Volwheel saves the day

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

I’m a tiny step closer to a nearly picture-perfect phony Windows 2000 desktop, thanks to a little application that surfaced on the Arch Linux forums about a year ago — volwheel.

I’ve mentioned it before, but little things like this are still what make Linux amazing to me. It seems like the simplest thing in the world to want — a volume control in the system tray, adjustable icon, somewhat convenient control over the sound levels. Aside from that, I have no expectations from it.

But to be honest, it’s such an exceedingly terse and efficient little program that I can’t help but wonder what people did without it. One preference menu, accepts input from the command line or the mouse, completely happy to run in IceWM’s system tray, and I couldn’t be happier with the ability to point it at the icon for the volume controller from the WinClassic2 theme‘s icon bank.

It has some nice touches too — it does dynamic icons (in other words, icons that change as the volume level changes), it has a jump-to-mixer button that triggers a terminal window and spawns alsamixer (or another application, if you prefer that), and it takes up about as much space as a mosquito.

My only regret is that I don’t really have a use for it outside of this one machine (the Thinkpad), and so it’s somewhat underused in my household. I just don’t use panels that much, which means I don’t use system trays that much, so I don’t have a need for a panel-tray volume control … that much. :(

But if you’re one of those people who likes a taskbar or a system tray on screen, you should really check it out. It’s got all the right features, weighs less than a feather and looks good … no matter what you think “good” is. ;)

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