Animated wallpaper. Screensavers were originally intended to prevent burning a fixed image into your CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitor. Monochrome CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes) were prone to burnout where the most commonly displayed image faded the screen phosphors. Colour screens are less susceptible. Screensavers are artistic creations that kick in after a period of inactivity to generate a moving display, thus evenly exercising the screen phosphors. They have the secondary function of hiding your screen contents when you are away from your desk. The downside is such programs can take up considerable RAM (Random Access Memory) and CPU (Central Processing Unit) and thus interfere with programs running in the background.
Screensavers often come as *.scr files. Virus and trojan writers favour them since people are generally aware they are just as dangerous as *.exe files. You can always uninstall simply by deleting the corresponding *.scr file.
You can write platform-independent screensavers in Java using JDIC.
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