Cortina: Yet Another Gnome Wallpaper Changer

Few years back, I always lamented that there are few and little wallpaper changer apps for Ubuntu desktop. Fast forward to today, this is no longer the case. It seems that there is another new kid in the block: Cortina.

Cortina is a simple wallpaper changer for the Gnome desktop. It does not come with any fanciful features that other wallpaper changing app don’t have, except that it is pretty lightweight and perform all its task quickly and swiftly.

Installing Cortina

In Ubuntu Karmic/Lucid/Maverick, you can install via the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cs-sniffer/cortina
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cortina

For other distros or other versions of Ubuntu, you can download the deb, or tar file in the download page.

Handling Cortina

The first time you run Cortina (Applications -> Graphics -> Cortina), it will prompt you to select the folder where you contain all your wallpapers.

Once you have selected your wallpaper folder, you will see an icon appearing at the system tray.


Right click at the Cortina icon to bring up the option page. You will see two tabs: Display and Preferences.

The Display tab is where you can see your collection of wallpapers waiting to be rotated in the desktop.


The Preferences is where you can configure the wallpaper and application settings.


You can configure Cortina to Auto start when login and to switch wallpaper on start. There is also the lapsed time before every switching of wallpapers. Lastly, there is also the wallpaper search directories where you can add/remove folders of wallpaper images.

At the bottom of the preferences pane lies two confusing buttons: Tray and Close. Most people will tend to think that the Close button is to exit the Options page, not quitting the application. This is the confusing part: the Close button actually closes the Option page as well as quitting the app. If you just want to close the Options page (without quitting the app), you will have to press the Tray button.

Seriously, I don’t see the need to have both the Tray and Close button. It’s kinda confusing and misleading. (To the developers) Having the Close button to close the Option page will do.

Update: The latest version of Cortina has fixed this issue. There is only one Close button now instead of two confusing buttons. Thanks to Eric for listening.


Cortina is not a very impressive wallpaper changer. Nor does it comes with any killer features that make it a must-have app. However, if you are looking for a lightweight application that can get the work done with speed and no hiccup, then Cortina is a good one.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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