Using Conky on KDE – My setup

I had grown tired of the look of the system meter plasmoids in my desktop. I was looking for a more minimalistic yet complete system information.

Browsing around, I came across several desktop screenshots with Conky and KDE, and I liked them. Previously, I had the idea that it was suited only for Gnome, but these screenshots changed my mind. So I got to the task of finding a suitable configuration to replace my current plasmoids and some blink in the process.

First, I wanted a big clock. I had come across several examples with a big clock on the desktop, and I liked that. This is what I came up with.

conky2Yes, I know there’s a clock on the panel. This one was just for the looks. Here is the conkyrc file for it. conky_clock

Then, on to the real interesting setup, with system information, and weather. The system meters one weren’t hard, save for the temperature and fan rpm. I had to install lm-sensors and use hwmon statements for that.


The weather was a completely different story. The most common setup out there seems to be ConkyForecast, but it depends on a registration to which is no longer available. Googling and reading around I found a bash script that fetches the forecast from accuweather and parses the html page. It uses the fonts from ConkyForecast to display nice weather icons, so you’ll need to have it installed anyway. Here is the conkyrc.

And this is the full look.


About asoliverez

Free Software developer, KDE e.V. member, political activist at SoftwareLibreConCFK, Zen Buddhist, son of a retired physicist and politician ,and a Literature professor; husband of a beautiful QA consultant, and father of the cutest daughter

8 thoughts on “Using Conky on KDE – My setup

  1. Bob07
    16/01/2013 at 03:40

    Thanks a lot for these scripts!
    Please, can you explain how to run these two scripts at startup?

    1. Bob07
      16/01/2013 at 03:46

      More precisely, the lines below in .bash_profile are a corect way?
      pkill conky
      pkill conky
      conky -c ~/.conkyrc &
      conky -c ~/.conkyrc-clock &


      1. 16/01/2013 at 07:29

        Yes, just skip the & in the last statement. From what I’ve seen, it’s not necessary.

        1. Bob07
          16/01/2013 at 07:45

          Ok, thanks!

  2. Aaron SEigo
    16/01/2013 at 08:41

    Nitpick: this is not running “on KDE”, but rather in Plasma Desktop. KDE is the community / teams, not the software. This is an important distinction because KDE is more than a desktop shell, and if we continue to talk about it as if it were, then we just end up with more confusion such as “Conky doesn’t work with KDE” .. what does that even mean if “KDE” is also Krita, Digikam, Dolphin, etc?

    Less of a nitpick: the difficulty of getting things like conky working, while fun as a “see if i can bend it to my will”, is imho unnacceptable if we actually take the idea of making F/OSS available to everyone. The idea of rendering random windows on the desktop is also, designwise, fundamentally broken as a concept, and I don’t expect these kinds of things to continue to work as expected in the future. Wayland, for instance, removes all ability for a window to set its own geometry and other window management related information.

    Fortunately, we have QML now which lowers the bar even further. Your clock could easily have been done in QML very quickly, for instance. Every other piece of information in your conky set up is available to QML via Plasma as well.

    The question is: can we make it as easy, or even easier, to create a similar, customized view using QML? I think so ..

    Conky, and similar tools, should simply not be necessary. Time spent on making that happen would, imho, be a sensible long term investment.

    1. 17/01/2013 at 12:54

      Thanks for taking the time comment on this.
      I’ll try to write a similar widget using QML. So far, I’m having some issues with Plasmate, but I’ll try to sort it out in IRC.
      It is going to be a much larger effort than the 2-4 hours it took me to configure this and write the post. I’m sure it’s worth it, though.

  3. 16/01/2013 at 21:56

    Thanks for sharing this information regarding how you put Conky on your plasma desktop. ūüėČ I plan to mention your set-up during our podcast this Sunday (Sunday Morning Linux Review).

    I’ll also give a mention to Mr. Seigo’s observation re the use of “KDE”. However it is–KDE SC is a great set of apps and tools!

  4. David Weber
    18/01/2013 at 10:01

    Nice config.
    There is one mistake. The cpubar will always be the same combined one (like in your screenshot). To fix this, replace:
    CPU1 ${alignr}${cpu cpu1}%
    ${cpubar 4 cpu1}
    CPU2 ${alignr}${cpu cpu2}%
    ${cpubar 4 cpu2}
    CPU3 ${alignr}${cpu cpu3}%
    ${cpubar 4 cpu3}
    CPU4 ${alignr}${cpu cpu4}%
    ${cpubar 4 cpu4}

    CPU1 ${alignr}${cpu cpu1}%
    ${cpubar cpu1}
    CPU2 ${alignr}${cpu cpu2}%
    ${cpubar cpu2}
    CPU3 ${alignr}${cpu cpu3}%
    ${cpubar cpu3}
    CPU4 ${alignr}${cpu cpu4}%
    ${cpubar cpu4}