BeOS screen savers for Mac OS X


BeOS nostalgia, Mac OS X style.

Classic BeOS screen savers for the Mac.


Welcome! These screen saver modules for the Mac are reinterpretations of my favorite screen_blanker add-ons for BeOS R5. They are intended not just for BeOS refugees and fanboys, but for anyone who likes clean, beautiful, simple screen effects on idle Macs. Read on for the story behind the BeOS screen saver pack, or skip right to the goodies.

Buyout now?

An aside: Long-time users of these savers might be surprised to see the bit up there in this page’s URL. No, I haven’t sold the BeOS screensaver pack to some big software company. What I have done is collect my Macintosh software projects, free and shareware, under the toastycode name.

Pyrotheque icon Cuckoo icon
You might pop over and take a look at my other Mac software: Pyrothèque (another new take on an old idea) and Cuckoo (a timely little utility).

More info.


The story? It’s pretty simple. I used to work at a little OS shop called Be, Incorporated. (Perhaps you’re old and/or curmudgeonly enough to have heard of it.) I wasn’t there at the beginning, the BeBox days, when the idea of more than one CPU per person was laughable. I wasn’t around for the PowerPC salad days, R4 and 4.5 and Power Computing clones. I showed up for the bitter end.

eVilla busy cursor

It took us a while to get to the bottom of the roller coaster, however. After months of late nights at the office, the summer found us watching helplessly as our client abruptly discontinued our project. Be was in a tailspin; our other customers disappeared quickly, and we all wondered what would become of our little gang.

We passed the time, as I recall, by playing Set and hacking the OS; most of the latter effort is entombed with the BeOS sources (though we eventually managed to sneak some core bits into the light).

There was time aplenty for other projects as well. For my part, I had a sleek Pismo on my desk that wasn’t getting much use anymore; in my (increasing) free time I decided to teach myself Objective-C on the Mac. These screen savers, replicas of my favorite BeOS idle-time distractions, were the result.

Installation instructions.

Each screen saver is packaged as a disk image (DMG) file. Download the DMG and double-click it to show the screen saver file. Double-click that file to install the screen saver on your PowerPC or Intel Mac. That's it.


These screen savers are copyright © 2007 toastycode, but they are free for your personal use. Any redistribution of these files (e.g. on DVD compilations) must be approved by the author.


—Dan Sandler <>

Message icon


Blurb: Scatters random messages in different fonts and soothing colors. Specify the text yourself, or have Message pull it from an external program.

Download: Message 1.5.1 Universal

Screenshots: Preferences (3 images) Simple messages (4 images) Fortune (12 images) Word of the day (3 images) Useful commands (3 images) Unicode art (12 images).

About: The original “word art” screensaver (and still champion). Message scatters text across your screen in a shameless demonstration of the text rendering facilities in Mac OS X. To choose fonts and colors entirely at random would be disastrous; instead, Message settles on a single typeface and subtly varies the color and size to produce an eye-catching collage of letters and shapes.

The original Message add-on for BeOS (by Jon Watte) could only display the output of fortune (the BSD fortune-cookie program), but Message for Mac OS X lets you choose any command-line tool to supply its text. You can also type any text you like (something utilitarian, like “Be back soon,” or silly, like Unicode dingbats).

Message is pre-loaded with a number of useful commands, including a “word of the day” mode (why wait for 10.5?). An installation package for FreeBSD fortune is available, if you prefer the wisdom of bearded Unix geeks.

Foam icon


Blurb: Beautiful circles, all over your screen, touching but not overlapping..

Download: Foam 1.3.1 Universal (released April 15, 2008)

Screenshots: Foam options, Foam gallery slideshow.


About: Gently colored circles appear one-by-one, tangent to other circles, until every usable space is filled. (It’s always reminded me of Silicon Valley that way.) Originally designed by fellow Be hacker Chris Tate as a classic MacOS application called bubbles.

Lissart icon


Blurb: Highly geometric line art.

Download: Lissart 1.2.0 Universal

Screenshots: System Preferences, Lissart options, Lissart gallery slideshow.

About: Also originally by Chris Tate, the Lissart add-on was intended for BeOS R5, but it (like so many things we did) never saw the light of day. Actually, Lissart is older still: “originally written in BASIC, on a TI ‘calculator,’ drawing on a plotter—in 1981.” The current version of this spirograph-like screen saver for MacOS X is anti-aliased, offers color controls, and (new in 1.2.0) introduces some color variation across the line art, with sometimes dramatic results.

Buy Now icon

Buy Now

Download: BuyNow 1.2.0 Universal

About: It, uh, well, it’s sort of a Be folklore thing. READ NOW!