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gdesklets: Eyecandy Monitors for Your Desktop

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 31 Oct 2005
 

Applies to:

  • SUSE Linux Professional 9.3
  • Novell Linux Desktop

Last time, I introduced an application called gkrellm, a set of system monitors for your desktop. This time, I'd like to offer something else that's very similar, but may appeal to a different taste. It's called gdesklets. It is also a collection of monitors, but varies widely in the type, size, and shape of the monitors.

First, let's make sure you have it installed. Open up YAST and search for the package called gdesklets. When it comes up in the right pane, tick the checkbox next to it. Then, click ACCEPT:

Note for users of SUSE Linux Professional 9.3: If you search for this package and it does not show up, you may want to enter some additional installation sources into YAST. A list of installation sources is available here, and an article on how to use them can be found here. Be advised: These installation sources will not work for Novell Linux Desktop, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, or any variant of SUSE Linux 10.0.

Now that we have it installed, let's run it. Press ALT+F2 and type in gdesklets and press ENTER. A small window might appear. After carefully reading it, click CLOSE:

At this point, you should see a small icon in your system tray that looks like this:

Right-click on that icon to get the gdesklets menu. From that menu, select MANAGE DESKLETS:

If the TIP OF THE DAY appears, close it. We are interested in the following window:

It is simple to install the gdesklet monitors. With this window still open, point your web browser to http://gdesklets.gnomedesktop.org/. Over at the left of the page, there is the MAIN MENU. From this menu, click on DISPLAYS & SENSORS. For this example, let's look for a monitor to display the weather. So, in the middle column of the page that appears, click on WEATHER. On the next page, click on WEATHER FORECASTS. On the last page, click on GOODWEATHER. There is a link to GoodWeather.tar.gz on this website. Drag this link into the GDESKLET SHELL window:

A window appears showing the progress of the file being downloaded:

When it's finished, you'll see an INSTALLATION COMPLETE box, which you can close. You'll also see "GoodWeather display" listed in your GDESKLETS SHELL:

To display the GoodWeather applet, just double-click it. It shows a little notification that it's loading it up. Then, it appears wherever your mouse cursor is so that you can position it on your desktop. When you have it where you want it, just left-click one time to drop it.

To interact with the GoodWeather applet, right-click on it on your desktop. A small menu appears:

The options you will usually be interested in are CONFIGURE DESKLET and MOVE DESKLET. You may occasionally wish to restart it. So, let's go ahead and click on CONFIGURE DESKLET. The CONFIGURATION window appears:

In the LOCATION CODE box, just type your zipcode. The UPDATE INTERVAL box is in minutes, so just put in how often you want to update the display. Set the MEASUREMENT UNIT to whatever you prefer. I set mine to Farenheit. At this point, you may wish to click the FONT tab and change your fonts. This is true especially if you wish to make them show up better by using a different color. Initially, I couldn't even see mine because they were set to be white, and my background was white, thereby rendering them completely invisible to me. When your preferences are set how you like, click CLOSE:

You now have the weather on your desktop, displaying in a manner that should now appeal to you:

Having the weather is great. However, that is merely a scratch in the surface of the monitors that are available. If you head back to http://gdesklets.gnomedesktop.org/, you will see that there is a whole bunch of them. Another specific set of monitors that I recommend are the FTB Monitors. It has a CPU monitor, memory monitor, system info, disk space, network monitor, and analog & digital clocks. I use it on my desktops at home and in the office. Here's what a desktop looks like with these monitors installed:


click for larger version

The gdesklets monitors are great for when you just want to know what's going on in your system. You can monitor the CPU usage, memory usage, disk usage, and network traffic volume. It's a spectacular way to keep an eye on your machine.


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