When I first installed Screenlets half a year ago, I really didn’t like it. It took up a big chunk of memory and have only a limited quantity of widgets to choose from. In addition, the software looks rough and it didn’t look well on the desktop that I beautifully customized. With the release of the new 0.1.2 version, I decided to give it another shot and see if there is any improvements over its previous version. After installing it in my Hardy, I can only say that I am more than impressed.
If free software development goes by trends, then the current era might be called the Age of Extensions. In the last few years, every application from the Mozilla family to OpenOffice.org to Gedit has created frameworks in which developers can add their own small bits of functionality to an application. In the last 10 months or so, a community has taken this trend directly to the desktop with what it calls "screenlets" -- small applications that are added directly to the desktop. The result is dozens of tools, some new and many old, that are in most cases not only themable, but also heavily customizable.
With the newest version of Screenlets, 0.1, you can now run not only Python Screenlets but also Google Gadgets, other web widgets, and web applications. If you want to get started with Screenlets, I’ve previously written a guide about installing and configuring it: OS X-Like Widgets with Screenlets on Ubuntu.
KDE 4, Windows, and Mac OS all have some sort of desktop widgets. Your Ubuntu desktop can also, using Screenlets. This post will guide you through installing and using Screenlets on Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04.
Both Windows Vista and Mac OS X include some sort of desktop widgets. Ubuntu doesn’t by default, but it’s easy to get the same features with Screenlets. Screenlets are written in Python with the Screenlet framework and drawn with vector SVG graphics. This post explains how to install, configure, and use Screenlets on Ubuntu 7.10.
Screenlets are themed mini-applications programmed in Python. They are comparable to the widgets in OSX and Windows. Screenlets are drawn with vector graphics and nice transparency effects, and therefore need a compositing window manager like Compiz.