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May 25, 2010

Short presentation of my Service Monitor plasmoid

Source: http://www.documentroot.net/en/linux/service-monitor-presentation

In this article I’ll present my Service Monitor plasmoid, show what it looks like and what it can do. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about: a plasmoid is a desktop widget for KDE – Service Monitor’s purpose is to monitor the status of background processes (so-called daemons) and to start/stop them.

~ Download / Install ~

First of all, Service Monitor can be installed using the “fetch new widgets” function in KDE. This downloads and installs the plasmoid automatically. If for some reason it doesn’t work, you can still get it from kde-look.org. There you can download a zip file, which can be integrated into KDE via the command plasmapkg -i service-monitor-<version>.zip.
If you get an error saying the widget couldn’t be initialized, this may be caused by a bug that appeared since the last KDE upgrade. Read this article on how to solve it.

~ Main interface ~

Service Monitor AppletService Monitor Popup

This is what Service Monitor looks like when running on the desktop or as a popup icon in a dock bar respectively. It shows the names of the configured services along with icons indicating the running status. If you click on an icon, the corresponding daemon is started / stopped (depending on its current status).

~ Configuration ~

The config dialog is separated into three pages: service activation, source management and custom services. For most people, the service activation page will be sufficient. It shows available services which can be added to the list of active services for monitoring:

Service Monitor Services

The right list (availbale services) is separated into several sections indicating the source files which contain the service definitions. The symbols indicate the install status of the service; so if a specific service has a red circle, it is not installed and therefore will not work.

If you find a service missing, you can look for a source file containing the desired definition. For this, use the second page of the config dialog:

Service Monitor Sources

On the sources page you see the list of currently installed source files. See the leftmost button with the caption “search for new source files”? It will bring you to my XML repository on this blog, where you can download the most recent definition files and include them into the program using the “add XML source file” button.

If none of the files in the repository provide you with the sought-after service, you can define it yourself. That’s what the third page (custom services) is for:

Service Monitor Custom Services

It shows a list of self-defined services. Use the “add” button to create a new, empty record. Then edit it to your needs. When editing, the input fields become available while all list operations are blocked:

Service Monitor Editmode

After you have saved your service, you can use the button “share with others” to submit a certain definition to my blog, where I will make it available for everyone to download ( if I deem it worthy :) ). So please contribute every useful definition you can – others will benefit from it.

~ Internals ~

I have been asked if it is possible to export all custom services as a single XML file. It is, although not directly from the plasmoid. Since all source files are stored as XML, so are the custom services. They can be found in the directory ~/.kde/share/apps/plasma/plasmoids/service-monitor/contents/sources/
Be careful to backup the files if you want to manipulate them, since a XML parse error will prevent the whole file from being loaded.

If you like my widget, don’t forget to vote for Service Monitor on kde-look.org :)

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If you have found some serious grammatical mistakes, please help me to correct them. I’m from Germany and I assume my english is far from being perfect :)