Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monitor Your Mini with Conky

Conky is a system monitor software for the X Window System. It can monitor almost all system variables including CPU, memory, swap, disk space, temperature, upload, download, system messages, email and much more. It is extremely configurable, but the setup can be difficult if you don't know the language.

To learn how to edit Conky, read the Conky Variable page or Conky man pages.

To install Conky
in a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install conky

To read the Conky man pages
In a terminal type:
man conky
* you have to install conky before you can read the man pages

- the Conky man page side-by-side with my setup

My Conky Setup

- Custom icons for each section.

- Details for CPU usage, frequency & temperature, memory usage and battery percentage remaining.

- Lists the 5 most intensive processes with CPU and memory usage.

- Hard drive and SD card details.

- Network monitor with upload and download speeds.

- It also intelligently monitors my storage and network settings. It loads SD card details only when a card is present. The network monitor can distinguish between wireless and wired connections and show the appropriate details.

This is just a simple setup. Conky can be customized to be as detailed as you want it to be. This article shows some of my favorite setups.

To run Conky use Alt+F2 to bring up a run box and type Conky
Screenshot-Run Application

To edit your conky
in a terminal type:
gedit .conkyrc

You .conkyrc file is a hidden file inside your /home folder.

If you want to use my conky file or just want some icons to work with, first download these Conky fonts and use this guide to install them.

Download my .conkyrc file

- Conky does not work well with Ubuntu Netbook Remix
- You will have to edit the mount point for your SD card under STORAGE to get it to work properly.
- If you have a swap partition and want to monitor it, add this after RAM:
${voffset 4}${font StyleBats:size=9}j${font} SWAP: $swapperc% ${alignr}${swapbar 8,80}
- If you figure out how to get HD temperature monitoring working, please leave the details in the comments below.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.


Anonymous said...

thanks! have mine working with your .conkyrc file. This site rocks!

pHreaksYcle said...

Agreed :)

Tell your friends, more views help us a lot.

Feel free to vote for us on

vinícius. said...

Which GTK theme are you using on screenshot? Thanks!

redDEAD said...


One I made. I just mixed a couple of the default ones. If you want it I'll upload it for you.

It's Dust with a the Human Window boarders and custom dark colours.

vinícius. said...

redDEAD, thanks for your reply. Can you upload it to me? I liked it a lot! Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Site voted for. :)

Anonymous said...

Here's where to get those special fonts:

Stylebats: Bullets:, when I run Conky on startup, my desktop wallpaper covers it up. I'm on 9.04 UNR; was this what you meant when you said it doesn't work well with the netbook remix? If I start it from an icon, it's just fine, though.

redDEAD said...

you have to delay loading conky at startup. I just prefer to launch it with Alt+F2.

This thread on the ubnutu forums will walk you through the process of creating a startup script to delay Conky and get to to work right:

Anonymous said...

Cool, that's pretty much what I was trying; I'm not sure why mine didn't work, but thanks to that thread it does now.

And d'oh! I just realized you had a link to those fonts in there all along.

Anonymous said...

great article, vote for the site! mine is working too, Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I still can't get conky to show my wireless info, other than the IP and up/down speeds.

I know the default version doesn't do that, so I built conky 1.7 with the wlan extenstions, and it claimed to be successful but still didn't show my wireless info.

Note that I can't see wireless info with iwlist either. Is this something with the mini9 wireless card? Do I need a special driver to get jaunty to see the ssid, frequency, etc, or am I out of luck? Does it work on your mini?

redDEAD said...


I ran into the same problem. its the wifi card/driver. iwlist or iwconfig doesn't show anything on my mini either.

Anonymous said...

I found this handy to label for example an SDHC card so that its mount point name is always the same.