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Top : Software : Toys : Candy

10 Top Tools for Novelists
The software featured in this article is designed to meet the specialised needs of a budding novelist. There's the finest open source distraction-free tools, software designed to create visual novels, and tools to help capture and visualise ideas.

(Read more)
(commercial) Mathematica seamlessly integrates a numeric and symbolic computational engine, graphics system, programming language, documentation system, and advanced connectivity to other applications. It is this range of capabilities--many world-leading in their own right--that makes Mathematica uniquely capable as a "one-stop shop" for you or your organization's technical work. It can handle complex symbolic calculations that often involve hundreds of thousands or millions of terms. Read more


  • aafire
    aafire displays burning ASCII art flames in the terminal. It demonstrates the the capabilities of the aalib library, an ascii art library. Read more
  • anyPaper
    anyPaper is a front-end for wallpapersetter. You can choose the screen size, background color, and image position.
  • Aqua Fusion
    Aqua Fusion is an extensive and elaborate original icon theme designed for KDE.
  • Aquarium applet
    Aquarium applet is a wmapplet that gives you an aquarium with some randomly selected fishes that lives there. Well, to tell you the truth, you can get a turtle in your aquarium too.
  • Ascii Design
    Ascii Design is a free program, based on figlet engine, that enables you to create awesome ascii art text.
  • aura
    aura is a desktop (X root window) background setter. It picks images randomly from specified paths, skipping those that are too small or have inappropriate aspect ratios, and rescales them by cropping solid margins, resizing with cubic interpolation and then the liquid rescale algorithm to fit the desktop with as little quality loss as possible.
  • AutoWallpaper
    This simple application automatically changes the desktop wallpaper on your desktop periodically according to the users settings. It chooses images from a user specified folder.
  • Bambam
    Bambam is a simple baby keyboard masher application. It locks the keyboard and mouse and instead displays bright colors, pictures, and sounds.
  • BgChanger
    Bgchanger is a set of python scripts to add wallpaper rotation functionality to Gnome. It was designed with *simplicity* in mind. It consists of two main executables along with a supporting library all written in python.
  • BitLife
    BitLife is eye candy showing parallel Conway's Life games in the bit planes of the screen.
  • bomb
    Bomb is a visual-musical instrument. It uses alife, and is alife. It runs on your PC and produces animated organic graphics in response to the keyboard, audio music, or on its own.
  • BusyMouse
    BusyMouse is a simple application that runs in the background on your Linux box and uses interrupt monitoring from the /proc filesystem to change your X11 mouse cursor when the disk (or possibly other interrupt) is accessed.
  • CAFire
    CAFire displays a burning trace after the mouse pointer in X. It can work in a normal or in the root window.
  • cage
    CAGE is a fairy generic and complete cellular automaton simulation engine in Python. It supports both 1D and 2D automata, a variety of prepackaged rules, and the concept of "agents" which can move about independently on the map for implementing agent behavior.
  • cteddy
    Adapted from the description of the original Xteddy, cteddy is a cuddly teddy bear for your composited X Windows desktop.
  • CWallpaper
    CWallpaper is a front end for fbsetbg, Esetroot, feh, and other wallpaper changers. It can also change the wallpaper for Rox's pinboard, and will work with any root wallpaper changer.
  • Desktop Drapes
    Desktop Drapes is a wallpaper manager application for the gnome desktop. It has features (period) Features like, randomly changing your wallpaper every once in a while, or whenever you fell like it. It can also automaticaly pickup any wallpapers you added to a directory with the ninja magic of inotify.
  • DesktopNova
    DesktopNova helps users to auto change backgrounds after an adjustable time from multiple files and folders you can add it to different profiles.
  • Dynamic Background
    Dynamic Background is a small tool which aims to automatically download and update a dynamic/live desktop background in GNOME with images from a RSS source, currently Bing.
  • Explosions
    Explosions is a simplified 3D world with alpha-blended objects that look kind of like fireworks or sparks. It also has a number of effects built in, such as fading, blurring, fire ("heat"), and zooming.
  • f.lux
    f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you're in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.
  • FaceBuilder
    FaceBuilder is a little toy application that lets you construct faces by putting together eyes, nose, mouth, head, hair and some additional items. You can also move, scale and rotate each of those face-parts as you like.
  • fblogo
    fblogo takes an image as input and generates an appropriate linux_logo.h which can simply be included in the kernel. It will be displayed when the framebuffer device is enabled.
  • fdm
    fdm is a bit of eye candy for the X Window System. Little lines wiggle around, follow each other, bounce through mazes, and leave pretty trails.
  • FileCityMap
    FileCityMap is a 3-dimensional file system browser that turns any given folder into a city. Perl scripts are stop signs, tar balls are trash cans, etc.
  • Fireworkx
    Fireworkx is a pyrotechnic eye-candy simulation that explodes in both X and SVGAlib atmospheres.
  • Floating Head
    Floating Head lets you watch the author's ugly mug (or your own) float around the screen.
  • freshwall
    freshwall is a background changing script for Gnome/*nix. It selects a random wallpaper from Gnome's "change background" list and sets it as the current wallpaper.
  • GCursor
    GCursor changes your Xcursor with an animated preview.
  • gDesklets
    gDesklets provides an advanced architecture for desktop applets, tiny displays sitting on your desktop in a symbiotic relationship of eye candy and usefulness. New desklets can be put together by simply composing widgets in a XML file.
  • Ghost Diagrams
    Ghost Diagrams is a program that takes sets of tiles and tries to find patterns into which they may be formed. The patterns it finds when given randomly chosen tiles are often surprising.
  • GKrellKam
    GKrellKam is a plugin to GKrellM that displays a thumbnail of a periodically updated image in a panel.
  • GKrellM trayicons
    GKrellM trayicons is a plugin for gkrellm that displays a variable number of user-defined, automatically scaled icons. The icons may be used either for notification or as application launchers. The plugin serves a similar purpose to the "system tray" on the Windows taskbar. The notification functionality has been designed to facilitate easy integration into shell scripts and existing applications.
  • Gnoguin
    Gnoguin is a little cute helpful annoying penguin that runs after your mouse cursor. It is four frames of animation.
  • GNOME floating background
    GNOME floating background subtly changes the color of the GNOME desktop over time -- so slowly that it won't be noticed. This is a good alternative to placing a wallpaper.
  • Gnome-Art NextGen
    This is the successor of Gnome-Art and lets you change your Gnome-themes (icon-, wallpaper-, splash-,...-themes) with one click.
  • gSmile
    gSmile is an open-source emoticon manager, that is a nice piece of software that helps you to keep your emoticons and smilies organized and to find them quickly whenever you need one of them.
  • gSplashFu
    gSplashFu is an exceptionally over-developed splashscreen changer. It has many amusing, if not technically useful, features.
  • GtkLife
    GtkLife is a fast, featureful, open-source Conway's Life program for *nix. It is capable of handling complex patterns with ease: the universe holds 1 million x 1 million cells, and the algorithm for computing generations is highly optimized. Speed is comparable to the venerable XLife, and in some cases faster.
  • gTweakUI
    gTweakUI is a collection of simple dialogues as a front end to GConf.
  • gworldclock
    gworldclock displays the time and date of specified time zones using a GTK+ interface. It also allows the zones to be synchronised to a time other than the current time.This program displays the time and date of specified time zones using a GTK+ interface. It also allows the zones to be synchronised to a time other than the current time.
  • Interceptor
    Interceptor is a Plasmoid for KDE4. Its role is to intercept (catch) the log info from the syslog daemon, to flash whenever a log line is processed, and display it on a panel.
  • JuggleMaster
    JuggleMaster is a juggling siteswap animator. It can animate any valid siteswap, and has a large library of patterns included.
  • KDE cpufreq applet
    kcpufreq is a KDE 3.x panel applet that displays the current CPU frequency. It is very similar to the GNOME cpufreq applet and in fact copies its icons. The applet not particularly sophisticated.
  • KFish
    KFish is a Fish for the KDE Desktop Enviroment, its a kicker panel applet.
  • KSplash/ML
    KSplash/ML is now an integrated part of KDE. KSplash/ML supports third-party splash screen engines now. This means that your splash screen can literally look however you want it to, with a minimum of effort.
  • KSplasher
    KSplasher is a KDE Moodin Engine splash screen editor and creator for placing icons and labels and generating splash compressed files and directories.
  • KSplashman
    a control module for choosing and customizing "Splash-Screens" themes introduced from KDE version 2.x
  • KWanda
    KWanda is a fish applet for the KDE panel (kicker).
  • Linux Logo
    Linux Logo is a text-based logo and sysstem information program for Linux.
  • linuxlogo
    linuxlogo displays the Linux logo in an X Window System window. It can also display images read from most popular image file formats such as JPEG, GIF, PNM, TGA, RLE, BMP, PNG, TIFF, and so forth.
  • ma2ze
    ma2ze is a 3D maze written in the matlab language. It is completely useless and abuses a very useful, though commercial, computer algebra system.
  • nautilus-wallpaper
    nautilus-wallpaper is a Nautilus extension that adds the ability to set your desktop wallpaper from the context menu.
  • Oboinus
    Oboinus is an X11 background previewer and setter.
  • PDF Cube
    PDFCube renders PDF presentations with special 3D effects (the omnipresent rotating cube and 5 predefined zoom animations). It adds eye-candy to your PDF presentations, even Latex, Beamer and Prosper ones.
  • Pencilpond
    Pencilpond displays a tiling of the hyperbolic plane in the Poincare disk representation which can be navigated by moving the mouse. The tiles are regular-ngons whose vertices are ideal points, i.e. every pair of adjacent edges is asymptotically parallel.
  • PyroTechnics
    PyroTechnics is a freely distributable OpenGL-based firework simulator.
  • ScopeShapes
    ScopeShapes is a program which uses the computer's stereo sound out to drive the X- and Y- inputs of an oscilloscope in order to produce 3D and 2D vector shapes, kinda a bit like certain early video games such as Asteroids, Star Wars, and of course, the Vectrex.
  • SDL_timeless
    SDL_timeless is a linux/SDL port of Tran's timeless demo written in 1994. The demo is like a screen saver, there is stuff warping around onscreen and colors are changing and sprites are doing stuff.
  • Shellpic
    Shellpic uses escape codes to display images in a terminal or irc-client.
  • Sherman's aquarium
    Sherman's aquarium is a wm (window maker) applet and gnome applet too, that gives you an aquarium with some randomly selected fishes that lives there.
  • Snowpath formation simulation
    Snowpath formation simulation models the process of snow path formation. The evolving condition of the snow is displayed graphically.
  • speyes
    speyes is a totally useless xeyes Window Maker dock app clone.
  • splax
    splax is an utility to create and control splash screens. splax can be controlled by sending commands through a named pipe, giving the controlling script a way to dynamically update the splash screen.
  • SSHMenu
    SSHMenu is a GNOME panel applet that makes starting up a new terminal window with an SSH connection to a remote host just a click away. A preferences dialog allows you to add and organise hosts. Window positions and sizes can be set along with a profile for controlling text and background colours as well as font details. It also includes a version without GNOME dependencies that can be run as a small standalone window or swallowed into the panel of another window manager.
  • SunflowerApplet
    SunflowerApplet changes the shadow on the windows managed by compiz when the decorator plugin is enabled and with beryl when emerald is used as the decorator.
  • SuperKaramba
    SuperKaramba is a tool that allows you to easily create interactive eye-candy on your KDE desktop.
  • SyncWall
    SyncWall is quite a basic wallpaper changer with a special feature, it is the ability to synchronize wallpaper change between several workstations with a basic (and unsecured) client/server protocol.
  • telak
    telak is a small tool to draw local or remote pictures on your root window. This is very useful if you want to have webcam, graphs or something like this drawn above your wallpaper.
  • Thinksaber
    Thinksaber is a reimplementation of MacSaber using the HDAPS sensors on modern IBM Thinkpads to detect motion and to turn those motions into Star Wars lightsaber sound effects.
  • TkLife
    TkLife is a simple drawing tool. Also, TkLife is a generator of complex patterns simulating birth, life and death of cells. Finally, TkLife can be used to visualize multiple sequence alignments.
  • tuhtah
    tuhtah is a GTK+/GNOME program that keeps cruising around your desktop and changes the direction when it hits a border of the screen! It is meant for pure enjoyment and fun.
  • Vladstudio Kompanion
    Vladstudio Kompanion is a KDE port and enhancement of the Windows-based Companion, a utility that allows you to monitor, download, and install wallpaper from
  • WallpaperZapper
    WallpaperZapper is a random wallpaper selector for GNOME. It allows you to change periodically your background, randomly picking the new one from GNOME backgrounds lists.
  • Wallpapoz
    This tool enables your Gnome desktop to have different wallpapers for different workspaces or virtual desktops. It offers quick orientation cues where you are.
  • Wally
    Wally is a QT4 wallpaper changer using multiple sources like files, folders, Flickr community, and Yahoo!
  • wmblob
    wmblob shows some blobs moving around. It does nothing useful, it's just a toy.
  • WMEyes
    WMEyes is a silly little dockapp, along the lines of XEyes.
  • WMGlobe
    The whole Earth spinning on your desktop... as a dockable app.
  • wmluabutton
    wmluabutton is a general purpose dockapp which is scriptable with lua. It can load and display xpm images at runtime, detect mouse clicks on the images, and can check and update the state regularly. It is intended as a dockapp for X window managers such as Window Maker, AfterStep, BlackBox, and Enlightenment.
  • wmsystray
    wmsystray provides a system tray for your X11 environment. wmsystray can be (and currently works best as) a Window Maker dock app.
  • xcowsay
    xcowsay is a graphical configurable talking cow. It's a GTK+ version of the classic cowsay Perl script. It displays a cute pop-up cow on your desktop with a speech bubble and some customizable text.
  • XCruiser
    XCruiser, formerly known as XCruise, is a filesystem visualization utility. It constructs a virtually 3-D formed universe from a directory tree and allows you to "cruise" within a visualized filesystem.
  • XCurs
    XCurs is a program for editing XCursor formatted XFree86 mouse cursors.
  • xdaf
    xdaf is a small tool to provide a visual feedback of the local disks activity by changing the default X11 mouse pointer to an animated wheel.
  • xdesktopwaves
    xdesktopwaves is a cellular automata setting the background of your X Windows desktop under water. Windows and mouse are like ships on the sea. Each movement of these ends up in moving water waves. You can even have rain and/or storm stirring up the water.
  • XELand
    XELand generates night landscapes as stereo pairs for cross-eye views.
  • XLife
    XLife is a laboratory for experimenting with cellular automata.
  • Xlockmore
    Xlockmore is an enhanced version of xlock that requires no gui interface for build, just vanilla X.
  • XPenguins
    XPenguins makes cute little penguins fall from the top of your screen and walk on the top of your windows.
  • xplanetFX
    Create high quality renderings of mother earth with realistic clouding and lightning effects as your desktop wallpaper with realtime capabilities.

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