Between Linux and Anime

Kind of like Schrodinger's Cat

Custom Textures for the Kwin Snow Plugin – the Hacky way

Now I am and have always been a fan of the compiz snow plugin. I remember spending some of the earliest days of my Linux life haphazardly getting bombastic desktop effects running and joyfully ignoring how many of the plugins were in the “Bad” list. Those were the days. I sit on KDE’s elegant Plasma nowadays and although Kwin also sports a (not so “Bad”) snow plugin, it has never quite lived up to the compiz version that I knew and loved. Over the years it has matured and stabilized quite a bit, but the key feature that’s still missing for me is being able to swap snow out for autumn leaves and sakura petals – custom textures.

Not entirely sure why, but the other day it just suddenly hit me that hey, it shouldn’t be that hard. There’s a texture stored somewhere that Kwin uses – I just need to find and replace it right? Turns out that was precisely right. The snowflake texture used by the plugin is


So how do we use a custom one? Find a png image to use as custom texture, and simply rename it “snowflake.png” and copy it into /usr/share/kde4/apps/kwin/! Do backup the old one first though just in case. After you’ve done that, disable the plugin, click apply, reenable it, click apply, and when you toggle the snow it should descend with your custom texture.

Here’s a screenshot where I use this leaf to create lazily descending autumn foliage:


Next step would be to find time and see if I could write a patch to make a non-hacky way to do this :)

Rate this post
An error occurred!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • RSS
  • Reddit


Anisong: Natsukage (Misuzu version)


The nightmarish “Linux won’t boot, Not even the LiveCD”


  1. Yep, it’s surprising to find out how many things are just pictures on your hard drive.

    Recently I found out that the theme portion of gnome shell is just a bunch a .pngs and a .css file.

    I remember playing around with compiz long ago. I could never quite get it juuuuuust right. Plus my desktop at the time surpassed the maximum texture size of my graphics card at the time- so that was a problem.

    Anyway, aren’t fall leaves a bit out of season?

  2. Jason "moofang"

    Only in Linux though :P In Windows everything is apparently deliberately obfuscated. One of the early reasons that made me fall in love with Linux – everything is so delightfully transparent.

    And compiz was a load of fun – I think I’m one of the few people who actually like all the useless bombastic effects it had. I remember I used to spin my desktop cube all over the place and make water ripples all over my screen when I get bored.

    Fall leaves are out of season, but not for long :P (though its foreversummer here ;_; )

  3. Mike

    What version of kwin are you running? I’ve scoured the internet looking for the kwin plugin and have come up empty handed.

  4. Jason "moofang"

    Mike: yes, unfortunately around 4.6/4.7 the snow plugin was removed, iirc, as Kwin was ported to OpenGL ES and the snow plugin could not be ported gracefully. A OpenGL ES compatible one might be developed at some point and re-added in, but I’d think that’s a pretty bleak chance since it’s hardly a high priority thing. Unless maybe someone steps forward and offers to try and do it…

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén