It's late in the night. Tens of computers in the lab are running, their screens covered by screensavers. But something is not like usual. That train went from one screen to other. And then another. The computers must be conspiring. They have to be talking to each other!

What is happening?

This is how it may look like when you setup Mašinky. Mašinky are a networked screensaver. They allow you to setup a server for what should be showed and clients (separate computers) connect to it. If you have many computers (with Unix system, in this version) at one place, this can add a little amusement to an ordinary day.


Of course, it is made of more parts. This description is only a review of how it generally works. For more complete view, you should download the documentation. It contains two parts - 'userdox', for a user, and 'dox', which describes its internals, if someone might want to change or fix the thing. The documentation expects all the parts to be saved to single folder. If you have them elsewhere, you should modify what you do slightly.

The Server

It is the part that manages that conspiring. Ir runs on one computer only, takes care of synchronizing information and providing images. Its written in python and you can get it here.

The server itself knows nothing about the logic. This way, the same server (and clients) may be used for trains going from switch to switch.

A Plugin

Plugin, or source, is the thing that knows, what should be moved where, what should appear and disappear. It takes care of the logic. It is a separate program so it can be easily replaced by another.

The mašinky plugin

This in the plugin the screensaver was written with. It allows you to watch trains going from one screen to another, stop at stations, etc. (If you replace the images, buses could go too, it is no big difference)

You can download it here, of course. However, it contains only very poor graphics, so if you want to use it, you will have to draw yourself better ones (there is a bottle of milk only).

There is a theme for it called KAM. It was designed for the Department of Applied Mathematics.

The brablenec plugin

Another plugin, with ants running over a chessboard. Or, when someone draws some good images of chessboard and an ant, it looks a little… dadaistic at the momemnt. You can download it as an preview.

A Client

It is the visible part. It runs on every computer.

There is only the version (not too great, yet) for Unix systems and XScreenSaver, available here. It is a patch for XScreenSaver, so you need to download and unpack that first, then apply this patch and install it.


Help, for example with drawing images, writing the timetables, creating other plugins or programming a Windows (☠) client, is welcome. It is probably wise to contact me. I will gladly put it here, so it is all together.

The name

It is Czech and means "choo-choo" (children version of "locomotive").