Conky is a light-weight system monitor for X. It supports all kinds of metrics – anything from CPU, memory and network, to emails, music players, and more.
It reminds me of the old days, before Gnome and KDE took over the desktop environments – I think everybody had something similar running as part of the screen background.
The installation on Fedora is trivial – conky is packaged and available with a simple “yum install conky“. The configuration, on the other hand, is not so much. GitHub repository provides quite a few fancy user configurations, but there was a change in configuration file format in the version 1.10, and things aren’t as smooth as I would like.
It’ll take a bit of playing around, but I’m sure I’ll eventually lose enough sleep over this to just give up and have something semi-decent on my screen.
About 2,500 packages (1 GB and some) were downloaded in about 40 minutes (yeah, our Internet connection could use a boost). Then rebooted and the upgraded kicked in. It took about another 40 minutes to run the process (I should get myself an SSD-based laptop next time).
The only thing I had to fix after the upgrade was the kmod-wl package, which provides the drivers for my wireless interface. Another reboot later all was good.
There were no major visual changes (I’m using MATE Desktop), but something felt a bit different. After focusing on the differences for a few minutes, I think it’s the fonts. Something is better, sharper, more polished.
Other than that, all is pretty much the same. I’ll need to use it for a while to see if I can spot any changes. Hopefully, at least a flickering issue that I got after some upgrade during the Fedora 24 life span is fixed now. It was weird. A particular application window would start to flick and refresh until clicked again. Never figured out what it was. :)
And while I’m still pretty happy with my MATE desktop, it’s nice to see people taking an effort into making things better. Two particular features caught my eye in the release announcement:
Multiple-monitor support! Each monitor is treated as an independent entity – making it great for presentation systems which use a temporary monitor or for workstations which utilize an array of monitors for various tasks.
This is super cool! Current iterations of Gnome and KDE do support multi-monitor setups, but they treat all monitors as a single work space. Using multiple virtual work spaces is supported, but one can’t switch a work space on a particular monitor without switching the corresponding work space on all other monitors. I haven’t tried Lumina Desktop myself yet, but from the announcement it looks like they support exactly that – switching monitor work spaces individually and not all together.
Personalize the initial settings for users with a single configuration file!
This is how things used to be in the old days (back when I was using AfterStep and the like). A single configuration file is super convenient when you want to move your setup from machine to machine. Both Gnome and KDE these days utilize numerous configuration files and GUI tools to manage them, which makes automating these setups with tools like Ansible very impractical.
I’m way too busy with work stuff these days to try a different desktop environment, but I will keep an eye on the Lumina Desktop Environment for now. Maybe one slow Friday I’ll give it a spin.
Here is a nice collection of screenshots (with some comments) from some really hardcore developers – people who are behind things like operating systems and programming languages, not the latest hipster startup that nobody will remember n three years. Better even, the screenshots were taken in 2002 and now, 13 years later, reiterated.
Two things I found interesting here:
Pretty much everyone calls their setup “boring”, yet it’s obviously slow functional that very little changes over time.
Some of these screenshots feature setups so basic, that for those people who are not too familiar with the applications used, it would be difficult to choose which screenshot is from 2002 and which one is from 2015.
And while I’m nowhere near that level of developer, I still have to say that my desktop hasn’t changed much in the last 13 years either. I am spending my days in the MATE Desktop Environment, which is a fork of Gnome to maintain the awesome Gnome 2 interface and not all that craziness of Gnome 3. And like many other people featured here, I mostly use the browser and a gadzillion of terminal windows for my work. I also have Vim keybindings burnt into my fingers, and I can’t imagine switching to something else ever. Here’s how it looks today.
I’m sure there must be a screenshot of my desktop from back in the days somewhere on this blog, but I don’t think I’ll find it.
After the upgrade to Fedora 22 last night, I was looking for a new desktop background image, to change the mood. Surprisingly, one of the top search results pointed me to the Microsoft website, which has a selection of some really good background images. Backyard bonfire works well for me.