Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Installing Conky on Linux Mint

Summary: This article covers installation and configuration of Conky on a Linux Mint system, installation of themes, and tweaks required for making themes work properly on Cinnamon desktop.

Conky is a light-weight system monitor that displays information on your Linux desktop. It is similar to the Rainmeter application on Windows and is included by default in many linux distributions like Knoppix, PartedMagic and Pinguy OS. Since it draws directly to an X-window, it is extremely lightweight and consumes very little system resources compared to other applications. There are a number of really beautiful themes available at DeviantArt and other sites.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Vala #3: Setting up an IDE

Compiling and running programs by typing commands in a terminal window can be a tedious task - especially when you have to do it every 5 minutes. This is where an IDE comes into the picture. Using an IDE makes the task of compiling and executing a program as simple as clicking a button.

There are quite a few IDEs which can be used for Vala programming. Plugins are available for MonoDevelop, NetBeans and Eclipse IDEs which provide syntax highlighting and code-completion. However, these plugins are not without issues. Code completion sometimes stops working for no apparent reason (MonoDevelop 2.8 with monodevelop-vala plugin) and some of the other plugins can be difficult to set up.

Till recently I was using the MonoDevelop 2.8 IDE together with the monodevelop-vala plugin. Now MonoDevelop has moved to v3.0 and the plugin for v2.8 no longer works with v3.0. If you are planning to use MonoDevelop IDE then stick to version 2.8. The monodevelop-vala plugin is available in the Ubuntu repositories.

aptitude install monodevelop monodevelop-vala

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Vala #2: Creating Simple Applications

I'll assume that you have gone through the official tutorial and that you have worked with C,C++ or C# languages before. The code samples are pretty self-explanatory. I'll be providing comments for only those code segments that are not so obvious. First lets install the vala compiler by typing the following in a terminal window:
apt-get install valac libgtk-3-dev 
I'm assuming that you are using an Ubuntu/Debian system. If you are using something else then you'll need to do a quick search on the web for installing the vala compiler for your system.

Simple 'Hello World' program

Here's what a 'Hello World' program looks like in Vala.
int main() {
    print("Hello World\n");
    return 0;

Vala #1: Introduction

Ever heard of the Vala programming language?

Its an new object-oriented programming language that has recently become very popular. It is based on C with a syntax similar to C#. It provides many high-level language contructs which are missing in a low-level language like C. It provides properties, generics, memory management, foreach loops, and a host of other features that, till now, was available only to C# developers.