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Conky is a good example of a simple Linux tool

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Linux (and indeed Unix) has long held the philosophy of "one tool for each job, and one job for each tool." This can lead to quite a paradox for newcomers to Linux: Why are there so many tools that do similar things?

Part of the reason for this is the open-source approach. As soon as a great open-source application is available, all the hackers of the world (and here I use "hacker" in its more noble form) are able to start "messing around" with the code.

Which brings me to Conky, a great tool for one simple job: letting you know how your computer is doing on the inside.

I came across Conky indirectly. A common feature in Linux forums and publications is to have users post a screen shot of their desktop.

Like many Linux applications, Conky began as a "fork"—a project variation that split off from an existing project, in this case, Torsmo. Conky is easy to install and is also available in the Synaptic Package Manager.

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It amazes me to see all the cool configure files the users come up with to use with Conky. This is one fun application!

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