Pill is a FreeBSD console screensaver implementing falling green letters. Like in the Matrix movie. Yes, yet another one.

Where to get it

You can grab the latest sources from pill's mercurial repository like this:

hg clone http://hg.tx97.net/pill

How to install it

Since pill is a kernel module you need a FreeBSD machine with kernel sources installed. To see if you have them, look at /usr/src/sys. If you don't, run sysinstall and install src/sys component. For other ways of obtaining kernel sources see the FreeBSD Handbook.

After you made sure you have kernel sources, install pill by running this under root account from the directory with pill's sources:

make install

This will build the kernel module and copy it to /boot/kernel. Don't forget to reinstall this module if you reinstall the kernel.

After you installed the module, you can load it via kldload:

kldload pill_saver

If you like how it works, set it to be loaded after reboot by adding this line to rc.conf:


If you don't like it, uninstall pill by removing it from /boot/kernel:

rm /boot/kernel/pill_saver.ko

If you only want to test how it works without installing the module, you can build and load it in place like this:

make load

After you're done, unload it via:

make unload

How to use it

Install it, load it, set the screensaver timeout via vidcontrol:

vidcontrol -t <time in seconds>

Or by adding this to rc.conf:

blanktime="<time in seconds>"

Similar software

You can check out cmatrix [1] and termatrix [2] for console software that imitates the same effect (both are available via ports). For FreeBSD screensavers check out matrix_saver [3] or screensaver from [4].


  1. http://www.asty.org/cmatrix/
  2. http://lightless.org/other/
  3. http://www.ooblick.com/software/matrix_saver
  4. http://people.freebsd.org/~abial/


pill screenshot