Remember Windows Vista? It introduced the desktop widgets that could show weather, memory usages, sticky notes, RSS feeds and later Twitter feeds and many more things. Probably the only good thing that came with Windows Vista was these desktop widgets. These desktop widgets continued in Windows 7 and Windows 8. Many of the users who just switched to Linux ask this question: do we have desktop widgets for Linux?
While you can install sticky notes in Ubuntu (and other Linux) and can use Conky Manager in Ubuntu to display system information in beautiful manner, it is not the same as desktop widgets. I meant, installing several application one by one is nit really convenient, isn’t it? So in this app of the week series, I am going to show you how to install desktop widgets in Ubuntu.
Install desktop widgets in Ubuntu Linux with Screenlets:
Screenlets is an application that consists of many desktop widgets in it. These desktop widgets are very similar to what we have for Windows. To install Screenlets in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions based on Ubuntu such as Linux Mint and Elementary OS, use the following command in terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T):
sudo apt-get install screenlets screenlets-pack-all
This command will install Screenlets application along with a number of widgets included in it. Please note that it is around 140 MB in size, so make sure you want to install it, in case you have limited data usage.
Using Screenlets for desktop widgets:
Right now I am using Elementary OS Luna. Therefore the tutorial screenshots are in Luna itself. But the procedure is same for all other Linux systems. After installing Screenlets, start the application. You will see all available desktop widgets here. You can select the one you want and click on Launch/Add to add the widget to desktop. Desktop widget thus added will be removed on next reboot. So this is more for testing purpose. If you want a desktop widget permanently added to the desktop, do check the Auto start at login option as well.
Here is a screenshot of my desktop in Elementary OS Luna with some of the widgets add to the desktop:
How does it look? Personally, I am not a big fan of desktop widgets. Moreover, in the newest desktop environments such as Unity in Ubuntu, Gnome 3 and many other, you’ll hardly see the desktop. But it is still helpful for the people who like to use the classic desktop.