Amiga cursors for Linux and Windows

Just what you’ve always wanted!  Now you can re-live the glory days of the late 80s when the Commodore Amiga computer was the most advanced multimedia computer you could get without buying a special effects workstation.

Since I use a replica Commodore 64, and since I have the interface themed to look as Commodore/Amiga-like as possible, I also tried to find some nice Amiga cursor themes for Windows (which I run virtually) and Linux.  They weren’t easy to find, and hardly complete, but I found some.  The Linux theme mimicked the Workbench 3.1 and later cursors, and looked alright I guess.  But I was more fond of the Windows cursors I found because they had that hardcore oldschool original Amiga look.  The only problem was, well, there was only the red pointer and the light blue “zzz” wait cloud, really.  There were some variations, like a question mark next to the pointer for the rarely used help cursor, and a graphically combined pointer and wait cloud.

As nice as it looked, it was incomplete.  The window resize and move cursors needed to be filled in from other cursor themes, and they did not match the Linux theme I had found at all.

So I got to thinking.  And I realized that if I wanted to have Amiga cursors that were identical across the Linux and Windows windows of my desktop, I would have to take inspiration from a great source indeed.


I’ll make my own Amiga cursors… with blackjack and hookers!

Windows cursors are relatively easy to make.  They are basically 32 x 32 bitmap files with some extra data on where the “hotspot” is.  I did some googling and found out that X11 (Linux) cursors are pretty much the same, only they use the png file format as a basis.  So I loaded up MS Paint (is there anything it can’t do?) and got to work in making some highly-pixelated 3-colour cursors for my needs.

To save them as Windows cursors, I pasted the bitmap image into IrfanView and saved the image as an icon (.ico) with a transparent background.  IrfanView lets you choose the transparency colour while saving.  After this, I just changed the .ico extension to .cur.  As for the hotspot… I haven’t got a clue how to do this without downloading a program to do it.  And to be honest, I don’t really care.  The default hotspot is the top left (coordinates 0 x 0) and all of the cursors are plenty usable this way.  Not perfect, but usable.

For Linux, things were a bit more complicated.  Saving instead as a png file with transparency, I then had to create a text file to go along with each png file.  This text file contains information about the size of the image, the hotspot coordinates, and the name of the image file to be used.

The program that creates the actual cursor is called xcursorgen.  And there is no GUI for it, so I had to crack my knuckles and use my awesome looking (see below) terminal.  But after some typing, I generated all of the cursors I needed.

Technically, the correct next step would have been for me to create a cursor theme text file and then be able to select the cursor theme from my settings manager that way.  But I decided to just open my file manager as root and manually replace the old Amiga cursors with the new ones.  After a reboot, I have my new custom Amiga cursors, and they look awesome.

So if you want to download and try them out yourself, here they are.  There are both Windows and Linux versions in that file, along with the png images and text files I used to create the Linux versions.  It’s only 5kb, go ahead and give them a whirl.

And if anyone knows a great free method of defining the hotspot for Windows cursors that doesn’t involve downloading some trial program, let me know.