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Linux Candy: catclock – xclock with an enhanced cat mode

Linux Candy is a series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We only feature open source software in this series.

Some of the programs in this series are purely cosmetic, frivolous pieces of fun. Candy at their finest. But we also include some programs that aren’t purely decorative.

There’s a diverse range of programs included in this series. Programs such as eDEX-UI and Variety are actually highly practical programs. ASCIIQuarium has soothing and relaxing qualities for your desktop. Other programs included in this series (such as lolcat, cacafire) are included purely for their decorative qualities. And then there’s some really fun software that just raises a smile or two.

One of the venerable programs that has stuck in our memory for such a long time is xclock, an open source analog / digital clock for X. One of the many virtues of open source software is that other developers fork the project and ‘invent’ something new.

catclock is a fork of xclock which adds a ‘cat mode’. Modern desktop environments such as GNOME or KDE include a clock by standard. But they are fairly utilitarian in nature.


We compiled the project’s source code. First, clone the project’s GitHub repository.

$ git clone

Change into the newly created directory.

$ cd catclock

Now compile the source code.

$ make

In Operation

catclock in motion Many forks will give a project a new name. That’s not the case with catclock. To start the program, you still issue the command $ xclock.

This means you’ll need to uninstall catclock if you want to run the vanilla xclock.

The cat image was based on the famous “Kit-Cat” plastic wall clock.

In addition to the cat mode, this version of xclock offers an alarm feature and an hourly chime. There are various X defaults and command-line switches to control the colors for the cat. And you can compile the source code to add tempo tracking where the software tracks the music tempo and moves the cat eyes and tail in sync with the music.

You still have access to the original digital and analogue clocks. For example, to start the program in digital mode updating every minute, issue the command:

$ xclock -mode digital -update 60


catclock raises a smile whenever it’s running on our desktop.

It’s definitely eye candy. Harmless but adds a touch of panache.

Developer: Philip Schneider
License: Open source

catclock is written in C. Learn C with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Complete list of articles in this series:

Linux Candy
ASCIIQuariumEmbrace marine life from the terminal with beautiful ASCII art
ASCII Art ConverterA small utility that converts images into ASCII art
BobRossQuotesCollection of quotes from Bob Ross
BoxesCommand line ASCII boxes
BuohOnline strips comics reader
cacafireColor ASCII fire
catclockxclock with an enhanced cat mode
cbonsaiGenerate bonsai trees in the terminal
christmasfetchFestive cheer on the desktop
chucknorrisChuck Norris jokes in your terminal
cornyjokesCorny jokes for the terminal
CMatrixncurses program that simulates the display from “The Matrix”
ctreeA Christmas tree right on your terminal
eDEX-UISci-fi computer terminal emulator and system monitor
emojSimple tool that to find suitable emojis for pasting to your clipboard
EmoteModern popup emoji picker
EvolvotronInteractive generative art
FondoFind beautiful wallpapers from Unsplash
gtiTypo-based curio inspired by Steam Locomotive
HollywoodFill your console with Hollywood melodrama technobabble
linuxwaveGenerate music from the entropy of Linux
lolcatRainbows and unicorns
No More SecretsRecreates the data decryption effect from the Sneakers movie
nyancatTerminal-based Pop Tart Cat Animation
onekoAnimal chasing fun
pipes.shAnimated pipes terminal screensaver
ponysaycowsay reimplemention for ponies
projectMMusic visualizer originally based on Milkdrop
pscircleA different take on the venerable ps command
pyjokesOne line jokes for programmers
PywalGenerate color schemes on the fly
RelaxatorRelax to soothing sounds
Rusty AquariumMonitoring by visualization
Steam LocomotiveC program written in 295 lines. It's harmless fun
TernimalAnimated lifeform in the terminal
terminal-parrotParty parrot time
tetrisTile-matching puzzle video game in your terminal
VarietyWallpaper manager with many desktops and wallpaper sources
WallGenGenerate HQ poly wallpapers with a few arguments.
WallpaperDownloaderDownload, change, and manage wallpapers
xcowsayDisplays a cow on your desktop with message
XDecorationsAdd some festive cheer to your desktop
XScreenSaverFramework and collection of screensavers
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Ricardo J. Barberis
Ricardo J. Barberis
1 year ago

“GNOME or KDE include a clock by standard. But they are fairly utilitarian in nature”

You probably haven’t tried KDE’s analog o binary clocks then 🙂