written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 4/14/2010
Puppy Linux is one of the best Linux distributions for older computers. But this does not mean that it does not have eye-candy. There are widgets available, which make your desktop a lively place to hang out.
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Widgets for Puppy Linux
As you already know, Puppy Linux, including everything required for a full computer experience, comes around 100 Megabytes as an ISO installation. The complete installation takes significantly less than 1 Gigabyte and the selected software is really lightweight. But this is not a win-lose scenario, meaning that you practically do not compromise anything to be lightweight. Your word processor, spreadsheet applications, file manager and any other software from personal calendar to personal wiki, are still there. The beauty is that in addition to all these programs, you also have eye-candy, such as the one that Microsoft advertised for Vista; the sidebar.
Widgets are the elements that are present in Puppy's sidebar. Puppy places the sidebar at the right of the screen and uses Conky as the backbone to display the widgets. There are a lot of widgets available for Puppy, such as battery state, CPU and RAM, hard disk (total and used), network status, weather, tasks and so forth.
The sidebar comes with the default installation of Puppy. To add or remove widgets within the bar, move your mouse pointer to the right of the screen (somewhere to the right of the clock) and you will see a peeking window which says “Add widget." Click on it and a small window titled Pwidgets will open for you to add widgets to the sidebar. Select your widget from the left pane, click the plus sign to add and the up/down arrows to place the widget to the position that you want on the sidebar.
In the screenshot, you see the Puppy Linux version at the top, analog clock, hard disk space, RAM, CPU state, OSMO tasks, processes and another RAM graph on my computer. As you have noted in the Pwidgets window on the left, there are two Puppy Linux widgets. I have added them on purpose to demonstrate the effect of placing widgets; the order in the right pane is reflected on the sidebar.
In the 4.2 release of Puppy Linux (codenamed “Deep Thought") it is not easy to add widgets directly within the Pwidgets window. The “More widgets on the Web" menu item under “Help" points to a non-existent page on Puppy Linux's community website (the address is http://www.puppylinux.org/wiki/archives/old-wikka-wiki/everything-else/pwidgets). It seems that the developers could not yet figure out a place to put all the widgets and make them available. Performing a search in the website and in Google do not return healthy results for adding widgets to your Puppy Linux. Therefore in the Deep Thought release, you are somehow restricted to the widgets that are offered by the installation.
Widgets add the eye-candy that the users want on their desktops, to Puppy Linux. The implementation is nice, the widgets work out of the box and they have small configuration options in graphical windows (such as setting your location in the Weather widget) but downloading additional widgets is not possible, which is a big minus. We hope the developers will correct this issue in an update or with the next release.