Thursday, 15 October 2009

A quick explanation to the Conky packages in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

Hi all...

If you currently use the Conky package from the Jaunty repos, you'll be on version 1.6.1. The latest release is now 1.7.2, and is available in the Karmic repos.

However, there are now four versions of Conky in the Karmic repos! I thought I'd give you a quick guide, so you know which one to use so you get the most out of your favourite desktop monitor.

First of all: why are there so many versions now? It does seem a little excessive! However, according to Cesare Tirabassi, the Ubuntu maintainer for Conky, "One package was really not adequate anymore to satisfy the needs of all conky users. Some users want to have as many features as possible enabled, others as little as possible, some others are happy with what is enabled by default upstream. I therefore changed the packaging for karmic: now we have 3 possible flavours of conky available." (Those three flavours are represented by four packages in the repos, one of which will eventually be deprecated.)

The four versions now available are:
  • conky
  • conky-all
  • conky-cli
  • conky-std
(First, I should point out that conky and conky-all are actually the same install...conky is in reality just a metapackage that will install the conky-all package. It is there to protect users currently using the repo conky package from upgrading and having things break. From Cesare: "Its there to avoid that people upgrade and end up with things not working anymore. Users upgrading from previous versions of Ubuntu will be upgraded to the conky-all package via this transitional package; in fact this package does nothing, it only installs the conky-all package and it can be safely removed after upgrading.")

From the package documentation, here is a brief explanation of the differences between the packages:

conky-cli is a basic package that can be useful in servers or piped with dzen2.

It includes the following support:

MPD, MOC, math, apcupsd and I/O stats
conky-std should be a good compromise for most users that do not need special features.

It includes the following support:

X11, XDamage, XDBE, Xft, MPD, MOC, math, hddtemp, portmon, wireless, ALSA mixer, apcupsd, I/O stats and lua
conky-all includes almost all of the available support:

X11, XDamage, XDBE, Xft, MPD, MOC, math, hddtemp, portmon, RSS, curl, Weather (METAR and XOAP), wireless, IBM, nvidia, eve-online, Imlib2, ALSA mixer, apcupsd, I/O stats, Lua and Lua bindings for the cairo and imlib2 libraries

It is highly advised that you upgrade to one of these packages as soon as you can, as the conky metapackage will eventually be removed.

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