Looking for the HOWTO? Feel free to go right to it.
If you use Vista’s sidebar gadgets, you already know the essence of Screenlets. If you use OSX’s widgets or Yahoo! widgets, you already know the essence of Screenlets. Can you guess what it is yet?
Screenlets is a framework for such gadgets and gizmos on, you guessed it, Linux. It’s not the only framework available but according to the site it’s “… possibly the best open-source widget framework out there”. Considering I never got it to work before today * (some still don’t), I can’t say for sure that’s true.
When first installed, there are quite a few ready-to-go gadgets. The usual clocks, calendars, system montitors, and the like. But there are also a couple widgets that struck me as incredibly unique and useful.
I personally never understood the use for gadgets like a system or drive space montitor, but I shouldn’t talk because I took interest in one of the most pointless, yet charming, gadgets yet: A flower.
The goal is to make it grow from bare dirt into a blossoming flower by remembering to water it daily. Over- or under-water it, and it’ll die. Quirky? You bet. I can’t get it to work though..
There are all sorts of media players available, so what makes this next one so cool might not be obvious. It looks like a normal, unassuming media player, right?
Right. But it’s for streaming radio. What makes it useful is the ability to create custom stations and store them in the “right-click” list of stations to choose from. It also includes prelisted stations from around North and South America and Europe. It may not look like much, but it’s a boon for me. The radio station in the pic (Frequence3) is what made me stop hating French. Pretty good find, if you ask me.
Finally, the reason I installed Screenlets: a desktop wallpaper clock. Yes, a desktop wallpaper clock. It doesn’t come out-of-the-box with Screenlets, so it’ll have to be downloaded separately, such as from here, and installed. It looks a bit like this, depending on the chosen wallpaper:
I’d imagine something like this could be accomplished with an animated wallpaper (yes that is available, at least for Compiz on GNOME. Check gnome-look.org), and it may look a bit cheesy, but the art it would take to both program and design the styles for this widget makes it AWESOME! 😀
I never have been much of one for extraneous eye candy, but hey.
*And now, the mini HOWTO.
I believe the reason I had trouble using Screenlets before was simply that the Screenlets folder wasn’t writable by normal users. I found out through opening screenlets-manager in a terminal and then starting a widget that none of them would start; and all the ones I tried errored out because permission was denied to the install folder.
Since I just learned today that ‘chmod’ doesn’t work for folders, I had to figure out another way. I’m using GNOME, so this may be different for you, but I fixed this by doing the following (GNOME on Ubuntu 8.10):
- Open Nautilus as root: gksudo nautilus
- Go to your home folder, and turn on “View Hidden Files” either through the “View” menu or using Ctrl+H
- Find the “.config” folder, and then locate the “Screenlets” folder
- Right-click the “Screenlets” folder, choose “Properties”
- On the “Permissions” tab, under the “Others” label, change the permissions to “Create and delete files”
- Next time you try to open a widget, it should open.
Now see, I’m single-user so this may not be secure enough for other computers. But I don’t know a lot about Linux permission hierarchy, and this worked for me.
Read Full Post »