Generate your own personal 4K desktop wallpaper

Last Saturday, I was updating the Ubuntu OS on my Raspberry Pi 400. While I was waiting for the updated packages to roll in (there were a lot), I opened GEdit, and started experimenting with HTML’s <canvas> element.

I’d been thinking of creating a simple algorithm to generate high resolution minimalist desktop wallpapers. Previous attempts had not yielded very nice results, but this time, the images were looking promising.

From there, things kinda snowballed…

  • The next morning, I tweaked things a bit and improved the HTML and CSS code.
  • Though barely presentable, I uploaded the result to my server.
  • I posted the result on Hacker News.
  • Half an hour later, it was on the HN front page.
  • I got some great feedback in the comments section, and a couple of interesting feature requests.
  • By the time I went to bed, 60K+ wallpaper had been generated.
  • This morning, that number had increased to 90K, even though the HN post was now on page two.
  • On Github, I found a Pull Request by Alexis Lucas that added most of the requested features.
  • Also on Github, I was alerted to the native Mac app that Victor Gama created.

Developing open source can be a wonderful thing sometimes!

Fortunately, my server had no problem serving the generator around 5 times per second during the traffic peak caused by the HN post. Image generation is done client-side, so this is actually a very light web page to serve.

The wallpaper generator is both “free as in beer” and “free as in speech”, so feel free to give it a go.

Roy Tanck
I'm a freelance WordPress developer, designer, consultant, meetup organizer and speaker. In my spare time I love to go out and take pictures of things.