No matter how much you change your desktop background image and switch distro themes, staring at the same computer's screen day in and day out can become humdrum. Conky can be used to decorate the desktop in endless ways and provide a stream of useful system monitors in the process.
Conky is a system monitor that is sometimes part of the default desktop display in Linux distros. It scans your system's hardware to match a list of possible sensors and creates a display for you to monitor on your root desktop or in its own window. Conky also can be configured to execute external programs or scripts.
This system-monitoring app displays a variety of status reports. These include CPU activity, disk usage, memory used and remaining, temperature, emails, clock, swap space and more on your desktop in various appearances.
Once you get Conky installed and configured, it works well. It is a passive display with no user interaction needed. But it is cranky to set up.
I like the concept behind the Conky Project. It makes good sense to have have system readouts on the desktop. The idea is sort of a takeoff on using widgets anchored to the desktop display. Conky, however, is not a productivity tool other than making it easy to keep tabs on the computer's performance.
Conky is almost endlessly configurable in terms of how you can have it look. But development support for Conky is sketchy at best. Installation is buggy and support is fragmented among numerous websites that offer a wide range of theme scripts to alter the appearance.
I briefly searched for Conky themes and found these Web locations to view and download Conky themes: Desktopspotting, two at Techdrivein, Linuxandlife or Linuxhaxor.
Using any of the available Conky themes lets you dress up your desktop with unusual eye candy. The displays come in all sizes, colors and shapes. Some of them fit along the right edge of the screen as a transparent overlay so the background image is still visible underneath. Other themes actually spread across the entire screen.
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