Ubuntu – Why isn’t conky working right in Unity desktop


First of all, my desktop environment is unity. I am using it with 14.04 OS(with all recent updates). I recently installed infinity conky. I installed and followed all the instructions correctly in the readme file provided with the conky. But my conky appears distorted, like this(the background image is my own wallpaper):

enter image description here

As you would have seen there are boxes after the fonts. The fonts seem to overlap from the last status rather than replacing it(for example you can see the time). Also if you look above the analog clock you will see a half visible icon. This means I also have a transparency issue. Also when i run the conky in the terminal I see output as "Unknown varaiable". That output keeps on printing as you can see below:

enter image description here

I attempted configuring the conky with help from the chat room yesterday. This is what I tried:

  • Changed the font to "Ubuntu"
  • Disabled anti-aliasing

Both did not work. Here is .conkyrc file (it is without any edits).

PS: I tried downloading conky manager from here But it is not available for 14.04. Note that I have conky, conkyall, curl installed. Also is this just a problem with unity itself? Don't unity and conky don't go well with each other? Or is it because I am using a developer version OS that I am being confronted with this problem?

Update :- I noticed something recently. The conky doesn't appear distorted when I start it from terminal. But the moment I minimize or close the terminal, or move to another workspace the conky gets distorted as mentioned above. I thought it was running from the terminal that caused the problem and so added the script to startup applications and rebooted. Now the conky appeared without distortion but only until I opened a new window or moved to another workspace. Thus the problem seems to me to be due to unity. But is it really? If it is so, it is because of which particular aspect of unity and which file should I add when I submit a bug report about this?

Best Answer

When own_window_type override is used the distortion is caused. Now to clear the distortion one may use own_window_type desktop in the .conkyrc instead of own_window_type override . But this causes other problems like disappearance of conky when trying to work in the desktop(i.e right clicking, opening a menu from panel etc.). Therefore instead of own_window_type override one may use own_window_type dock . This won't let the conky to disappear when working on the desktop. Also to solve transparency issue one may remove the line own_window_transparent yes and then include the following lines in its place:

own_window_argb_visual yes    
own_window_argb_value 0

Actually ARGB visual can be used for real transparency to avoid the default pseudo transparency. Therefore even if there are icons in the desktop, they will be visible. Note that ARGB visual can take values 0-255 and a higher value means a greater opacity. Thus distortions can be removed and transparency can be adjusted. Thus the problem is solved. Note that the boxes after the fonts issue(mentioned and seen in the above screen shot)can be removed by removing new lines but new lines may be required for other formatting. Therefore one has no other go but to live with the boxes. Also note that the problem with the boxes is only prevalent in unity. Other desktop environments like Cinnamon don't seem to have the issue.

Credits to these sources:-

  1. Conky transparency not working
  2. http://conky.sourceforge.net/config_settings.html
  3. Help from chatroom .
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