Installing stuff from

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at
Sat Sep 19 21:58:40 BST 2009

Anne Wilson posted on Sat, 19 Sep 2009 10:00:33 +0100 as excerpted:

> There actually was a bug in the AutomatiK widget, which the developer
> has now fixed.  AutomatiK and Lappy, both superkaramba widgets, give a
> huge amount of information, but at the expense of a lot of screen real
> estate.  I couldn't live with either on my main working desktop.  By
> using tiny fonts and the configuration panel it's possible to tuck
> gkrellm away into a corner, where it's fairly unobtrusive, so while
> these two widgets have value in their own right, they aren't really a
> replacement for gkrellm.  FWIW, I have them on a separate activity,
> quickly available via activity-switcher bar.

FWIW, I've been offline for a week... Rule to remember:  If you're going 
to flash your BIOS, make sure your memory is good!  I had a bad stick of 
RAM that killed the BIOS flash half way thru.  Of course, that left the 
system unbootable!  Luckily I had my netbook (tho it's near shipped 
default, I've not done much with it) to work on, to browse the net and 
order a new pre-flashed BIOS chip.  A week later now, I got the chip 
yesterday, installed it, and spend all nite tracing the bad memory and 
working out BIOS settings, some of which work differently with the new 
version than before.

Back on topic...  this is something I've actually spent some time on 
recently, trying to replace all the ksysguard kicker applet graphs I had 
running in 3.5, so you're in luck as I know a decent bit about it now. 

There's actually two ways to start superkaramba "themes" in kde 4.3.1, 
neither one of which are particularly intuitive, particularly since the 
documentation hasn't caught up with the still evolving plasma merged 
interface yet.

First of all, if you want an idea of how to actually customize the theme, 
etc, links to the (old but still reasonably useful) documentation, and 
all that, Linux Magazine had a very nice magazine article on Superkaramba 
themes and a simple intro to creating your own awhile back.  The article 
remains available as a PDF.  It appears I didn't save the link, only the 
PDF, but a google on the name should fine it...  Yes, here it is:

SuperKaramba Widget Builder:

There's all sorts of links at the end of that to the various 
documentations on the Superkaramba site, if you're interested in seeing 
exactly what sort of commands, etc, are possible.  If you're like me, you 
WILL be customizing!

Now, as far as KDE4/Plasma, as I said, there's two ways to handle 
superkaramba themes, currently, the old way using superkaramba, and the 
the new way using plasma.  Each has its advantages and idiosyncrasies 
ATM, as the port isn't really complete yet.  The following is from memory 
and the specific details might be slightly screwed up (reversing which 
file type works correctly in which method, etc), but the ideas are 
accurate (compatibility isn't perfect between the methods and what theme 
package types they support, and it's that way due to the fact that we're 
effectively in the middle of merging superkaramba into plasma, ATM).

To use plasma direct, from plasma's add widget dialog, hit the Install 
new Widgets button, Install from Local File.  Choose SuperKaramba in the 
resulting dialog, and you'll get a file chooser dialog.  Point it at the  
file (make sure it's where you want it to be, not just the temporary 
download dir, as plasma will remember it there), and it should then add 
that superkaramba widget to your add widgets dialog.

Complications of doing it this way include the fact that there's no GUI 
method for removing widgets added to the add-widget dialog, if you were 
just experimenting and decided you didn't like it.  That's why I 
cautioned to ensure it's where you want it before you open it, too, or 
the entry will permanently point to the download file location and won't 
work if you attempt to move the theme elsewhere.  You'll have to find the 
location in kde's config and delete it from the text file directly.  
Also, *.skz files are a fairly new format.  Not all superkaramba themes 
are appropriately packaged, yet, and just adding the theme files doesn't 
work.  (Or did I get that reversed, and adding the uncompressed theme 
works but not adding the skz?)

Advantages include the fact that plasma integration is where superkaramba 
is headed.  Superkaramba is no longer being developed on its own, and I 
believe ultimately, this will be the only way to handle superkaramba 

The other way of doing it uses superkaramba.  Run it, and use its GUI to 
choose themes.  The superkaramba controller will appear in the tray (only 
using this method, not the above plasma method), once there's a theme 
running.  This is the only way to use themes not yet setup as skz files, 
I believe, and indeed, IIRC you can't use skz files here directly, you 
have to unpack them manually into the KDEDIR/apps/superkaramba/ subdir, 
which is the way they managed tarballs previously.

Advantages here are that it handles the legacy formats and that it runs 
fully transparent themes, instead of plasma color themes.  Of course, 
that can be a negative as well, if the desktop color is the same as the 
text color in the theme.  Also, this works better for experimenting, as 
the themes don't get permanently listed as they do in plasma's add widget 

Disadvantages include that this method would appear to be on its way 
out.  It's unlikely to be available in 4.5, and may well not make it to 
4.4, likely depending on how much other new plasma stuff is slated for 

NOW, an alternative that works better for me! =:^)  I discovered on kde-
look a plasmoid that very similar to a simple superkaramba theme by 
itself.  If you take apart a complex superkaramba theme with a whole 
bunch of different components, you'll discover that often, it's simply a 
compound theme composed of several other themes.  This plasmoid can't do 
the compound thing... all by itself anyway, but it'll do a single theme 
quite well, and you can of course run multiple instances of the plasmoid, 
each pointed at a different configuration file.

The plasmoid's name is yasp-scripted (based in turn on yasp, yet another 
system monitor, but much more user configurable thru its scripting).  
Anyone who's familiar at all with superkaramba's commands and setup, or 
even just the output, should immediately recognize many of the same GUI 
elements and script resources in yasp-scripted.  I had read thru the 
superkaramba docs and explored some existing themes a bit, but found 
superkaramba a rather bigger bite to take than I was really prepared for 
at the time.  yasp-scripted ended up as FAR more manageable bites, and I 
have several of the plasmoids running on my desktop, well, spread 
horizontally across a panel, now.  I may eventually switch to 
superkaramba themes, but this works now, and the setup is so similar, I 
expect I'll have a nice headstart from yasp-scripted when I do, just as 
studying the superkaramba docs gave me a head start on yasp-scripted, 
even if I found them a bit overwhelming in terms of setting up my own 
superkaramba themes directly.

I had intended to post all about my yasp, scripted discovery last week, 
complete with screenshot, etc.  Unfortunately, I'm a week behind, now, 
and due to a new 2.6.31 kernel issue I've also been dealing with but 
which has a solution now, once I get around to actually setting up the 
solution, a number of my yasp-scripted plasmoids are only showing errors 
ATM, so a screenshot isn't quite appropriate yet.

However, at least if you can handle a bit of scripting (your choice, 
shell, python, whatever), yasp-scripted will likely be much easier to 
setup for small outputs as it looks like you want, at least short term.  
Unfortunately, unless you can find a superkaramba theme that nearly 
perfectly fits your needs (I couldn't, here, after spending several hours 
looking), you'll need to basically learn how to program it in ordered to 
get it configured properly, and at least here, I found that a bit 
overwhelming.  yasp-scripted is just the sort of limited scope version 
that I needed to get started, and as I said, they're similar enough it 
should give me a jumpstart into superkaramba when I feel ready for it, as 
well.  So yes, I do think yasp-scripted is much more likely to be what 
you want, ATM, provided of course that you know /some/ shell (or other) 
scripting, and can't find a pre-made superkaramba theme that exactly fits 
what you want.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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