Backfract is an animated wallpaper program for Unix with X windows. It fills your background window with a fractal image, then every 15 minutes it will update the image by zooming in or out. As it zooms in or it it uses a simple heuristic to try to stay with "interesting" scenes.
Backfract is distributed in source code. It uses the Gnu autoconfig system and should be portable across all Unix/X11R4 or later systems.
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The complete source code,
This should compile on any Unix system with an ANSI C compiler (gcc works great). It's in tar file format, then compressed with gzip, so to unpack it you need a command line like "
zcat backfract-1.1.2.tar.gz | tar xvf -". Some web browsers
will automatically uncompress this file as it downloads. If you end
up with a file much bigger than the size listed above, then this is
what happened and you don't need to run
Backfract does it's best to find interesting areas to look at. Sometimes it isn't so successful. If it wanders off into a really boring part of the mandelbrot set, then either be patient and wait for it to find its way back to something interesting, or kill the backfract job and restart.
Another problem is that it doesn't always pick very attractive colors to use. Occasionally backfract will come up with a new colormap; so like before, you can either wait for it to get its act together or you can kill it and restart.
Backfract has several options that you may want to use:
|-colors n||Backfract needs lots of colors to get its smooth shading transitions.
This is no problem on systems with 16-bit color or more, but if you
have an 8-bit color system this might cause problems. Running something
In any case, if backfract can't get all the colors it wants, it will use as many as it can.
|-delay n||This sets the amount of time between zooms (in seconds). By default it is 900 (fifteen minutes). If you have a really slow computer you may want to make this larger. If you want a constantly changing background, set it to zero!|
|-nostealth||Usually, backfract detaches itself and runs in background mode. This switch tells it not to detach, so you can use control-C to kill it.|
Computing a fractal is a very compute-intensive operation. On my system, it takes anywhere from about 2 seconds to about 5 minutes to repaint the screen, depending on what part of the fractal is in view. Usually it takes about 10 seconds.
backfract -time" makes backfract compute a
image of a fractal with a very high iteration limit. After computing the
image, it prints its run time and exits without drawing anything. This
makes a benchmark for a CPU's mardelbrot speed.
Here's a list of some systems and the time reported from running
backfract -time" on an idle system:
|System CPU||Compiler||Time||CPU Cycles per|
|Athlon/1200||gcc 2.96 -O3||12.7s||1.71|
|Pentium-III/733||gcc 2.96 -O3||28.9s||2.38|
|egcs 1.1.2 -O3||34.9s||2.87|
|Pentium-II/266||egcs 1.0.3 -O3||88.6s||2.65|
|gcc 126.96.36.199 -O3||103s||3.07|
|Pentium/133||egcs 1.0.3 -O3||254s||3.79|
|gcc 188.8.131.52 -O3||267s||3.99|
|i486DX/66||gcc 2.6.3 -O3||2470s||18.3|
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