Displaying System Details On Your Desktop With Conky System Monitor On Ubuntu 7.04

Want to support HowtoForge? Become a subscriber!
Submitted by o.meyer (Contact Author) (Forums) on Mon, 2007-10-01 16:11. :: Ubuntu | Desktop | Monitoring

Displaying System Details On Your Desktop With Conky System Monitor On Ubuntu 7.04

Version 1.0
Author: Oliver Meyer <o [dot] meyer [at] projektfarm [dot] de>
Last edited 09/11/2007

This document describes how to set up the light-weight Conky system monitor on Ubuntu 7.04. Conky is a desktop widget that is able to display most diverse information like CPU temperature, current used network-bandwith or anything you want. You can customize the whole layout including colors and fonts.

This howto is meant as a practical guide; it does not cover the theoretical backgrounds. They are treated in a lot of other documents in the web.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I want to say that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1. Install Conky

Install Conky with the Synaptic package manager:


2. Configuration

There are a great many configuration options and predefined variables to customize Conky that I can't list and explain all here. A good documentation, including the manpage, FAQ, a list of Conky variables and a list of Conky config file settings, is available at http://conky.sourceforge.net/.

In some cases Conky has a problem with flickering. If you have this problem on your machine you should take a look at the FAQ - there are solutions to solve this problem.

Open a terminal and create the config-file for Conky.

Use the default configutaion:

zcat /usr/share/doc/conky/examples/conkyrc.sample.gz > ~/.conkyrc

Or use my configuration:

vi .conkyrc

# Conky sample configuration
# the list of variables has been removed from this file in favour
# of keeping the documentation more maintainable.
# Check http://conky.sf.net for an up-to-date-list.
# set to yes if you want Conky to be forked in the background
background no
# X font when Xft is disabled, you can pick one with program xfontsel
#font 5x7
#font 6x10
#font 7x13
#font 8x13
#font 9x15
#font *mintsmild.se*
#font -*-*-*-*-*-*-34-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
font arial
# Use Xft?
use_xft no
# Xft font when Xft is enabled
xftfont Bitstream Vera Sans Mono:size=8
# Text alpha when using Xft
xftalpha 0.8
# Print everything to stdout?
# out_to_console no
# MPD host/port
# mpd_host localhost
# mpd_port 6600
# mpd_password tinker_bell
# Print everything to console?
# out_to_console no
# mail spool
mail_spool $MAIL
# Update interval in seconds
update_interval 5.0
# This is the number of times Conky will update before quitting.
# Set to zero to run forever.
total_run_times 0
# Create own window instead of using desktop (required in nautilus)
own_window yes
# If own_window is yes, you may use type normal, desktop or override
own_window_type override
# Use pseudo transparency with own_window?
own_window_transparent yes
# If own_window_transparent is set to no, you can set the background colour    here
own_window_colour hotpink
# If own_window is yes, these window manager hints may be used
#own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky
# Use double buffering (reduces flicker, may not work for everyone)
double_buffer yes
# Minimum size of text area
minimum_size 280 5
# Draw shades?
draw_shades no
# Draw outlines?
draw_outline no
# Draw borders around text
draw_borders no
# Draw borders around graphs
draw_graph_borders yes
# Stippled borders?
stippled_borders 8
# border margins
border_margin 4
# border width
border_width 1
# Default colors and also border colors
default_color black
default_shade_color black
default_outline_color black
# Text alignment, other possible values are commented
#alignment top_left
alignment top_right
#alignment bottom_left
#alignment bottom_right
#alignment none
# Gap between borders of screen and text
# same thing as passing -x at command line
gap_x 12
gap_y 35
# Subtract file system buffers from used memory?
no_buffers yes
# set to yes if you want all text to be in uppercase
uppercase no
# number of cpu samples to average
# set to 1 to disable averaging
cpu_avg_samples 2
# number of net samples to average
# set to 1 to disable averaging
net_avg_samples 2
# Force UTF8? note that UTF8 support required XFT
override_utf8_locale no
# Add spaces to keep things from moving about? This only affects certain objects.
use_spacer no
# Allow each port monitor to track at most this many connections (if 0 or not    set, default is 256)
#max_port_monitor_connections 256
# Maximum number of special things, e.g. fonts, offsets, aligns, etc.
#max_specials 512
# Maximum size of buffer for user text, i.e. below TEXT line.
#max_user_text 16384
# variable is given either in format $variable or in ${variable}. Latter
# allows characters right after the variable and must be used in network
# stuff because of an argument
# stuff after 'TEXT' will be formatted on screen
$color $nodename - $sysname $kernel on $machine

 Uptime:${color #606060} $uptime $color - Load:${color #606060} $loadavg
$color CPU Usage:${color #606060} $cpu% ${cpubar}
${color #606060} ${cpugraph 0000ff 00ec00}
$color RAM Usage:${color #606060} $mem/$memmax - $memperc% ${membar}
$color Swap Usage:${color #606060} $swap/$swapmax - $swapperc% ${swapbar}
$color Processes:${color #606060} $processes $color Running:${color #606060}    $running_processes


 Down:${color #606060} ${downspeed eth0} k/s$color ${offset 80}Up:${color #606060}    ${upspeed eth0} k/s
 ${color #606060}${downspeedgraph eth0 32,150 ff0000 0000ec} ${upspeedgraph eth0    32,150 0000ff ec0000}
$color File systems: / ${color #606060}${fs_used /}/${fs_size /} ${fs_bar /}

$color Name PID CPU% MEM%
${color #ec0000} ${top name 1} ${top pid 1} ${top cpu 1} ${top mem 1}
${color #606060} ${top name 2} ${top pid 2} ${top cpu 2} ${top mem 2}
 ${top name 3} ${top pid 3} ${top cpu 3} ${top mem 3}
 ${top name 4} ${top pid 4} ${top cpu 4} ${top mem 4}

$color Mem usage
${color #ec0000} ${top_mem name 1} ${top_mem pid 1} ${top_mem cpu 1} ${top_mem    mem 1}
${color #606060} ${top_mem name 2} ${top_mem pid 2} ${top_mem cpu 2} ${top_mem    mem 2}
 ${top_mem name 3} ${top_mem pid 3} ${top_mem cpu 3} ${top_mem mem 3}


 Connections in:${color #606060} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 count}$color Connections    out:${color #606060} ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 count}$color Total:${color #606060}    ${tcp_portmon 1 65535 count}

$color Inbound Connection ${alignr} Local Service/Port
${color #606060} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 rhost 0} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767    lservice 0}
 ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 rhost 1} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 lservice 1}
 ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 rhost 2} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 lservice 2}
 ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 rhost 3} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 lservice 3}
 ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 rhost 4} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 lservice 4}
 ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 rhost 5} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 lservice 5}

$color Outbound Connection ${alignr} Remote Service/Port$color
${color #606060} ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rhost 0} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon    32768 61000 rservice 0}
 ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rhost 1} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rservice    1}
 ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rhost 2} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rservice    2}
 ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rhost 3} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rservice    3}
 ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rhost 4} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rservice    4}
 ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rhost 5} ${alignr} ${tcp_portmon 32768 61000 rservice    5}



3. Menulauncher

To make Conky accessible from the Applications menu, we create a launcher. First right click on the menubar and select Edit Menus:

Select System Tools in the new pop-up on the left side:

Click on New Item on the right side to create a new launcher. Insert/select the following:

Type: Application
Name: Conky
Command: conky
Comment: insert a comment if you want.
Icon: select one if you want.

Now you can start Conky via the Applications menu:

If you chose my configuration at step 2 it should look like this:


4 Links

Please do not use the comment function to ask for help! If you need help, please use our forum.
Comments will be published after administrator approval.
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Sat, 2008-09-27 22:11.