Use widgets in a hidden layer (Compiz+Screenlet)

Shortcuts (user friendly) can be determinant to use or not some available services on a given system. Mainly when you are in a hurry. A good manner to enhance the usage of the desktop is using widget to frequent tasks, such as calculator, notebooks, performance management and so. Screentlet provide this issue to Gnome (with compiz). However, put many widgets on the desktop can also reduce your work space. So a good alternative is use a hidden Widget Layer provided by CompizConfig Manager, with a shortcut to show/hide, such as Macintosh Dashboard widget (if I’m not mistaken). It can be installed with apt-get tools:

sudo apt-get install screenlets compizconfig-settings-manager

After install you should activate the Widget Layer in CompizConfigManager (System/Preferences). The default shortcut to show/hide it is F9. After it create your widgets and set it as widget (Right click on widget/Windows/Widget) to move it to Widget Layer.

Follow some previews:

See ya

8 Responses to Use widgets in a hidden layer (Compiz+Screenlet)

  1. gt says:

    I feel that having widgets displayed by pressing F9 is really illdefined. My need would be to have widgets on a special layer in order to be always present, not to hide when I click “Show Desktop” or whatever I might do. So pressing F9 would be allright to hide widgets if needed, but not to show them. They should be shown all the time. Can I make it this way by some configuration options? I tried, at least I couldn’t. I cannot turn of “Hide on click” (widgets still hide when I click on Gnome panel) and other options work at all (screen is still faded, although I turn it off).

  2. emanuelvianna says:

    Hi gt,

    If I understood correctly, what you want is to set the widget layout to be displayed by default, right?

    Look at the compiz manager if there is an option to it. It would be really useful this feature! I’ll take a look at it soon.


    • gt says:

      Hello Emanuel,

      Sorry for writing so unclearly. Actually I had also problems with making all widget plugin’s configuration options to work, but after relogin they luckily started functioning. That’s what my message was about, I judged too quickly about the plugin, the options work allright.

      But you understood correctly. I want the widgets layer to be shown by default and I do not want widgets to hide when “Show Desktop” is clicked. I think there’s no option to show widget layer by default, but maybe I can set widgets not to hide with “Show Desktop” plugin. But it seems there’s no easy way though.

      Thanks for your comment

  3. gt says:

    I’ve found that all I need is to ucheck from gconf: /apps/compiz/general/allscreens/options/hide_skip_taskbar_windows. I don’t even need special widgets layer in this case.

  4. Emanuel says:

    I forgot to mention one step in this post. The standard package of compizconfig-settings-manager do not provide the widget layout feature. So you should install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra to make it work.

    I’ve tested here the hide_skip_taskbar_windows and it seems a good way to manage widgets too. Thanks Guido for share it!

  5. Sam DeRenzis says:

    Actually I’m confused, if I use Google Gadets or Conky within the Compiz Widget Layer will there only be 1 showing up on the desktop or still 4? I suppose it’s 1 desktop unless I switch the wallpaper plugin on eh? But then desktop icons vanish.

    So well how do I put Conky in the widget layer and make it appear on only 1 desktop?

    • emanuelvianna says:

      Sam, I’ve never try to combine GGadgets/Conky with Screenlets, seems cool!

      I’ll take a look as soon as I can and give you a return.

      See ya!

  6. emanuelvianna says:


    First thanks for share GGadgets + Scrennlet feature (under Install/Convert Web Widget)! I tried it and, despite some of them doesn’t work fine, the idea is really cool! I look for Conky + Screenleet integration but I didn’t found a way to do it.

    SysMonitor is a native screenlet which is based on Conky. I tried unsuccessfully to customize SysMonitor (the furthest I got was find the its python path: /usr/share/screenlet/SysMonitor).

    If I understook correctly, your doubt is if, after launch a given screenlet, it will be showing on all workspaces or just in current workspace, right? If you press Windows key + E, you will see all available workspaces at once and the running screenlets will be shown only in the active workspace. Using widgets layers, you can bring widget layer (press F9) to wherever workspace you are.

    See ya!

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