site  contact  subhomenews

Easy-to-see mouse pointer

July 26, 2023 — BarryK

I received an email from Rick C, asking if anything can be done to make the mouse pointer more visible.

There is the Pcur PET package, in the "noarch" repository, installable via PKGget, which is a big collection of mouse cursor themes. Some have larger mouse pointer, but can't say that I like them.

I took a fresh look at the subject, and have created a PET package with two programs, SXC, Simple Xcursor Creator, and SXS, Simple Xcursor selector. The PET is here:

The really good news about this PET is that it should work on all the pups, not just EasyOS.

Install it, and SXC will be in the "Utility" menu, SXS will be in the "Desktop" menu. If you want to run from a terminal, to see if there are any errors running in your pup, the executables are 'sxc' and 'sxs'.

The PET installs to /usr/local/simple_xcursor_creator:


...there are also /usr/sbin/sxc and /usr/sbin/sxs, that will launch the above scripts. The 'simple' folder has SVG images:


I didn't spend a huge amount of time creating them, so a bit rough in places. I notice line thickness is inconsistent.

What SXC will do, is generate a PET package which is a mouse cursor theme based on these SVG icons. What you can specify is the background colour, size in pixels, and alternate background so that the "busy" cursors can blink. So, if you were to choose a red colour and 28 pixels, the generated PET will be, for example, ''.

PET '' already has one theme builtin, 'simple_white_28'.

For someone who would like to hack on this, another folder can be created, with a different set of SVG icons. Use the same filenames, and set the fill-colour as #ffff59 (yellow), as 'SXC' currently expects that for the purpose of substituting the chosen colour. The 'SXC' script will find the new folder and offer to use it.

The 'SXS' program will display all available mouse themes:


...that is a long list, as the 'pcur' PET is installed. The images above are not entirely indicative of the actual pointer size, be aware of that.

SXS will offer system-wide and user-installed mouse themes. The former are in /usr/share/icons, the latter in $HOME/.icons

SXS will handle running non-root, in which case it will not allow changing the system-wide theme. In that situation, you can choose a theme in $HOME/.icons, or revert to the system-wide theme.

I find that 'simple_white_28' works best for me. The mouse pointer is big enough, not too big, and extremely easy to see, wherever it is. In theory, it could be made to blink, but that isn't necessary, not for me anyway.

This will be in the next release of EasyOS, but you are welcome to download it, to whatever pup you are running. SXS needs 'gtkdialog' and 'xcur2png', SXC needs 'rsvg-convert', 'xcursorgen', 'dir2tgz' and 'tgz2pet.

I also uploaded a couple of PETs that were generated by SXC:

...note, these install system-wide, and if not using SXS, one of them can be set to default by editing /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme, for example:

[Icon Theme]

...and remove $HOME/.icons/default if it exists, as that will override the system-wide choice.

WoofQ github commits to-date are here:

It has taken a couple of days to create this, and it has been fun. Need a day or two rest now, going on some urban hiking.   

Tags: easy