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The King is dead, long live the king!

Have you ever wondered what became out of KSensors? I did. Many times. Well the sad but inevitable fact is: its dead :-(. And as far as I can tell there are no real successors standing in the doorstep. All the sensor apps available for KDE4 are hardly replacements. Most of them are plasmoids and I’d rather consider them toys then the real deal. Because of this I decided to bring in KWatchman (hope the name isn’t taken. Couldn’t find anything though). Essentially KWatchman aims to be a full replacement for KSensors. Showing sensor data on a dashboard, in KDE4 sys tray and ringing “the bell” if something is wrong. As of now the only thing that exists for this project is the idea, an (empty) git repository (http://gitorious.org/watchman) and an (mostly empty) IRC channel (#kwatchman @ freenode ). Before I begin on writing any code however I’d like to ask YOU about this ;-). So: What do you think about this idea and more important what do you think should be changed / made better as with KSensors? As this will not be a fork of KSensors but a complete rewrite I’d like to hear any Idea about this. Just drop me an E-Mail, write me in IRC or post a comment to this blog entry. I’m happy about any comment. Thx.

33 Responses to “The King is dead, long live the king!”

  • nobody says:

    I’m using collectd with kcollectd instead, which seems to be a better solution than ksensors in most aspects.

    • The problem with kcollectd is that it has no sys tray integration (has it?) for KDE what was the most important feature of KSensors in my eyes. I’d especially like an app that has only one Icon in the tray and “shifts” through various sensors in time. I have enough tray icons as it is and like to keep it small but powerful.

      • Diederik van der Boor says:

        How about running the plasmoid in the systemtray?
        IMHO it would make sense to make the plasmoids better.
        Could this also be a path to take?

        p.s. your site has SSL errors…

        • Yea I though about that. But ultimately the plasmoid approach itself is in my way here. I’m looking for something that resides in my sys tray (not the bar). Plasmoids can only be put into the bar (iirc). Also the current plasmoids are at most as far away from being what I want as a complete new app would be. They are meant to show one maybe at best 2 sensors and that in a non accurate way. Like I said they are aimed to be more toy then tool. Nice eyecandy but not much more.

          P.S. I’m aware of the SSL problems. See my previous post about trust ;-).

  • Marco says:

    I don’t know ksensors, but I love the idea to have something to monitor sensor data.

    What I would like to see is:
    – CPU temperature for each core
    – temperature of the graphics card
    – fan speed of the fans connected to the mainboard (cpu, chassis)
    – fan speed of the graphics card
    – voltage is nice, but not a “must have”, at least for me

    Maybe this can lead to a more KDE way of accessing this data. It could also be nice to write log files in the background (using nepomuk?) to provide a nice looking history (graphs). Even if there are some plasmoids around they look cluttered and you should think about providing a plasmoid to access the data in a unified way.

    I don’t know if there are some tools for tweaking e.g. the fan speed, cpu clock. Maybe later this could also included to provide an “expert tool”.

    Nevertheless I like the idea!

    • I’m not sure about the graphic card stuff.. that highly depends on the card and especially on the available tools to get the data (I’m not going to write my own sensor access stuff πŸ˜‰ ). I’d have to have a look at the nepomuk stuff but I guess keeping a log of the data shouldn’t be too hard to do and is most definitely a good Idea. Making the recorded data accessible for other apps / plasmoids should be rather easy too. I’d just have to publish some interfaces to d-bus that can be used to access all recorded and current data in a sensible way. Concerning the manipulation of fan speed and cpu clock etc. I’m not even sure this is easily possible. Because almost every mainboard manufacturer is cooking its own stuff here. I’d rather realize that in an other project like a library and use it in KWatchman later. This way other projects could also make use of it. But thats science fiction for now ;). First display it, then manipulate it :-P.

    • I second all of that. And *please* keep it simple until everything runs perfectly. From there you can start adding more features, integrating other tools, plasmoidising, making skins and the whole shaboong — but these are *not* essentials. Also: please have *user friendly documentation* available from the start, remembering that most users are no geeks and prefer plain language. That too should initially be simple: just in English and an HTML file will do. Good initiative, so make a good start!

      • The way I see it and the way it was planed this will be (at first) just KSensors for KDE4. I’m aware of some of the nice functionality and possibilities of KDE4 but that is after all what I didn’t want and don’t like with all the tools that are available. So yes.. it will be a simple native sensor & alert app at the beginning. Not even much fancy stuff but just plain and working. But of course some planing has to be done first so I don’t have to wast endless time later to make nicer stuff possible. Because of this I want to get all the ideas so that I can form a proper foundation for days to come ;-).

  • Mamy Ratsimbazafy says:

    I never used Ksensors but to keep an eye on various sensors data I use conky. And while waiting for the ARGB support, I used the YASP plasmoid.

    • As mentioned before: not in systray ;-). But thx for the advise. However I’d like to keep my Desktop clean for working and only look at the sensors if I need to or if they blink like hell because something is cooking ^^.

  • Btw if anyone want to CONTRIBUTE in this efforts.. DONT HOLD BACK AND DONT BE SHY :-P. I can use ANY help.. especially in the area of look and feel and graphics stuff I’m not all that good. So if you’re good in that area feel free to contact me (even if you only want to make a nice looking icon for the app) ;-).

  • Ivan says:


    I support the idea.

    But, you are mistaken in one thing – plasmoids *can* be in the tray just the same as in the panel, on the desktop etc.

    Examples are the device notification and yawp plasmoids (I guess there are others as well)


  • Alan Dacey says:

    Please drop the K in the name! Been there, done that.
    Great idea, I’ve missed being able to monitor my hardware.

    • Is there a legal / psychological problem with the K in the name or do you just don’t like the name? Its obviously going to be a KDE app and I obviously will try to get it into the KDE git repository one day to make it more offical. So whats the problem with the K? Or is it just considered uncool this days :-P?

  • Achim says:

    as Ivan mentioned plasmoids can be in systray. And plasmoids can to even more for you.

    Usaully they are splitted in a data engine that is independent of the gui. So ‘maybe’ you can use an existing one and just add another plasma frontend.

    Additinal advantage you have an active co-worker for free when you join an existing plasmoid. No one-man show.

    There is the remote plasmoid feature, So you get ‘monitor’ other computers for free.

    nevertheless, if you prefer ‘from scratch’, fine.


    • I don’t totally disregard the possibility to use plasmoids. But my experience in plasmoid programming is quite limited. I’m not even sure if plasmoids can do all the things I want. The way I’ve seen (and felt) plasmoids is that they are merely small and fast written apps that are fancy but thats it. What I want to write is more like a feature behemoth that can be made into a mouse is necessary. As a user I’m not fond of most plasmoids and as a dev I’m experienced enough in that area to make any logical choice. However using an existing project I wouldn’t really know which. We’d have to rewrite most of it anyway and it would mean explaining every rewrite to the original author. I guess in the end that would only slow the project down. However those are only my thought and they are mostly based on my current view of the situation which is as you can see somewhat limited.

      • Ivan says:

        If you think that plasmoids are just toys, see:
        1. Search and launch activity (the netbook application launching interface)
        2. Lancelot
        3. Well, there are some other more complicated ones I guess, but I can’t remember

        The benefit you’d get is that you’re not limited to an icon in tray, but you can do more complicated stuff as well. BTW, if you’d like to use QWidgets and not plasma, you can always implement the main UI /the old way/ and just implement the sensor showing part as a plasma applet.

        • As you’ve surely noticed I’m more of an “old-school” guy ;-). I’ll definitely have a look at plasmoids though. Sounds worth it. I’ll put the data collecting stuff somewhere else anyway I guess so it can be accessed from anywhere if thats possible. So using plasmoids as UI really is an option.

          • Ivan says:

            I was old-school as well, but those guys at the plasma gang were rather fun so I joined them.

            Anyhow, if you have any questions, join #plasma and plasma-devel mailing list.

            Usually, things are separated into dataengines (data model) and applet (view). Maybe you can even use some of the existing data engines for your project.


  • TheBlackCat says:

    Have you considered writting it in a way that it can be used as a KCM module and integrated into kinfocenter?

    • I haven’t thought about it yet no. I’m not sure if I wouldn’t neglect the usability of the standalone interface if I did so. However since a lot of ideas appeared so far suggesting different interfaces for this and the background would ultimately be the same for all of those, maybe a split solution would be the best way to go. This way we could provide a standalone app for the power user (like KSensors), a widget for the normal user (like bubblemon but more configurable) and a KCModule for System usage. I’m not sure though how I would approach that. Running the backend as a daemon surely is overkill. KDE has services for the background right? I’m walking into (for me) absolutely unknown territory here. But I’m very happy about the positive and inspiring responses I got so far.

  • Go for it ! I’m happy someone is taking that challenge. I’vemissed an app like that since some time.
    I certainly would recommend making it possible to run a script when a given condition is verified (like overheating for exemple), like sending an e-mail…


    • Thx me too ;-). Thats why I started this. I’m sick of all the half cooked solutions I found on the web. So I’m finally doing my own (hopefully not half cooked) app ;-). Alerts will of course be a major part of this Application. Running a scrip from alerts (or doing other cool things like using kde notifications) is just the logical next step. So this will be part of the app in any case (sooner or later).

  • lefty.crupps says:

    I keep getting SSL errors for your site (www.time-shift.de)

    Anyways, sounds like a cool idea and I hope to see a useful plasmoid!

  • Ernest N. Wilcox Jr. says:

    I used Ksensors for a long time (unril KDE4), so even if the first release of Kwatchman is a functional duplicate of Ksensors, I will be deliriously happy! I will watch for the first ereasonably stable release.

    • I’m not sure how much my idea is linked to this bug report. As stated there they want a SYSTEM monitor that monitors CPU and Mem usage. KWatchman will eventually show this stuff.. but it aims to be a much more complete solution. I already have some nice ideas how to handle different in- and outputs and how to handle alert and logging.

  • Artem S. Tashkinov says:

    A good idea … which is now dead.

    Sad πŸ™

    • Actually its not dead. I just don’t have the time at the moment to work on it. But when I get some free time I’ll try to come a bit further with my planing so that I can start to actually write stuff. Help of course is always appreciated ;o)