Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Review: Conky

Another 're-discovery': I had forgotten, until I booted the PartEd Magic CD, an excellent little desktop utility for displaying system information, monitors, sensors - actually displaying anything on your desktop, not just system information.

It is by far the best system monitor I've found, not just lightweight and fully customisable, but with a whole community of loyal users contributing config files, code and hacks.

A round of applause for: Conky...

The key is the config file ~/.conkyrc. The header contains colour and layout settings, the body contains the monitoring information to display on your desktop, anything from the weather to news feeds to stock tickers, with or without icons, borders, font effects and backgrounds. You get full control of appearance and window settings; windowless, transparent, moveable, the works.

My Conky is still very basic; machine ID, CPU type and temperature, RAM usage, top five processes running, disk usage, network address and throughput. This is just the start.

If you go to Ubuntu Forums, there's a thread of over 1200 pages where the Conky hackers post .conkyrc files with screenshots  (you may need to be logged in to see all the screenshots). Take a look at some of the all-singing, dancing, graphical desktop whizz-bangs of which Conky is capable. Just bear in mind, the more you tinker and load on, the more resources you may eat up!

Footnote: I know it's based on a beloved cartoon character, but the only thing I don't like is the stupid name.  RC

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