Beautiful conky setup that displays detailed system information, a weather forecast and the current date and time on your desktop.

It’s a thing that has been on my personal TODO list for some years now. I installed conky when I switched to ArchLinux but never really configured and used it. Some weeks ago I took some time to get this done, and today I want to share my result.

My new conky configuration provides the following features:

  • current date and time
  • current weather and 6 days forecast
  • system information and uptime
  • CPU usage for all logical cores
  • memory usage
  • disk usage
  • up- and download rate

And last but not least, a clean and simple design.

conky-screenshot

I’m using this configuration with MATE and one known problem: The desktop icons are not visible when conky is running but they are visible when you move your mouse over them.

Installation

My setup requires the following software to be installed:

  • Conky 1.9.0
  • ConkyForecastWU 2.24

(The setup may work with other versions of those packages but these are the versions I used for testing the configuration.)

If you are running ArchLinux the appropriate packages are conky and conkyforecast from aur. You an install them using yaourt:

Furthermore you will need the following configuration files:

Simply download them to your home directory.

Weather forecast configuration

For the weather forecast, we are using Weather Underground. To be able to use their API you’ll need an API-Key. Since our conky configuration will check the weather forecast just every 30 minutes, we are happy with a free developer account.

Register at http://api.wunderground.com/ and purchase a free developer account. It doesn’t matter wich plan you choose, however with Anvil plan you won’t be off beam.

After registration you’ll receive a hexadecimal key-id that looks like this one: 1234567890abcdef.

Edit the .conkyForecastWU.config file in your favourite editor. You’ll find three lines containing YOUR_WU_KEY. Replace this value with your API key.

Furthermore you may want to update the DEFAULT_LOCATION parameter to your location if you don’t live in Vienna, Austria.

Configuring conky for your system

Conky displays the CPU and disk usage. In my case I have eight logical processors, so the .conkyrc configuration file is configured to display eight graphs. Furthermore I have a root and a home partition, you may have a different partition scheme.

To find out, how many CPUs you have, use the following command:

To find out your partition scheme, use the following command:

Now open .conkyrc in your favourite text editor and search for the lines containing the cpugraph commands. Remove superfluous commands (that means from ${ to }) or add some, if you have more than 8 CPUs.

Then find the paragraphs containing the usage: lines for all disks and adapt them for your needs.

Testing the configuration

Before enjoying the new conky setup, you’ll have to create the following cache directory:

After that you can test the conkyForecast configuration by just executing conkyForecastWU. It should output the current temperature for your location.

Now everything should be prepared and ready to run. Execute conky and check out the result on your desktop. You may want to update some ${offset} and ${voffset} commands to fit your screen size. This configuration is written for 1920×1200.

Autostart with MATE

To automatically start the configuration with MATE open System, Preferences, Startup Applications and create a new entry with the command conky. After the next login, conky should automatically start.

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