acts as file storage, file server and runs a Java cloud backup applet. I am going to run this 18.04 until my cloud service provider stops supporting it.

I can live without the screensaver, if I have to. I'm used to things breaking on UM desktop. I lived without cron when it developed a mysterious "permission denied" error out of the blue. I lived without my blockchain app when it broke for no apparent reason. I lived without my Bluetooth mouse when UM stopped keeping it connected. UM degrades over time, just like the old Windows used to do.

I see you work in "Quality Assurance" so I am passing the feedback on to you. Not once have I received an actual solution from anyone at this forum. Many lovely people, but no solutions. When things break, they stay broken----for several months after, I test to see if it's fixed, then I give up. I'm still testing the mouse periodically to see if the problem is fixed.

But, the slideshow screensaver breaking really takes the cake, I have to admit. :slightly_smiling_face: I have "quality assurance" from the file system, and the Samba server. They work reliably for me.

The updates you get are for your Ubuntu base; the pieces that are common with Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Cloud & Ubuntu Base products - ie. the parts with 5 years of security fixes & support.

You can use (as I suggested prior comment) the ubuntu-support-status to view the proportion of your actual installed system that is, and what proportion are now EOL and don't receive any security updates etc.

The release-upgrade process QA is done with no 3rd party packages, so for best results all 3rd party packages should be removed; the upgrade performed, then if needed, the 3rd party packages re-added. There are some 3rd party packages (eg. oibaf video drivers) that make upgrades near impossible.

I'm sorry you haven't got any "actual solution" from this forum, but it's somewhat hard given the small number of volunteers that hang around and try and help.

Problems need to be reported for them to be worked on, if bug reports aren't filed on the bug tracker, there is no chance for them to be fixed. Again there is the issue of limited volunteers so many bugs are fixed in the current development release, and not back-ported to the release in question where it was initially reported. Here I'm mainly speaking generally.

Me, specifically I'm with Ubuntu News, and usually associated with a different flavor, but all flavors are subsets of the larger Ubuntu family, ie. we all work together.

Ubuntu-MATE 18.04 reached EOL months ago as per my prior comment, so you're using it a base system that receives updates, but the program you're using is EOL and so won't. No one is monitoring those reactions which was warned with the EOL notice.

This is a good example of why I often felt that Linux acts as if I am its servant, not as if it is my servant. I no longer have the time nor the inclination to spend hours servicing Linux.

Oh, I understand completely. It is not my intention to blame anyone, only point out the limitations surrounding the open source desktop. The idea of community support sounds lovely in theory, but in practice the knowledge level needed to solve problems is not going to be hanging around the forum answering user questions. They have other work to do! I have encountered many nice people here. Some have tried patiently to help me. Their knowledge level was just not strong enough to solve anything. I very much appreciated the time and effort, and always thanked them nicely.

I am not a newbie, so I have already done a fair bit of troubleshooting before I post a topic here. I have tried, for example, to edit the Exec line of the screensaver with an explicit --location=~/Pictures but all that does is give me a blank screen! At least the default setting was showing me pictures, albeit many that are not intended for the slideshow. Why still call it 'Pictures folder' if the default setting has changed? Call it Pictures if it is going to show random pictures from all over the file system.

I have filed a number of them in the past. I always send error reports when I'm prompted. Again, there is only so much time and effort I'm willing to put into servicing my computer. I used to pay $50/year for a Linux desktop at one time. It was dreamy! Fast and stable. It never made a fuss, just worked hard for me. Alas, the company died. The project forked, and declined. I tried few other distros for a while, then returned to Windows. Then a few years ago I tried the 14.04 live CD, and left it running on a retired, old laptop. Ubuntu had taken the lead in desktops, and I wanted to see how it is.

Then I installed 16.04 on my main workstation, after some NTFS problem crashed Windows. After a fair bit of tinkering and tweaking I had it set up perfectly. It was doing everything I needed, flawlessly and fast. It was dreamy! I hardly ever booted up my virtual Windows. Two important apps were running perfectly in WINE. I was in desktop bliss really. It lured me into a false sense of confidence in the Ubuntu project. That 16.04 experience was a lucky fluke----if I had kept an image backup of that install, I swear I would be running it right now! 18.04 has been horrible from start to finish, an endless headache. It has made me dread the prospect of upping to 20.04! I will do it when I have no choice.

I am not going to upgrade just to repair the screensaver. It is doing its main jobs. Thank you for your time and attention, and sorry for chewing your ears with my rambling rant. Have a good night, sir!

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Maybe you could try this:

in this file:

exchange this line:

for this line:
Exec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/mate-screensaver/slideshow --location=/home/yourname/Pictures

if it doesn't work, reverse the change.

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Thanks for the reply, @tkn I have already tried that. Here is what I wrote in my previous message:

I have tried, for example, to edit the Exec line of the screensaver with an explicit --location=~/Pictures but all that does is give me a blank screen! At least the default setting was showing me pictures, albeit many that are not intended for the slideshow.

(If Ubuntu has done this to push me towards 20.04 it will not work.)

I tried it with the full explicit path, and it worked. You were right, @tkn In my case the Pictures folder is symlinked to an external USB drive.

These did not work:


This worked:


Solved! I finally got a solution that worked. :slightly_smiling_face:

You're still using screensavers??? Modern screens don't need them.

And yet some of us just like them anyway. (Not myself, but others.) The XScreenSaver project sure isn't showing any signs of slowing down, now is it?

Sorry you had to figure out that you needed to specify an absolute path. Alas, tilde characters (~) refer to your home directory in a shell, but almost anywhere else they are treated as literal tilde characters (yes, you can use tildes in filenames on Linux).

I can't guarantee the following is always true, but I've noticed that specifying something like:


...also works, since the current directory of MATE applications launched as part of the session startup process (such as the screensaver daemon) is set by your login / display manager to your home directory. So if you ever need to use this with multiple users, you may prefer to not specify the /home/[your name] part. But it's up to you.

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I know. It gives me something pleasant to look at while I'm in my office space.

The default setting had no location in the Exec line. It was showing files randomly from many different folders. A search online shows many users over the years have asked for this screensaver to be customizable in the GUI. It does not seem like a huge technical challenge but it has not been done.

If KDE programs are launched in Mate, the default dark theme does not get applied consistently. This may be a little harder to do, but it should have been solved long ago. I have not used KDE in a long time, but I remember an option in the control panel like, 'Apply KDE theme to non KDE applications' or something like that. It worked----with some glitches, but it mostly worked.

The Trash icon has disappeared from my desktop recently. Not a big deal in itself, but an example of why the open source desktop will never break the glass ceiling. When I switched my external monitor's position from left to right of laptop, and made the laptop the main display again, it screwed up the geometry totally. My sticky notes disappeared from view, some dialog boxes----like the Keyring password box----would open totally or partially off screen. I could not find the Xorg.conf file, so I posted the problem here, but no one was able to help me.

My impression is, too many changes are made too quickly with too little testing. They should not be pushed out to an LTS product, but they are. The prime time version, in my opinion, should be a couple of years behind the bleeding edge----IF you want the general public to use Linux. Techies can play around with the latest greatest whatevers.