April 29, 2007

Gadgets? Widgets? No! Screenlets.

[Update: also for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon]
Having these nice looking and even useful pieces of mini-applications on desktop have become a trend in modern operating systems. Apple has nicely implemented the idea in OS X. Vista have them and even windows XP users can enjoy playing with them if they install Konfabulator (yahoo) or google desktop. Therefor I don't see why we, Linux users, cannot enjoy this eye candies. The matter of fact is that: we can.
Long story short:

1. In Synaptic:
Settings > Repositories: in thisrd party software tab, add this:

(for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon users):
deb http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee/ubuntu gutsy screenlets

(for Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn users):
deb http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee/ubuntu feisty screenlets

2. In Synaptic, click on reload button.

3. In Synaptic, install "screenlets"

4. In terminal, type:

screenletsd start

[update: Screenletsd isn't used for starting screenlets anymore. Please use the new 'screenlets-manager' or start each Screenlet individually from now on]

5. In your file browser go to:


6. You will see lots of folders that most of them contain screenlets. You may run a acreenlet by running the file with .py extension.

7. Screenlet will start. You may play with them as you like and arrange them on the desktop.

8. If you want to have them every time you boot up, add this line in to startup programs in sessions (which you can fine in Control Centre):

screenletsd start

You dont need to add each screenlet individually next time.
For more inormation visit:

If you have any problem get some screenlets running, visit the post about this problem.


boonder said...

I prefer osx's more integrated approach for managing these. with beryl when you switch to cube all of these are so elevated that theor edges go out of the screen. I even managed to make one of them diasappear and get stuck somewhere in the 3d cube :D
anyways do tou know what treat as widget means?

"Knows how" said...

Very true! when you run compiz instead of beryl this problem disappears.
In beryl, there is a widget plugin in which you can register your gadgets (like cairo-clock). Then gadgets are not visible all the time on desktop. If you hit a pre-defined key, desktop will fade and all gadgets will be visible and come to front. I believe it is pretty much like what we have in OS X.

foruhar said...

cool I'll check it out

foruhar said...

I updated my beryl and now there is a 'widget layer' pane there which I'm not sure was there before. Basically Seems to provide identical functionality to the mac osx dashboard its prbobaly more customizable though :)

Richard said...

W: GPG error: http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee feisty Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 3C33E735F854AFD7

what should i do with this, is it just broken source code?

Anonymous said...

Richard: enter this
wget http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee/ubuntu/F854AFD7.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Jonathan said...

Hey just to add to this blog, if any of you have a problem with a screenlet starting up (if you have it set to run automatically), you might want to check this.

For the Facebook screenlet, for example, I set it up to run automatically, but for some reason it doesn't autostart.I typed the command in a terminal that was listed under System -> Preferences -> Sessions, and it said permission denied. I checked the permissions for the file, FacebookScreenlet.py (I placed it in /usr/local/share/screenlets/Facebook), and the checkbox saying "Allow executing file as a program" was not checked. Make sure it is checked, and your problems are gone.

Sean said...

Some quick googling led me to find that this is the right .gpg (hendrikkaju.gpg):

wget http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee/ubuntu/hendrikkaju.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Worked for me =)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if hendrik's site is down/defunct? I have tried for a couple of days to add screenlets and when I use:
wget http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee/ubuntu/hendrikkaju.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

I get "ERROR 404: Not Found."

Anonymous said...

I'm very new to Linux in general..

I tried copying the following line as a third-party repository:

wget http://hendrik.kaju.pri.ee/ubuntu/hendrikkaju.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

But it wouldn't let me add it... I suppose it wasn't supposed to be added there. Can someone give me a quick walkthrough or something on how to do this please? ^-^

- Sumi

Anonymous said...

Okay.. I took a better look at the command and it seemed like something that'd be entered into the Terminal, so I did so... and now I just get the 404 Error spoken of above my first comment.

Gotit said...

Hi, I posted here on 3/8/08 and have since found that the site listed above is no longer supported. So to get screenlets give this site a try:

There are instructions and they worked for me. However, I am running compiz-fusion with a 4 sided cube and it seems the screenlets will only install on the currently viewed desktop. When I turn my cube to another desktop the screenlets go with the desktop they are on. All in all, this is ok, maybe even desirable.

There is one other small annoyance. I typically place my screenlets on the right side of my screen. But, when I log out of Ubuntu and log back in, the screenlets are all aligned on the left side of my screen. I have seen a "fix" for this behavior.

Good luck!!

Gotit said...

Just a quick update...
I found that if I select "Widget Layer", in the Compiz Config Settings Manager, the Widgets stay put on the desktop. I did not make any other config changes to the Widget Layer other than just selecting it.