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#1 2012-03-27 06:55:23

Registered: 2012-03-27
Posts: 1

Analog Clock on XFCE desktop (cairo-clock vs. Opera widget)

I'm not posting a bug or problem.  Just my experience these past few days -- an FYI for anyone else who has been fussing about with this.

I am a Linux user of "intermediate" experience.  I use Arch (i686) with XFCE on a moderately old Acer Aspire 2920Z laptop -- and I was trying to get an analog clock on the screen without "cairo dock" (which I hate -- all I want from it is a clock, anyway).

Puppy Linux uses "xonclock" which is nice AND in the AUR -- but it no longer compiles due to a "freetype" version dependency issue.  Xonclock is no longer being developed, so it likely won't ever work again.

I also tried "adesklets" with "adeskclock" (also both in the AUR),  They compiled, but did not run -- and I didn't think I'd be posting here or I would have noted why they weren't running.  Strike two.

Two things did work however and one surprised me:  Cairo-clock (which is in the community repositories) and the Opera Widget "Analog Clock" (advertised as "Simple Analog Clock" or something close to that -- it's their most popular analog clock widget).

The thing that surprised me is that the Opera widget consumes considerably less CPU power than cairo-clock -- and looks better too, in my opinion (you click on the center dot to change skins).

I ran TOP under identical conditions, once using cairo-clock and once using the Opera widget.  I did it several times to be sure.  I saved the output as text and compared them in Meld -- here's a link to my screenshot of THAT:  As you can see, cairo-clock uses three times the CPU resources -- though somewhat less memory.

It took me a while to figure out that you use the "Always underneath" option in the Opera widget to keep it from having a window button in the panel -- but now, I seem to have a happy ending to this little Linux story (except that I hate Opera as a browser).

If anyone wants to educate me as to why I came to the wrong conclusions here, I'm all ears and I like to learn.


#2 2012-03-27 11:51:20

Forum Moderator
From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 15,804

Re: Analog Clock on XFCE desktop (cairo-clock vs. Opera widget)

Thanks for sharing your experience - and welcome to the forums.

Technical note: I believe your link goes to your own private google file, not a publicly shared file - that link asks me to login to see anything.

Last year I went through a similar search for a good simple low-resource using analog clock.  I eventually went with xclock - once I did a complete overhall in .Xdefaults to get it to look half decent.  But I also learned, while experimenting with cairo-clock, that changing the update interval has a massive impact on its resource use.  I threw cairo-clock away sever times as I couldn't believe when I started it up it used (and continued to use) around 15% of my CPU and a large hunk of memory.  But by changing the refresh interval to something more reasonable, I got the resource use down to be comparable with many other clocks.

I still ditched cairo-clock for xclock once I got the later to fit nicely with my openbox setup.


#3 2012-03-27 15:55:10

From: France
Registered: 2007-02-12
Posts: 1,199

Re: Analog Clock on XFCE desktop (cairo-clock vs. Opera widget)

I also tried cairo-clock and changed for xclock after I saw high cpu usage with cairo-clock.
xclock has unnoticeable cpu usage, and its aspect is configurable.
Here is how it looks presently:
xclock image


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