Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Sneak Preview of Conky 1.8.0


I was tipped off whilst trolling the #conky channel on IRC that there would be new ARGB support in the 1.8.0 release candidate of Conky, so naturally I HAAAAD to try it out! I grabbed the latest version from here, and had a go...

First things first, I wanted to try out ARGB, in other words, REAL transparency, as opposed to pseudotransparency. For those of you who don't know the difference, pseudotransparency, rather than actually being see-through, detects what's drawn on the desktop window, and draws it as the Conky background, so it appears, on a blank desktop, as though it's clear. However, as we've seen before, pseudotransparency can cause some hiccups, if you're expecting it to behave like real transparency. It's a particular problem in KDE, for instance, which doesn't draw anything to the desktop window by default, so Conky ends up with a blank background.

In order to test the ARGB functionality, I made a little widget in Lua/Cairo that would be able to sit on top of my other windows, and here's what it came out as:
From My Little Desktop Photos
Note how you can see the corner of my window *through* the Conky widget...That's ARGB!

Some of you eagle-eyed readers may also have noticed that I said I used Lua/Cairo to draw the widget, but the last time I posted about text manipulation in Cairo, I was frustrated by the lack of a cairo_text_extents() object, which allows for centering and alignment of text. But it's now been compiled into the Cairo bindings Conky uses, so from v1.8.0, you'll be able to use it. The desktop I'm currently using has only Conky widgets on it:
From Screenshots
With the current setup, I'm starting to wonder what the benefits are of using Conky over Screenlets...I first thought that it would actually be more efficient to use Screenlets, because I thought they were compiled, but some clever clog pointed out to me that they are written in Python, so not compiled! I think the only barrier to Conky completely taking over Screenlets' territory now is the user-friendliness of Screenlets...Hm...


  1. That is really cool!

    I hope you make lots of nice things for the rest of us to work from and adapt (like the great lua scripts you've made)


  2. Did you post the code for the button somewhere? I would like to try it. Thanks !

  3. Great. You have made such a nice thing that will be loved by all who will use it. Keep it up.