Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Variety, one of the best wallpaper changers for Linux, has been updated to version 0.5.0, bringing support for automatically downloading wallpapers from Wallhaven and an option to add Reddit as an image source.

The new version also introduces a very cool new (optional) feature: a server-side companion (beta) which allows users to synchronize their wallpapers between computers, automatically retrieve wallpapers favorited by other Variety users, and more.

Variety Wallpaper Changer

For those not familiar with Variety, this is a wallpaper changer that automatically downloads wallpapers from sources such as Flickr, Wallpapers.net, Desktoppr, Wallhaven, custom RSS feeds, NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day as well as World Sunlight Map: a live Earth wallpaper which changes throughout the day. 

Using it, you can get a new, beautiful wallpaper automatically at the interval you set in the application preferences.

The application can even apply fancy filters to the images: grayscale, heavy blur, oil painting, charcoal painting, pointilism or pixellate as well as display quotes or the time on top of the wallpaper.

It's also important to note that Variety supports most desktop environments: Unity, GNOME, KDE, LXDE, Xfce, MATE, Cinnamon or Pantheon and more. There are a few tweaks that might be needed on some desktop environments to get it to work properly though - see THIS page for more information.

Now back to the latest Variety 0.5.0. The most important new feature in this new release is of course the new Variety server-side companion - VRTY.ORG, which "is fueled by the favorites of all users who choose to participate and is a humble attempt to make Variety more social – to connect users with similar taste in wallpapers, to use the data about what users like or dislike as a basis for recommendations".

This is an optional feature and using it, you can get Variety to automatically download and set other users favorite wallpapers as your wallpaper. Variety can also automatically recommend wallpapers that try to adapt to your taste:

Variety Wallpaper Changer

Setting this up is very easy - the first time your run Variety 0.5.0, you'll be asked if you want to connect the application with VRTY.ORG:

Variety Wallpaper Changer

Simply click "Continue" and follow the steps.

Also, by browsing the VRTY.ORG website, you can see the wallpapers favorited by other users and set them as your wallpaper with a click (this requires configuring your browser to open variety:// links).

Another feature introduced with Variety 0.5.0, which relies on using the new server-side companion (requires logging in to VRTY.ORG using the same account on all computers), is the ability to synchronize your favorite wallpapers across computers:

Variety Wallpaper Changer

Other changes in Variety 0.5.0:
  • Wallhaven has replaced Wallbase.cc;
  • Reddit support (on the General tab, click "Add" on the right, select "Reddit" and add a subreddit as a source - examples: "/r/wallpapers", "/r/EarthPorn", etc.).

Install Variety in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

To install the latest Variety in Ubuntu / Linux Mint and derivatives, you can use its official PPA. To add the PPA and install Variety, run the following commands in a terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peterlevi/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install variety

For other Linux distributions, see the Variety installation page.

If you encounter bugs, report them @ Launchpad.