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Thread: Howto: Get a beautiful Conky 1.4.2 setup

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    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Howto: Get a beautiful Conky 1.4.2 setup

    Note: this thread is for setting up Conky on older versions of Ubuntu (EDGY, DAPPER and BREEZY). For current Ubuntu versions (Hardy and Ibex, etc), go to: see this How-to instead

    FOR EDGY, DAPPER, and BREEZY. NOTE: conky in current versions of Ubuntu is now fixed and up to date, and can be installed from the standard repo. afaik, you only need to install, insert a .conkyrc file similar to the one below, and afaik there is no longer a place in xorg.conf to load the 'dbe' module. Read later discussion for more info or if someone can update me at on the latest instructions for later versions I'll put them up, as a lot of people seem to use this thread.

    Conky is an powerful desktop app that posts system monitoring info onto the root window. It is hard to set up properly (has unlisted dependencies, special command line compile options, and requires a mod to xorg.conf to stop it from flickering, and the apt-get version doesnt work properly). Most people can't get it working right, but its an AWESOME app if it can be set up right done!

    With Version 1.4.2 there is no longer a need to load devilspie to hide the taskbar window.


    1. Install required dependencies (make sure the universe repo is enabled)
        sudo apt-get --assume-yes install wmctrl
    If you want to build from scratch, also install libxext-dev build-essential checkinstall

    2. Edgy: Install 'conky' from universe repo. ie:
        sudo apt-get --assume-yes install conky
    Dapper / Breezy: Download PLEASE DON'T LINK TO THIS FILE, as it's only on very limited bandwidth! ie:
    sudo dpkg -i conky_1.4.2-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
    This is a .deb file for Conky 1.4.2 now that works on Breezy/Dapper Ubuntu (the standard Debian 1.4.2 .deb doesn't work). Note that at the time of writing this how-to, the conky in the dapper ubuntu universe repository is very old and, in ways, broken.
    Note that at the time of writing, version 1.4.2 is the latest version. If a later version has been released since the writing of this guide, you can build your own conky .deb file as follows. First, go to to download the latest version.

            tar xvzf conky-1.4.2.tar.gz
            rm conky-1.4.2.tar.gz
            cd ~/conky-1.4.2
            ./configure --prefix=/usr --mandir=/usr/share/man --infodir=/usr/share/info --datadir=/usr/share --sysconfdir=/etc --localstatedir=/var/lib --enable-xft --enable-seti --enable-double-buffer --enable-own-window --enable-proc-uptime --enable-mpd --enable-mldonkey --enable-x11 --enable-portmon --enable-infopipe
            sudo checkinstall
    Then answer the relevant questions that checkinstall gives. But, as stated above, you may only need to download the source and make it if this guide has become outdated and versions after 1.4.2 have been released.
    3. Make a configuration file in your home directory (ie. /home/bob)
    gedit /home/bob/.conkyrc
    4. Paste the following code into the file and save / exit. If you know what you are doing, you can edit this file, or download other example configuration file on the net (but this one is probably the best!).
    # A comprehensive conky script, configured for use on
    # Ubuntu / Debian Gnome, without the need for any external scripts.
    # Based on conky-jc and the default .conkyrc.
    # - tail of /var/log/messages
    # - netstat shows number of connections from your computer and application/PID making it. Kill spyware!
    # -- Pengo
    # Create own window instead of using desktop (required in nautilus)
    own_window yes
    own_window_type override
    own_window_transparent yes
    own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
    # Use double buffering (reduces flicker, may not work for everyone)
    double_buffer yes
    # fiddle with window
    use_spacer right
    # Use Xft?
    use_xft yes
    xftfont DejaVu Sans:size=8
    xftalpha 0.8
    text_buffer_size 2048
    # Update interval in seconds
    update_interval 3.0
    # Minimum size of text area
    # minimum_size 250 5
    # Draw shades?
    draw_shades no
    # Text stuff
    draw_outline no # amplifies text if yes
    draw_borders no
    uppercase no # set to yes if you want all text to be in uppercase
    # Stippled borders?
    stippled_borders 3
    # border margins
    border_margin 9
    # border width
    border_width 10
    # Default colors and also border colors, grey90 == #e5e5e5
    default_color grey
    own_window_colour brown
    own_window_transparent yes
    # Text alignment, other possible values are commented
    #alignment top_left
    alignment top_right
    #alignment bottom_left
    #alignment bottom_right
    # Gap between borders of screen and text
    gap_x 10
    gap_y 10
    # stuff after 'TEXT' will be formatted on screen
    ${color orange}SYSTEM ${hr 2}$color
    $nodename $sysname $kernel on $machine
    ${color orange}CPU ${hr 2}$color
    ${freq}MHz   Load: ${loadavg}   Temp: ${acpitemp}
    ${cpugraph 000000 ffffff}
    NAME             PID       CPU%      MEM%
    ${top name 1} ${top pid 1}   ${top cpu 1}    ${top mem 1}
    ${top name 2} ${top pid 2}   ${top cpu 2}    ${top mem 2}
    ${top name 3} ${top pid 3}   ${top cpu 3}    ${top mem 3}
    ${top name 4} ${top pid 4}   ${top cpu 4}    ${top mem 4}
    ${color orange}MEMORY / DISK ${hr 2}$color
    RAM:   $memperc%   ${membar 6}$color
    Swap:  $swapperc%   ${swapbar 6}$color
    Root:  ${fs_free_perc /}%   ${fs_bar 6 /}$color 
    hda1:  ${fs_free_perc /media/sda1}%   ${fs_bar 6 /media/sda1}$color
    ${color orange}NETWORK (${addr eth0}) ${hr 2}$color
    Down: $color${downspeed eth0} k/s ${alignr}Up: ${upspeed eth0} k/s
    ${downspeedgraph eth0 25,140 000000 ff0000} ${alignr}${upspeedgraph eth0 
    25,140 000000 00ff00}$color
    Total: ${totaldown eth0} ${alignr}Total: ${totalup eth0}
    ${execi 30 netstat -ept | grep ESTAB | awk '{print $9}' | cut -d: -f1 | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr}
    ${color orange}LOGGING ${hr 2}$color
    ${execi 30 tail -n3 /var/log/messages | awk '{print " ",$5,$6,$7,$8,$9,$10}' | fold -w50}
    ${color orange}FORTUNE ${hr 2}$color
    ${execi 120 fortune -s | fold -w50}
    If the network connections graph does not work, you will have to change all "eth0" references to "ppp0" (for modem) or "ath0" (for some other devices).

    5. Add dbe module to /etc/X11/xorg.conf to reduce flickering.
    sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    find the section titled Section "Module", and add
            Load    "dbe"
    6. Go to System, Preferences, Sessions, Startup Programs and add 'conky' to the list of start up progams. Reboot. Conky will be active after your next reboot!
    NOTE: Kubuntu users ONLY make the following changes:
    Open .conkyrc and comment out the lines
    own_window yes
    own_window_hints undecorated,below,skip_taskbar
    background yes
    Since we don't use nautilus in Kubuntu, we don't need it.

    Also, to get Conky to autostart in Kubuntu, you need to add a link to the bin file (in /usr/bin) to

    For XFCE ONLY make the following changes to .conkyrc
    own_window yes
    own_window_type override
    own_window_transparent yes
    For Compiz / AIGLX users ONLY please make these changes:
    In .conkyrc
    own_window yes
    own_window_type override
    own_window_transparent yes
    own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
    Then (Compiz users) place a startup script called in your home directory:
    sleep 60 && conky;
    This would start conky after 60 seconds of your login. That way, compiz doesn't draw shadows around conky. Make sure the script is executable:
    chmod a+x
    and add it to your startup programs (menu: system->preferences->session->startup programs).
    Last edited by seldon77; January 7th, 2009 at 01:52 PM.


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