I was bumming around Youtube on the weekend and saw something Max Headroom related (Cus the algorithm knows me…) and it made my sick brain think: My computer is cyberspace, I should have the Max Headroom cyberspace background as my wallpaper! It’s 2023, how hard can it be to make a video be a wallpaper?

Well, harder than I thought. It’s actually a bit of a pain. But I perservered and overcame and did it. So here’s how.

Grab an updated copy of xwinwrap. Xwinwrap “allows you to stick an app such as a videoplayer or gif viewer to your desktop background”. The most up to date fork that worked for me lives at github.com/mmhobi7/xwinwrap.git.

Then I just hacked their example script, removing some dead args, adding in a missed -ni, and swapping in mpv for mplayer as I found an online tutorial on making mpv tile videos, since I have 2 monitors

# starting this script on login will wait for Desktop to initialize

until $(echo xwininfo -name Desktop)|grep "IsViewable"; do :; done
nice ./xwinwrap -b -s -fs -st -sp -nf -ni -ov -fdt -- mpv -wid WID --loop=inf --lavfi-complex="[vid1][vid2]hstack[vo];[aid1][aid2]amix[ao]" max-headroom-bg.mp4 --external-file=max-headroom-bg.mp4

Finally, grab the Max Headroom background video

And volia: max-headroom-desktop.mp4

I guess I still need to hook it into my desktop autostart up, but that should be fine, XFCE’s Settings>Session and Startup let’s me add new scripts to autostart and this plays nice with XFDesktop so should be no problem.