As you may know, years ago some fresh young face on the Gnome team decided, for no sensible reason, to re-implement the xscreensaver daemon from scratch and call it "gnome-screensaver". This re-write was still able to run the 95% of xscreensaver that comprised the actual, you know, screen savers. It ran them badly, but it ran them.
Well now I'm told that they've removed the ability to run screen savers at all from gnome-screensaver.
Apparently the Gnome 3 party line is that if you want something more visually pleasing than "lock your screen and power off the monitor", you are wanting something that is Wrong.
Is this really true? Because it sounds too crazy to be true, even for Gnome.
Obviously I think that gnome-screensaver shouldn't have been written in the first place, but the idea that they are shipping what purports to be a complete desktop system, and it can't run screen savers at all is just... bafflingly nutty.
It simplifies my life, though, since I will no longer get people sending me misdirected bug reports about gnome-screensaver. We're back to, "if you want a screen saver on Gnome, uninstall gnome-screensaver and install xscreensaver".
If upstream Gnome doesn't come with a screen saver, maybe the various distros will start shipping xscreensaver installed by default again. Ha ha, I kid, I'm a kidder. They'll just rewrite it again, of course.
Just stumbled upon this post by googling "xscreensaver gnome 3". So here are my findings.
Officialy it's over : Gnome 3 hasn't got any screensaver anymore (it just puts the monitor in sleep mode), and won't ever support this feature in the future. According to their mailing list, that'll be the job of someone else - if someone really wants to write a Gnome Shell extension for that purpose. Ubuntu plans to add it back themselves. Also, it seems that xscreensaver won't ever work, but I just tried to install it on my Arch Linux setup and it runs fine, at first glance.