phosphor - simulates an old terminal with long-sustain phosphor
phosphor [-display host:display.screen] [-window] [-root] [-install]
[-visual visual] [-font font] [-scale int] [-ticks int] [-delay usecs]
[-program command] [-meta] [-esc] [-bs] [-del]
The phosphor program draws text on the screen in a very large pixelated
font that looks like an old low resolution dumb tty. The pixels flare
and fade out as if the phosphor was very long-sustain. It is also a
fully functional vt100 terminal emulator.
phosphor accepts the following options:
-window Draw on a newly-created window. This is the default.
-root Draw on the root window.
Install a private colormap for the window.
Specify which visual to use. Legal values are the name of a
visual class, or the id number (decimal or hex) of a specific
The X font to use. Phosphor can take any font and scale it up
to pixelate it. The default is fixed.
How much to scale the font up: in other words, the size in real
pixels of the simulated pixels. Default 6.
The number of colors to use when fading to black. Default 20.
The speed of the terminal: how long to wait between drawing
each character. Default 50000, or about 1/20th second.
-pty Launch the sub-program under a PTY, so that it can address the
screen directly. This is the default.
-pipe Launch the sub-program at the end of a pipe: do not let it
address the screen directly.
The command to run to generate the text to display. This
option may be any string acceptable to /bin/sh. The program
will be run at the end of a pty or pipe, and any characters
that it prints to stdout will be printed on phosphor's window.
The characters will be printed artificially slowly, as per the
-delay option above. If the program exits, it will be launched
again after 5 seconds.
phosphor -program 'cat /usr/src/linux*/README'
phosphor -program 'ping localhost'
phosphor -program 'ps -e'
phosphor -program 'od -txC -w6 /dev/random'
phosphor -program 'cat /dev/random'
phosphor -scale 2 -geom =1280x1024 -program 'top'
phosphor -scale 4 -geom =1280x1024 \
-program 'mtr www.kernel.org'
phosphor -program 'xemacs -nw -q -f life'
phosphor -scale 5 -geom =1280x1024 \
-program 'xemacs -nw -q --eval "(hanoi 5)"'
If you have the festival(1) text-to-speech system installed,
you can have it read the screen as phosphor prints it:
phosphor -program \
'xscreensaver-text | tee /dev/stderr | festival --tts'
You can also use phosphor as a lo-fi replacement for the
xterm(1) and gnome-terminal(1) terminal emulators:
phosphor -delay 0 -program tcsh
-esc When the user types a key with the Alt or Meta keys held down,
send an ESC character first. This is the default.
-meta When Meta or Alt are held down, set the high bit on the charac-
-del Swap Backspace and Delete. This is the default.
-bs Do not swap Backspace and Delete.
By default, phosphor allocates a pseudo-tty for the sub-process to run
under. This has the desirable side effect that the program will be
able to use ioctl(2) to fetch information about terminal parameters and
window size, which many programs (such as top(1)) need to run properly.
phosphor will also set the environment variable TERM to vt100 in the
Any characters typed on the phosphor window will be passed along to the
sub-process. (Note that this only works when running in "window" mode,
not when running in -root mode under xscreensaver.)
DISPLAY to get the default host and display number.
to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global
resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.
TERM to inform the sub-process of the type of terminal emulation.
xscreensaver(1), xscreensaver-text(1), fortune(1), apple2(1), star-
wars(1), fontglide(1), ljlatest(1), dadadodo(1), webcollage(1), drift-
net(1) EtherPEG, EtherPeek, console_codes(4).
Copyright (C) 1999 by Jamie Zawinski. Permission to use, copy, modify,
distribute, and sell this software and its documentation for any pur-
pose is hereby granted without fee, provided that the above copyright
notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright notice and
this permission notice appear in supporting documentation. No repre-
sentations are made about the suitability of this software for any pur-
pose. It is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty.
Jamie Zawinski <jwzATjwz.org>, 27-Apr-99. Pty and vt100 emulation by
Fredrik Tolf <fredrikATdolda2000.com>.
X Version 11 4.21 (01-Mar-2005) XScreenSaver(6x)