One of the nice things about OS X and the Windows 7 desktop is that it allows you to set a whole folder of great artwork to use as desktop wallpaper.
Under Linux, the way to do this varies with each desktop environment. KDE (at least the last versiosn I looked at) let you change the wallpaper randomly, but Gnome, going for a simpler environment doesn’t swap art out of the box.
To fix this I use to install a small utility called wallpaper-tray. This does not seem to be available in the current repositories. But this is opensource, so someone must have made something good by now to replace it?
Yup. It’s called Desktop Drapes. To install in Ubuntu:
#sudo apt-get install drapes
Run it. Configure a folder of art to use, tag the options to run at start-up and you’re done.
Update – 14 April 2012
Linux Mint 12 (Gnome 3 desktop environment) no longer supports wallpaper-tray. A good replacement is wallch, which can simply be installed by using the synaptic package manager. Search for it, mark it for install, then run the app once installed. Configure the folder to use for images and the wappaper changing time and click start. All done.
I am also now using a wallpaper folder synced through Dropbox. This way if I find a great image, it will get added to the wallpaper changers in all my favourite desktops