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A Mac OS X Screen Saver to launch a user-selected application

Screen Shot of Configuration Window
This is a simple screen saver for Mac OS X version 1.3+ that launches a regular Mac application, or a Unix executable, of your choice when the screen saver starts.

I originally developed it to help automatically launch clients for the Stanford Folding@Home project, but have since found other uses for it.

Free for your use, no warranty, use at your own risk, etc.

AppStartSaver will launch Mac OS X (native, classic, or mixed) applications or unix command-line executables. It can launch AppleScripts if they are compiled as Carbon applications using the Script Editor. For applications, you can specify documents to be opened; for Unix commands you can specify text command-line options to be passed to the command.

Note: You can control the opacity or transparency of the black window that the screen saver uses to blank the screen. If you set it to transparent, you'll see the regular Mac desktop and windows while the screen saver runs. This allows you to use the launched application's output as a kind of screen saver, or to monitor its progress. This does not work if you have "require password when waking from screen saver" selected in your Security settings. If that option is selected, the screen always remains blank.

Note 2: As of Mac OS release 10.8 (Mountain Lion), the default security settings will prevent you from installing software downloaded from unknown authors. When you unpack the screen saver, don't double-click to install it; instead, right-click (or control-click) on the file and select Open. Then you'll be given a chance to indicate "yes I'm sure" and the install will proceed.

Click here to download the latest version (for Mac OS 10.8, Mountain Lion).

Version history

Version 2.2 No functional changes. Internal changes so it works on Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) on 64-bit Intel machines. 
Version 2.1(b) No functional changes. Internal changes so it works on Mac OS X 10.7 on 64-bit Intel machines. 
Version 2.1 No functional changes. Internal changes so it works on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) on 64-bit Intel machines.  Won't work on earlier versions.

Version 2.0 beta

Recompiled as a Universal binary for Intel machines. Seems to work on quick testing, but I haven't had time to thoroughly exercise it yet. Apparently does not work on Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Confirmed: it didn't work on Snow Leopard (I didn't actually have 10.6 to test this until recently).  A fixed version, for Snow Leopard only, is available above.

Version 1.9

Internal changes for compatibility with Mac OS X version 1.4 ("Tiger"), beta release. No functional changes.
Version 1.8 Finished the job begun in 1.7 -- missed something, and it occasionally failed.
Version 1.7 Brings application to front after launching, by default. Option not to do so.
Version 1.6 Bug fix. Saver was sometimes crashing when trying to set options. Unfortunately this was not happening on any of my test machines - a big thank-you to the users who sent me crash logs to track it down.
Version 1.5 Opens specified documents with launched application. Displayed date on screen saver follows formatting specified in user's International preferences. (Version removed due to error fixed in 1.6)
Version 1.4 Handles Clasic and Carbon applications.
Version 1.3 Fixed reported bug in handling blank, nil, or invalid application names.
Version 1.2 Allows you to set the transparency of the screen saver's "blanking window" so you can, if you wish, see the desktop and applications instead of the blank screen.
Version 1.1 Fixes conflict between screen saver and energy saver. User can now select whether Energy Saver powering the display off should stop the screen saver.
Version 1.0 Initial release.


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