by software artist Scott Draves. You may also follow me on google+ or twitter, buy art, or join me on facebook.

May 16, 2005

sheep 2.6 final released

Electric Sheep 2.6 has gone final. Soon the 2.5 server will be shut down. All users should upgrade their clients to 2.6 (beta users should upgrade to the final release too). Windows beta users should also change the server setting from to

Linux users should also install the hacked version of xscreensaver so that keyboard voting works.

Unfortunately nobody has updated the Mac OSX client, so Mac users will be cut off. I am sorry, but i don't have a Mac and so i can't do it myself (it's not hard, really, hint hint).

Highlights of changes from 2.5 to 2.6: more colors, more shapes, more reliable downloading, more responsive, faster server, fewer bugs, etc, etc.

thanks to everyone who contributed to this release! Posted by spot at May 16, 2005 02:35 PM

This screen saver is cool! Posted by: Kento ICHIKAWA at May 17, 2005 02:21 PM
Is anyone working on the OSX client yet? If not I can give it a shot. Posted by: TTimo at May 17, 2005 04:14 PM
I have not done any coding in years, but I'll also help if anyone can give me some pointers. TTimo email me if you need help. Posted by: Kinetix at May 17, 2005 08:48 PM
Noooooooooooooo! I love the sheep! Someone please save the sheeeep! Posted by: snow at May 18, 2005 01:35 AM
please bring back OSX version! Also, could someone email me when one is complete? Posted by: E Arnold at May 18, 2005 06:18 AM
Please please please somebody update the OSX version! Posted by: BigMacUK at May 18, 2005 07:10 AM
PLEASE!!! Some one update the Mac OS X Codeing. I love this screen saver and dont want to loose it. I beg you please. Posted by: Ryan at May 18, 2005 07:53 AM
please update the mac version. This is the best screensaver that i have ever seen Posted by: jon at May 18, 2005 08:47 AM
Nooooooo!!! Say it ain't so!!! Don't leave us mac geeks in the dust. We need our sheep!!! Posted by: Cap'n [k]runch at May 18, 2005 09:44 AM
I'm sure Apples were helping Sheep, especially G5's... Posted by: AGENTX1 at May 18, 2005 09:49 AM
Please don't kill the Electric Sheep for OSX! Posted by: Zippy01_05 at May 18, 2005 01:01 PM
if u kill the sheep for mac.......i'll kill myself!!!! please email me with an update. Posted by: aktionman at May 18, 2005 01:08 PM
If you are working on a port for V2.6 for Mac OS X or are interested in testing please email to be included in the Mac OS X porting and testing. -Jason Posted by: Jason Harrison at May 18, 2005 02:33 PM
Sheep love apples! keep the true creative's happy and let us have all the pretty colors. Posted by: lutefisk at May 18, 2005 03:04 PM
No OSX version? That's Baa-aa-aa-aa-aa-d. Thanks to Jason for getting it haa-aa-aa-aa-aa-ppening. Posted by: Pooey at May 19, 2005 07:09 AM
I was thinking about redoing digital sheep with the tiger core image dev kit. it would be really simple to do the mpg playback added with 3d core imaging to make the ultimate screen saver. ONly prob would be incorporating the distributed renderer Posted by: Andrew Schwartz at May 19, 2005 07:29 AM
I don't know how to code, but I'll help with anything I can. Posted by: Justin at May 19, 2005 08:30 AM
Oh, please do not lose the Sheep for OSX. If I could code, I would. But I cannot. Terribly indebted to anyone who makes the attempt!! Posted by: Walter at May 19, 2005 06:18 PM
Okay, so where do we start. If we don't get an OSX version there will have to be a revolution! Posted by: Neil at May 20, 2005 04:28 AM
It's almost worth learning objective C, or whatever it is one needs to code for Tiger, in order to get this damned blue bar off the bottom of my sheep screen. I'll buy dinner in New York for anyone who does it. Posted by: John Perry Barlow at May 21, 2005 12:04 AM
Awwww man and i just bought a new Mac. Think i can return it. Posted by: Roger Joseph at May 21, 2005 04:44 PM
I'll have a Mac OS X client ready for distribution in the next couple of hours. I'll post a link and url plus forward an email to the maintainers so they can either give me cvs access merge in the client_osx changes as required. Posted by: Jeff Sickel at May 21, 2005 05:55 PM
Jeff - you are the man! Thank the sheep god that you are tackling this for all of us - *high five's all around* Posted by: Cap'n [k]runch at May 21, 2005 08:17 PM
THANK YOU JEFF!!!!!!!!!!!! Posted by: Alex at May 22, 2005 08:19 AM
Can scott turn off that ugly please upgrade tag that ruins the sheep i already have. Posted by: me at May 22, 2005 08:21 AM
Someone please get on updating this brilliant screen saver for OSX! I'd do it myself, but i don't know how! Posted by: Jan at May 22, 2005 10:26 AM
An initial 2.6 ElectricSheep.saver and source has been emailed to spot. Still not 'blessed' but good enough to keep my cpus nice and warm! So hopefully you'll all see something posted before this weekend is done. Posted by: Jeff Sickel at May 22, 2005 12:47 PM
It's monday and my screen's getting cold. MAC update anyone? Posted by: the planet at May 23, 2005 07:44 PM
Buh! No Mac version? That is a shame for Mac users. Any comments for that? Posted by: omananda at May 24, 2005 08:57 AM
So what's up with Jeff's new version? When will we be able to download it??? P.S. Thanks Jeff:) Posted by: noxlady at May 25, 2005 05:43 AM
Don't let a Dream Die. Save Electric sheep for OSX. Posted by: Yeo Smith at May 25, 2005 12:03 PM
Mac OS X is the only hope for our galaxy! If the sheep can't graze freely in that digital field, then all is lost... I can't contribute code, but if you setup a Paypal donation to 'Fund Mac OS X eSheep' I'm _positive_ you'll get some monetary compensation to help make it happen. I for one would drop $5 immediately! Posted by: Chad at May 25, 2005 05:25 PM
Please bring some new sheep to my beloved PowerBook! I'm willing to host the finished version on my webspace if need be. will assist thee! Posted by: Tetsusaiga[iX] at May 26, 2005 04:34 PM
WHERE'S THE BEEF?!?!?! Posted by: sad at May 26, 2005 08:44 PM
It's great to hear that Jeff has an OSX V 2.6 working. If Jeff is in Reno, then likewise he's got a dinner invite down here, does not seem to be downlaodable from the electric sheep site. Seems like the onus may be back on Scott Draves. Posted by: Zippy01_05 at May 27, 2005 09:53 AM
I have successfully built the current Mac OS X client on Tiger from CVS. It seems to work. You may try it without warranty from the URL given in this posting. Please check if it runs without installing additional libraries. Posted by: Björn Milcke at May 27, 2005 03:46 PM
A beta version is available on the posted url. It is known to work on 10.4 machines without needing any additional libraries. 10.3.x support is still under development. A new README is in the works, so until then note that now typing 's' will show the status view for a brief time. Proxy support isn't up to par. Back up your existing sheep as you see fit. Posted by: jas at May 28, 2005 10:41 PM
First, Thanks to everyone who is working on this. It's really nice of you -- I'd love to see the OS X version of e.s. beat out the competition. I like that, in the new one, you have to type s to get the status. I always thought it was odd that it wouldn't go away in the old one. I mean, a screensaver isn't supposed to have any static images on it. I have it installed on 10.4.1 and it runs - however, it doesn't seem to be downloading anything. Has this aspect not been worked into the code yet? Thanks again! Posted by: H.L. at May 29, 2005 12:02 AM
Björn's version works on my machine, 10.4.1 dual g5. The download is intermittent, and keyboard voting still doesn't work on my machine. Jas' version seems to lock up System Preferences and never activates. Just giving some feedback. The new sever is producing amazing new flocks! Posted by: Justin at May 30, 2005 12:51 PM
For those testing the beta version: the preferences should now default to, if you had the earlier version ElectricSheep.saver, you'll have to manually modify the server address preference to properly pull down updates. By default, the defaults won't update if you already had the old version running. Remember, it's still 'beta'. Posted by: jas at May 30, 2005 04:19 PM
How do we download this new version for OSX? Posted by: A.J. at May 31, 2005 12:44 AM
The 10.4 beta version can be downloaded from No authenticating proxy support yet. A 10.3 version is in the works (just needs a rebuild under Xcode 1.5 to resolve a dyld linker problem). Posted by: jas at June 1, 2005 12:46 AM
I have Jeff's code building under 10.3.9 but there is a bug in the screen drawing that needs to be fixed (you don't see any sheep -- that's how bad it is). We'll let you all know when it is ready....if anyone wants a tarball for 10.3 try: You should be able to build this under 10.3 with xcode 1.1, then launch client>build>ElectricSheep.saver from the finder. If you'd like to test the saver but can't compile it, you can try the following, let me know if it does work under 10.3 (and your machine configuration): You will be able to see the pretty pretty sheep in System Preferences>Desktop and Screen Saver but I don't think you'll see much if you "test" or let the screen saver kick in. Please let me know otherwise. Posted by: Jason Harrison at June 2, 2005 06:23 AM
Thanks for making a Mac update. Working well on a Cube. Posted by: AGENTX1 at June 2, 2005 09:55 AM
Is there anything to do about sheep quality on a 16:9 monitor? I realize that we're trying to get the sheep back on their feet, but why not bring up some issues while we wait? Perhaps more than two settings for playback size: normal, 2x, full, etc... or even switch resolutions upon engaging? Any way of hiding the text at the bottom except on command? The S key trick never worked on my machine, though the transparency is a nice touch. All in all, I can only thank those who are helping to keep this project going. Posted by: Justin at June 3, 2005 12:53 AM
Jason, works here (dual G4 with 10.3.9). I don't get a preview in the prefpane, but it displays fine as a screensaver. Very nice. But I do not get any info about what's happening at the bottom of the screen. As I 'm writing this there was little crash: Link (dyld) error: dyld: /Users/mark/Library/Screen Savers/ElectricSheep 2.6b.saver/Contents/Resources/flam3-animate can't open library: /usr/local/lib/libexpat.0.dylib (No such file or directory, errno = 2) I used Backlight to display the saver in the background to be able to work on. Hope this helps. Regards, mark Posted by: mark at June 3, 2005 12:12 PM
Update: Now I also have a preview in the prefpane. Guess I wasn't patient enough before. Posted by: mark at June 3, 2005 12:19 PM
There's another beta posted at that should address some of the above dyld link errors. This one should (cross fingers) work on both 10.3 and 10.4. The status view has been changed so you now have to press 's' to bring up the status pane at the bottom of the screen. Up and down arrow still work the same as the 2.5 version for voting: you get a beep with the vote goes through -- though if you don't have audio turned on you won't hear it (something to fix for 2.6.1. Posted by: jas at June 4, 2005 03:25 PM
Tried the new beta with 10.3.9. Still no status pane :-( Voting seems to work - at least I get beeps. No crashes so far. Posted by: mark at June 5, 2005 03:08 AM
Running new version under 10.4.1 - Dual 2.0Ghz G5 (first gen.) I had better luck with the last version - this version is crashing consistently. I can't tell what is causing it. The only time it went down and seemed related to something was it crashed when I got a new email and Mail made its alert sound. There isn't any alert box or notice that the program has crashed. It just shuts off (as if you had moved the mouse or pressed a key.) But I knew it was a crash because I wasn't anywhere near the computer when it happened, and because there is a screensaver crash log. Downloads seem to be working fine, although the status bar doesn't always report downloading when it is happening. I'll often get a blink of the download status and then it will say not downloading -- but it must be because I've got a folder full of sheep. Render status shows up, haven't paid close enough attention to whether it is moving or not. If you want my crash log -- email me: modernpixel --at-- I'll gladly send it along. I would post it here, but it's really long. Great work everyone, Joe RIvera Posted by: modernpixel at June 5, 2005 10:28 AM
I just lost a folder of sheep (several hundred MB). After doing a little research on the reasons for this I found out that if I enter a value bigger than 2047 in the "Cache size" field those values get altered to a negative value e.g. entering 3000 will result in -1096 entering 4000 results in -96 ...above that the values turn positive again: 5000 results in 904 and 6000 results in 1904 Strange, isn't it? Posted by: mark at June 6, 2005 01:44 AM
running the latest beta of es on dual g4 1ghz running 10.3.9. having these problems: a) stuck on one lame animation, won't switch b) whenever I press up or down arrows, it quits out of screensaver, actually whenever I press any buttons on my keyboard, it does this. is this just something in settings? i tried looking in system prefs and couldn't find anything... any suggestions? thnx Posted by: J Rose at June 6, 2005 09:39 AM
I am having the exact same problems as J Rose I am on a dual G4 1.25 but it did work fine for a couple of days now it doesent stuck on one animation. Posted by: David at June 6, 2005 12:48 PM
this is the second time I came home, and elecetric sheep had made my comp freeze... at least this time it wasn't frozen on the same screensaver. Posted by: J Rose at June 6, 2005 08:39 PM
i think my sheep is working okay now... for some reason, it's not stalling now, and it doesn't quit the screensaver and instead makes a sound whenever I press up or down arrows. I have no clue why it would suddenly be working... It hasn't froze at all today either. My new question: HOW DOES THE VOTING WORK IF YOU ARE RUNNING DUAL MONITORS? which one am I voting on? is there a way to vote on both? each of my screens shows a different sheep. I'd really appreciate an answer. thanks so much, J Rose Posted by: J Rose at June 7, 2005 06:23 PM
I've put another beta up (sorry for the delay)-- It's got the smile and frown sheep from the linux version, and a modified cache location in an attempt to let users preserve generations (though be careful, you may want to back up your sheep before running this the first time). Posted by: jas at June 9, 2005 05:09 PM
2 odd things: Initial cache size in pref. options pane is set to 1048576000 causing an "illegal value for cache size" error when trying to exit the preferences option. Preview in screensaver control panel shows the "please be patient..." graphic off on the side of the screen. This is in no way harmful, just kind of funny: Otherwise, it began downloading and rendering like a champ right away. Thanks! Posted by: modernpixel at June 9, 2005 08:42 PM
2.6beta2 on 10.3.9: The "bug" with negative MB sizes of the cache has gone now. But: I also get the "please be patient..." graphic on my desktop. And much worse: the screensaver is just a blank black screen now - no matter how long I wait. As before there is no status pane and it cannot be evoked by pressing "S" - but doing so won't stop the saver from running. Where is the new cache directory? I would like to know if sheep are in fact downloading... Are you reading this - or should I email my feedback? Posted by: mark at June 10, 2005 03:13 AM
I should note: the odd cache size in the beta will only be there for users from prior versions (most of us?). The defaults are now for 1GB, but the conversion from the prior defaults store isn't quite right yet. So for beta2, make sure you update the cache defaults (and maybe all of the defaults if you're updating from 2.5). Posted by: jas at June 10, 2005 08:44 AM
Ditto on the new version. was drawing the 'please wait' graphic in the lower left corner when in system prefs, and ever downloaded any sheep. reinstalled previous beta. Posted by: justin at June 11, 2005 10:56 AM
I trashed the Application Support folder (after saving my sheep files of course), ScreenSaver, and plist of the old draves version, and installed beta2. Works like a charm, and looks better than ever! Thank you ever so much for your work! Honestly, so far this version of the sheep seems even more stable than the last. As for that system prefs "bug", electric sheep has ALWAYS been buggy in the osx system preferences screen saver pannel. THE SHEEP ARE BACK! THANK YOU!!!!!!! Posted by: iso at June 12, 2005 03:55 AM
Hi, just to say i followed the above advise. It seems to be the plist for screensavers, that's the problem, as soon as trashed that, ES is starting to download new ones! great!Keith Posted by: keith watson at June 12, 2005 12:29 PM
At first, when I opened the screensaver preferences panel with the new electric sheep beta loaded, the preview appeared below and to the left of the actual preferences pane. Very odd. However, after I deleted my electric sheep folder in application support (backed up first) and erased the pref file, I restarted and it worked fine. I put my saved current generation sheep in the new folder for the current generation. I'm really excited about the possibility of saving multiple generations of sheep! Also, the visual feedback when voting is really nice. Awesome work you guys!!! A couple of dumb questions: if I'm downloading a sheep and I wake my computer up, will the computer try to download that sheep again later? And what happens if I wake the computer up when it's in the middle of rendering a frame? Thanks :) Posted by: noxlady at June 12, 2005 02:48 PM
There are some slight changes afoot for the 2.6 Mac OS X version. Please be patient, but the above directions should work well for new usage (you may still need to reset the options/preferences for all of the settings to take place). That said, gen191 has produced some really nice sheep. Posted by: jas at June 13, 2005 12:59 AM
thank you for the new version of Sheep, whoever managed to do it. Keep up the good work! Posted by: canzona at June 13, 2005 09:16 AM
Everything works great with the beta posted above, except that the sheep playback seems very s-l-o-w. I have a dual monitor setup, don't know if that makes a difference. I can see the jump between frames, it's that slow. The old version played fine, and the little window that plays in the system prefs screen saver dialog plays at normal speed. I have fps=24 in my prefs. Posted by: zoetetal at June 13, 2005 05:38 PM
"There are some slight changes afoot for the 2.6 Mac OS X version." ......... Sounds exciting. Anything big and new? Or just tweaks? ......... Not that anyone asked, but the one thing I would love to see is a cache of all of the frames that have been rendered by the screensaver. Not sure it would even be possible to talk to the server in this way, but it would be great if each frame you rendered was held in a "My Renders" folder with the sheep's ID code tagged onto it. I also like to use Flam3 to render my own sheep and it would be awesome if the genome that was rendered could be added as metadata to the jpeg ......... Another great function would be the ability to play the screensaver in a window while you work. That is probably creating a whole separate program though ......... I'm not trying to be greedy jas - your hard work is much appreciated and as far as I'm concerned the latest beta is awesome and I'm happy with that. Just throwing some wishful thinking out there ......... joe Posted by: modernpixel at June 13, 2005 09:16 PM
New beta with: - minor updates to splash screen for first time users - roll-back of cache storage details (if your' running with ~/Library/Application Support/ElectricSheep/gen191/*.mpg, move your sheep up one level, remove the gen191 directory, and `touch gen191` (not really necessary, but good for saving sheep). Posted by: jas at June 14, 2005 12:16 AM
The newest version fixes my slow playback. Thanks! Posted by: zoetetal at June 14, 2005 12:01 PM
I just downloaded the last beta and installed over 2.5 and when i load the saver and hit the s key it says that it is not downloading. I than went in and deleted all references to electric sheep that i could find and than tried to reinstall and still get the same message. Is there something that i missed. I really do miss my sheep and was hoping to get them back today. thanks for getting this back up for the mac (running 10.4.1 as an FYI) Posted by: Andrew at June 14, 2005 02:27 PM
Never mind, it just took forever and a restart to get it to finally start downloading my first sheep. This is great that i can have my sheep again!! Posted by: Andrew at June 14, 2005 02:57 PM
So does this new beta no longer support saving multiple generations of sheep? Cause I really like(d) that feature... Posted by: noxlady at June 14, 2005 07:56 PM
I take full responsibility for asking Jeff to take that feature out. The problem is that most people don't pay much attention to these directories, and over time and over generations, this would just eat up their whole hard disk. And then they would become very unhappy. Someday the sheep client will come with an archive option. Until then, someone like yourself who is on the ball can backup and restore their sheep themselves.... Though you'll have to renumber them to use them all together... Posted by: spot at June 14, 2005 10:54 PM
So I would have to renumber each sheep, and do it in such a way that the new numbers hook up the way the old numbers did? Hmmm... I don't think I'm that dedicated... So while the size of the folder of each generation would be limited to the cache size, it would remain that large when electric sheep moved on to the next generation, whose folder would also be that size, as would the next? That's not so good, unless you're willing to devote an unlimited amount of space to the sheep... How difficult would it be to change the naming convention to be like that of the windows sheep, with the generation number coming first? Then sheep of multiple generations could co-exist in the same folder. I'd have to rename my old sheep, but pasting on an extra number in front is a lot easier rename than trying to fit numbers together like a puzzle. Posted by: noxlady at June 15, 2005 05:45 AM
This beta does not seem to work. Running 10.39 on a mac labtop. Tried all above run arounds and advice and have reinstalled but all I get is a blank black screen. Was running my old sheep for awhile, but now it runs nothing. I wish the owner of this software would get involved instead of passing the buck and making this sound easy. Obviously, its not. Posted by: Brad at June 15, 2005 02:29 PM
You're efforts are much appreciated! One thing that has bugged my about ES since before the 2.6 transition: playback on windows machines appears more seamless between sheep, and there is no discernible stutter in sheep that loop, but on mac I can always tell where the loop point is, and there is a split second hesitation between sheep. What might this be caused by? Posted by: Justin at June 15, 2005 05:09 PM
OK, I got my old sheep running with the new beta 2 version but I can't seem to get rid of the old message of please upgrade to version 2.6. See I am running 2.6. How do you get rid of this message? Posted by: Brad at June 16, 2005 05:52 AM
Release candidate 1 has been posted to For v2d5 users, you'll need to remember to update the options->server address to ''. Posted by: jas at June 16, 2005 10:12 PM
note: the above is for the Mac OS X client. enjoy Posted by: jas at June 16, 2005 10:56 PM
Having major problems with the control panel in Release candidate 1 It won't allow me to type in a Nickname or URL (it erases them as I am typing) It also unchecks/rechecks anything that I check/uncheck respectively. The "please be patient" image is popping on top of the panel - making it impossibly for me to hit OK and exit. I erased all previous traces of ES before installing the new one. I've also restarted to make sure it wasn't an OS bug. This is happening on Tiger 10.4.1 Joe Posted by: modernpixel at June 17, 2005 04:16 PM
modernpixel: make sure you've removed the old ElectricSheep.saver -- your symptoms sound very much like what was in beta3. Delete ~/Library/Screen Savers/ElectricSheep.saver and replace w/ the one from Posted by: jas at June 17, 2005 05:32 PM
jas: Yeah, that was my first move, nothing changed. I just did it all again to be safe, but it's still doing the strange thing. I realized that it may be less complicated than what I described though - basically the entire panel (all tabs) is resetting itself to defaults about every 10 seconds. So, not matter what you change within 10 seconds, it is back to the default. I've erased everything to do with the saver, including preferences, downloaded sheep, app support folder, the saver itself and any .tgz files (just for the heck of it.) I've done it twice and the error is still happening. Is beta3 available anywhere? I'd like to roll back to see if it still happens, but I don't have a copy and it doesn't seem to be on the server. You can email it to me at modernpixel --at-- if you'd rather not put it back on the server. Thanks much. Joe Posted by: modernpixel at June 17, 2005 09:16 PM
get it here as usual. many thanks to developers Jeff Sickel and T.J. Wood and the beta testers! If you installed a previous version you should make sure the server is now set to "" and the cache size is set to a reasonable value such as 1000 megabytes. Posted by: spot at June 20, 2005 06:32 PM
"here" means Posted by: spot at June 20, 2005 06:33 PM
argh too much cut and paste :) the Mac OSX client is officially released. get it from as usual. many thanks to developers Jeff Sickel and T.J. Wood and the beta testers! If you installed a previous version you should make sure the server is now set to "" and the cache size is set to a reasonable value such as 1000 megabytes. Posted by: spot at June 20, 2005 06:43 PM
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