I typically use Conky to show ‘Now Playing’ info from my music player on my desktop. But recently I switched to something else — in this post I share it with you!
Fair warning: if you’re allergic to Electron, averse to bugs, and/or against editing text files to enable/disable features ad hoc, the app this post is about is …Squarely not for you!
Otherwise, read on: say salut to Sunamu.
Sunamu: All About The Bling
Sunamu is a small desktop tool designed to be blingy first, practical second.
It shows whatever the currently playing song is (it seems to work with most MPRIS compatible music player/clients, e.g., Spotify, Rhythmbox, VLC, Elisa, etc) along with lyrics (fetched from an online source) on your desktop.
And that’s pretty much it!
Its developer describes it as a “music controller whose only purpose is to look as fancy as possible on secondary displays”, and is popular with (and has some settings catering to) streamers in particular.
It displays lyrics for the playing track where possible, shows album art, has smooth transitions, and condenses down into a ‘mini’ mode when you mouse away from the widget. It can run as a windowed app (with a colourful background) I find it works best for me as a transparent desktop widget (which, helpfully, is the default setting).
You can drag the widget anywhere on your desktop, maximise it (by dragging it to the top of the display), and resize it (mouse near the edge to find the invisible resize grip).
Now, I prefer Sunamu to only show album cover art, track info, progress bar, and player controls (not all of which work in every client, btw), and not lyrics, and no interactive mini-mode. To do this I had to edit the
~/.config/sunamu/config.json5 file to add/edit the variables as per the tool’s online documentation.
I’m using this purely as eye-candy, a desktop embellishment. On Linux you can control media using keyboard keys, dock quick-lists, sound applet, etc. Putting album art and quick controls on your desktop is an aesthetic choice rather than a functional one.
As this is an Electron app it’s not super discrete on resource usage compared to Conky. But, on the flip, if you’ve got ample RAM it does look a lot nicer than most Conky config thanks to drop shadows, animations, interactive player controls, dynamic resizing, etc.
Short of a sudden and unexpected resurrection of CoverGloobus — gosh, how I miss that app — Sunamu is arguably the most attractive (not to mention interactive) alternative to traditional Conky setups.
Sunamu is open source software, highly configurable, themeable via CSS, supports Discord rich presence, and works on Windows and Linux (and it may could feasibly come to macOS too, if someone steps up). You can download the latest release from the Sunamu GitHub releases page.
For reference, I used the .AppImage provided on Ubuntu 22.04, though .rpm and .deb installers are also provided. With the latter, I found a progress bar for Spotify only appeared in the .deb version and not the .appimage. If you roll with the .deb be aware that the app will pull in a number of dependencies some of which appear in the Applications grid.