Viewing system information with Conky

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The Conky-colors [4] script simplifies the configuration in that it makes modifications to the configuration file unnecessary. Instead, you create a configuration with specified options right on the command line. However, it's recommended that you save your customized configuration file under a different name  – just in case.

To get started with conky-colors , you need to prepare your system to use the software, as shown in Listing 3. While installing the hddtemp package, the script asks you whether you want to start the service at system startup. The third step is to respond to all setup questions with yes . The example in Listing 3 specifies which sensors you want to monitor.

Listing 3

conky-colors Setup

$ sudo apt-get install aptitude python-statgrab python-keyring ttf-ubuntu-font-family hddtemp curl lm-sensors conky-all
$ sudo chmod u+s /usr/sbin/hddtemp
$ sudo sensors-detect

To download the source files from deviantART, click Download File down the right pane of the web page [4]. Then, unpack the downloaded ZIP file to the directory of your choice and open a console; use cd to change to the directory, and enter the following commands:

$ make
$ sudo make install

With a few simple commands, you can configure the system monitor. To open help pages, use the command:

$ conky-colors --help

The conky-colors --lang=en command is enough to get you started. It creates a configuration in English. The script then asks whether you want an Ubuntu or Debian-like distribution, and you respond with y or n . The program creates the corresponding configuration when you enter the command:

$ conky -c /home/<username>/.conkycolors/conkyrc

Conky-colors accepts several options. The following command extends the configuration, with output of the network load and a calendar, and applies a theme to the layout:

$ conky-colors --lang=en --network --calendar --theme=ambiance

You then need to restart Conky. The --lang=en option again specifies output in English.

Conky-colors provides different color schemes to match the output to your desktop (Figure 4). Using ./conky-colors --help you can find under Themes all the available options, among them brave , carbonite , noble , or simply blue or red . You need to select only one item with the --theme=<theme_name> option.

Figure 4: Conky-colors lets you easily create chic views of important system information.

Using Cairo

Conky-colors customization is not limited only to colors. The tool includes a theme called cairo with which you can further beautify your output (Figure 5). The following command is an example:

Figure 5: The Cairo theme displays visually eye-catching circular diagrams.
$ conky-colors --cairo --lang=en --network --theme=ambiance

Alternatives to the Cairo theme include --slim for a display across the entire screen (Figure 6). The command to activate this theme is:

Figure 6: Use the --slim option to generate this output.
$ conky-colors --slim --lang=en --w=1920 --h=1080

The sls theme not only looks nice but also provides weather information. Include your location code in the command – for example:

conky-colors --sls --lang=en --weather=<Weather code> --theme=blue

You can extract your location code from the web [5]. For example, USNY0096 is one location code for New York.

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