I completely forgot about this anniversary until someone pointed it out to me, which is why this post is two days late!
Now here's a really sad story: I don't have a copy of XScreenSaver 1.0! The oldest version I have is 1.17 from 1993.
That first version was served from the FTP server export.lcs.mit.edu but I can't find an archive of that anywhere. It may also have been uploaded to comp.sources.x, but again, archives from 1992 seem to not exist at all. Probably there's an ISO of some Linux distro from 1992 or 1993 that still has the source of these versions, but if there is, I have not found it.
Go search, please!
I wasn't even able to find the unadulterated version of that original announcement post, only the mangled version on Google's debasement of the USENET archives.
If you can find an archive of comp.windows.x.announce or comp.sources.x from 1992, particularly one that shows the original Message-IDs, please let me know. I checked Internet Archive but found nothing good.
For posterity, and in case they vanish again, here are the announcement messages of versions 1.05 in Nov 1992, and 1.09 (the first version with locking and demo-mode) in Feb 1993.
And here's what appears to be my first XScreenSaver-related LiveJournal post but that's from only twenty years ago. 4.03.
So my first thought was to fire up the oldest computer I still own and shoot a video of XScreenSaver running on that. I pulled my SGI Indy and SGI O2 off the shelf, but though they both make the still-delightful startup chime, I don't have a VGA monitor (or a PS/2 mouse...) and neither of them wants to play nice with the VGA to HDMI adapter I have. The Indy displays solid black, the O2 solid green. Beats me!
(A reminder that XScreenSaver predates not only HDMI, but USB...)
So instead, here are a couple of YouTube videos of what might be my first two screen savers. Imagine these running in 1-bit monochrome on a 960x640 CRT.
I probably wrote the first line of code in April or May 1991. If a time traveller had told me then, "this will be your life's work", I probably would have been as surprised by that as by ...gestures wildly... the Current State Of Affairs.
OH, man! Today was my last day of doing Desktop support. Could have easily scored you both. And, yeah, those VGA to HDMI adapters are... finicky, at best.
(Your comment box. It has changed? I like it.)
Apropos of the comment box, there’s no way to make it go away after you press “Reply”. A nice feature would be that if you press “Reply” again it would disappear. This would help people resist adding a comment.
+1 for James C feature request. Happy to have his comments be memory holed if he doesn't want them to hit the interwebs. Where is the gofundme for this?
...and EDID, but not XGA (close, though).
I'm guessing that SGI didn't spend a whole lot of effort on making their VGA output signalling compatible with cheap PC monitors, so they may be too exotic for the tame subset of signal parameters that a modern VGA->HDMI can handle. My experience with HP and Sun monitors of that era was that almost every timing signal was the opposite of the typical PC's signal polarity, and my experience with VGA converters of this era is that they really only understand a few standard image sizes.
Back in the day, I'd run xscreensaver on monochrome portrait-orientation NCD X terminals...for about 5 minutes, because the network bandwidth required for 2 FPS animation would cripple the entire computer lab.
Yeah, I did some searching and did not find that post I hoped for, the one that said "here's how I got my Indy or O2 to display HDMI." Oh well, back on the shelf they go.
SGI machines expect the monitor to understand the "sync on green" signal. Lots of LCDs do not support this anymore.
There's a list of known compatible monitors here: https://wiki.preterhuman.net/Monitors_on_SGI_Machines
and here (mixed up with lots of "does not work" entries, unfortunately):
And there's a way to hack a cable to make an SGI work with any LCD. Someone was selling their homemade cables on ebay as of 2018:
Non-promising non-answer. Non-answer that seems to solve the VGA step but does not verify the HDMI step.
This sort of incompatibility is why I gave up on retrocomputing. If you want to use your antique computer from time to time, you'll need to get a separate monitor that speaks its language. Mercifully there are made-this-century flat panels that can be had fairly cheaply which understand sync on green, so you won't be as badly off as those with old NEXT systems who have to use a massive proprietary CRT.
I've never managed to have an SGI system display anything using anything but a 13W3->VGA adaptor. Daisy-chaining to DVI, HDMI, DP, mDP, etc have never worked – even to monitors that will display the signal fine on VGA (so SOG shouldn't be an issue for the panel itself). You'd probably need a "sync stripper" in the path, since I don't think the convertors for VGA to [Foo] would create a valid signal given an SOG input.
I did quite a bit of lemacs development on an NCD xterm at what, 48kbps frame relay? Maybe 56? That was luxury after... you know... Obviously XScreenSaver was not ideal in that situation, but I think lemacs worked out pretty well. Redisplay was super tuned; I was way down near the metal counting bytes of X11 protocol for that. And I still used that slow-ass terminal at home through like... early 1997? So that's why Netscape 1.x and 2.x were fucking speed demons, because I had to use them with a dixie-cup-and-string between my computer and my monitor. "How do I make anim-GIFs play at 30fps when the CPU and the screen are communicating by smoke signal? Well, pull up a chair, kids..."
I recall running Rocks on the root window of a NCD Xterminal because I enjoyed the random lurching that made it so much more interesting than your typical starfield. Lay a couple of xterms and a Lucid Emacs window over it and you've got my sometimes development setup circa 1994.
(also because I did not pay attention, I was not aware of the connection between lemacs and XScreensaver and probably XDaliclock until much later.)
You're not a hoarder? It blows my mind when I think of people who aren't hoarders. I've got PS/2 keyboards and mice for days. Hell, I've got keyboards that are daisy chained AT -> PS/2 -> USB that I still use. You want a rad 486 with a 2x CDROM that plugs in to the not-IDE connector on the sound card? I've got your hookup. A PCI card that has a PCMCIA controller on it that only supports one card, which is an external SCSI adaptor? I have that. Pre-standard 802.11b boards rated for 2Mbps? Check. I was sorting though a bunch of stuff today and I found a trove of PCI parallel port cards... just one port on a half width card which can't remember ever buying or using. Why do I have these?
I am down to one VGA monitor now though, having finally gotten rid of the last CRT in the house. It's a terrible old 12" no brand LCD TV that happens to do VGA at 800x600 that I keep for just this kind of situation.
I certainly have hoarder impulses but I don't have that much storage space, so I do purge old crap pretty regularly, especially large old crap.
For reasons beyond my comprehension, the AOC 2560x1440 IPS LCDs that I'd using right now have VGA inputs.Haven't even checked if that works though, because HDMI and DP exist.
The drive noises are so soothingly nostalgic
This says it's version 1.4 from 1992. Still looking.
Nice, thanks! That ISO also has two copies of XDaliClock: 1.05, which I have, and elsewhere the unpacked 1.0 version which I was missing...
And xbiff++! I had forgotten about that entirely.
I found some references to your contributions to pcal, but nothing that implies that the source for xscreensaver was posted to usenet.
I did see that the announcement was cross-posted to fj.mail-lists.x-window and that "xsaver.tar.z" was listed in "Uploads to http://ftp.Germany.EU.net (and modified files) between
Sun Oct 11 1992 and Sun Oct 18 1992", but I couldn't work out what to do with those bits of info.
The problem is that CDROMs were compiled irregularly at that point in time, so there's no expectation that, for example, Walnut Creek will definitely have a CD with unix source code between August and December 1992. Also, the x11r5 archives I did find are all from the end of the date range for that release; 1994. Linux distros themselves were being born right as you were working on the early versions and CDROM support was a work in progress.
I found this in the Infomagic Usenet cdrom disc 1. Don't know if you have a copy
* Lex filter to transform plain English into NewSpeak.
* Copyright (c) 1991 Jamie Zawinski <jwz@------.com>.
How are you for 2.16 to 3.26?
I have everything from 1.17 on. I don't seem to have that newspeak filter, but that was kind of terrible anyway.
ftp://ftp.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de//pub/archive/comp.sources/x seems to be pretty good collection from the time and like all the others, no xsaver :(
I looked through some old Linux distros, and I'm reporting my negative results so future archeologists can can direct their efforts elsewhere.
I first checked these old SLS releases, mounting FAT filesystems and checking tar files. I didn't see it.
Then I checked Slackware. It looks like xscreensaver-3.17 was the first one they included, in Slackware 7.0.
congrats. I recently had the 25th anniversary of a project just barely popular enough it still ships in Debian, but not exciting enough that anyone cared about the anniversary. I did manage to dredge up the original posting from comp.os.linux.announce though as there's a surprisingly good archive of that from 1997 still just sitting there on whatever it is sunsite got archived to
it's shocking the way the internet changed just between 1992 and 1997 though maybe a lot of that is down to it still being September
That VT220 font on your Usenet posts takes me back to my university days in the computer labs, late 80s and early 90s. Most were green or orange screen, there might have been a few terminals capable of doing colours (alongside the various standalone PCs). Most of the Macs were Plus or SE models, the few colour Macs were only for select people, as were the HP Apollo workstations and the solitary NeXTcube that arrived in my final year.
I got access to Usenet around the same time, though I didn't use it much as I was still on dial-up at home (slow and expensive, thanks BT /sarcasm).
You can download mbox archives from Usenet groups here:
While the messages do contain Google headers they seem to be untouched otherwise, and the original message-id from your announcement seems to be 9208171447.AA20797@expo.lcs.mit.edu.
I became excited for a few seconds because comp.sources.x *does* contain a "xscreensaver", but it's a different one from 1989, written by Jonathan Kamens. I checked a few of the other comp.sources.* archives, but no luck so far...
Before someone else tries: I checked old Yggdrasil ISOs, it's not on there. Also, I didn't know that http://ftp.x.org actually points to export.lcs.mit.edu and still runs. There are contrib-*.tar.Z files in xorg/X11R5, but they also come up empty...
Congratulations! Thank you so much for the fun with your code.
xmodelines were a hella' thing.
Its not clear if the consumer side of the world was better, or lazier, or had tighter tolerances. VGA was not really that configurable, so I'm not sure who was fucking up that it had to be that configurable.
Also I am really amused at seeing bangpaths again.
Made me feel nostalgic too. But I was ashamed, back in the day, because my bangpath address pointed to a Vax running VMS, the horror...
In case this helps anyone, these FTP sites I found in lists from the time are still active. I manually rummaged, but someone might want to spend the time indexing and searching.
Congratulations! Another piece of software that lived longer than many would expect, I believe. :)
I am using xscreensaver since 2014. Thank you all people who made and who are developing this software. I hope this project will live forever.