Conky can be a great tool. It display's vital up to the minute system information on your desktop. Configuring your conky is endless, with simple one-liners, to elaborate widget like monstrosities. One can even go as far as to incorporate lua into their ocnky configs to go even further off the handle.

Personally, I'll take a nice one-liner. If you have virtual workspaces, can even display the current workspace which can be of use. Current music, mail, ram, temp, and so on can all be displayed.

On the flip side, there is alway's a distraction. What's my temp, cpu, ram?? It's just non-stop. Trust me, I've been there, and honestly, if you're reading this, you have been too. What are you looking at right now? So one day I had an idea to see if I could output system information through dunst. I already had dunst installed, and was using with Turpial, a twitter client. It used the notify-send syntax from the terminal for testing purposes. So why not? I looked around a bit, found something a bit similar so I tried to put something together. A bit more complicated than grabbing system information through conky. Have to find out where to grab the info, extract what you need out, and display. Grep, sed, awk; all came in handy. I am not well versed there, but I am able to read, search around, and make things work. A buddy of mine from the grill pretty much simultaneously happened to be working on something similar, posting about it, mentioning piping system information through osd_cat. New to me, but what was interesting was that it behaved similarly; get information, extract, filter, pipe, output. However, the biggest and most impressionable fact was that it did not require a daemon, running process. BAM. That was just about the whole point of this journey. Display it when you need it, hide when you don't, AND, get rid of another running process.

So I really need to thank Pidsley for that, and where I finally got to. Thanks Pids! First off,

sudo apt-get install xosd-bin

With that, create your file, grab your info and pipe it through osd_cat. RTM and google is your friend, especially since I've posted about it elsewhere. If you want it to work, you'll find your way.


man osd_cat

Sneak Peak

# OUTPUT $(echo -e $time '<<' m$mail b$batt r$mem c$cpu t$temp v$vol '>>' $music | osd_cat -p top -A center -o 1 -i 0 -d 10 -f -*-terminal-*-*-*-*-14-*-*-*-*-*-*-* -c gray )

Screenshot with it in action osd_cat in action

Last thing I do is keybind that sucker. Now at a flip of the finger(s), I get all the system information I need, and more! No extra, full-time running process. Its a win win