HOWTO: read your computer’s vitals on your desktop using conky

hasn’t anyone noticed how difficult it is to get conky running right?
anyway, i just wanted to spare everybody – who wants to install it – the inconvenient experience of having to wast 3 hours to get it running correctly. non of the forums got it right (including both ubuntu forum threads).

looks like a choclate bar, doesn't it?
conky running in front of a brown colored desktop (GNOME/COMPIZ)


type the following at the terminal:
sudo apt-get install conky

then type: (or switch to your scripts dir)
mkdir ~/myConfigs; cd ~/myConfigs

when your done copy what i hope to be the final version of my personal copy of conkyrc into a file and name it .conkyrc:

# A comprehensive conky script, configured for use on
# Ubuntu / Debian Gnome, without the need for any external scripts.
# Based on conky-jc and the default .conkyrc.
# – tail of /var/log/messages
# – netstat connections to your computer
# — Pengo (
# modded by sigtermer at gmail
# changes are:
# – removed hda entries
# – fixed use_spacer error
# – made it more muslim friendly
# – removed fortune thing
# – fixed always on top/behind-BGI bug

own_window yes
on_bottom yes
own_window_type normal
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints below,undecorated,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
double_buffer yes
use_spacer right
use_xft no
update_interval 3.0
draw_shades no
draw_outline no # amplifies text if yes
draw_borders no
font arial
uppercase no
stippled_borders 3
border_margin 9
border_width 10
default_color grey
own_window_colour brown
own_window_transparent yes
alignment top_right
gap_x 25
gap_y 25

# stuff after ‘TEXT’ will be formatted on screen

${color orange}IN THE NAME OF ALLAH ${hr 4}$color

${color orange}SYSTEM ${hr 2}$color
$nodename $sysname $kernel on $machine

${color orange}CPU ${hr 2}$color
${freq}MHz Load: ${loadavg} Temp: ${acpitemp}
${cpugraph 000000 ffffff}
${top name 1} ${top pid 1} ${top cpu 1} ${top mem 1}
${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 orange}MEMORY / DISK ${hr 2}$color
RAM: $memperc% ${membar 6}$color
Swap: $swapperc% ${swapbar 6}$color
Root: ${fs_free_perc /}% ${fs_bar 6 /}$color

${color orange}NETWORK (${addr eth0}) ${hr 2}$color
Down: $color${downspeed eth0} k/s ${alignr}Up: ${upspeed eth0} k/s
${downspeedgraph eth0 25,140 000000 ff0000} ${alignr}${upspeedgraph eth0
25,140 000000 00ff00}$color
Total: ${totaldown eth0} ${alignr}Total: ${totalup eth0}
Inbound: ${tcp_portmon 1 32767 count} Outbound: ${tcp_portmon 32768
61000 count}${alignr}Total: ${tcp_portmon 1 65535 count}

${color orange}LOGGING ${hr 2}$color
${execi 30 tail -n3 /var/log/messages | fold -w50}

Now it’s time for the GUI:
start session thing: System > Preferences > Sessions
now add a new entry to the startup list. fill in the fields, when you come to the command field, type the following:
/usr/bin/conky -c /home/[your home dir]/myConfigs/.conkyrc

replace “[your home dir]” with the name of your home dir.

all done! the next time you start a session, you should find the cool info thing on your desktop.

note that x is using the gnome desktop and the compiz dm (defualt on ubuntu, i think), this script might and probably will not work with other “mixtures” 🙂

if you want to mod it alittle ferther, go to conky’s site and view it’s docs.


– conky starts in a window with a black background: the config file was not loaded. check the config file path (the one after -c in the startup entry), make sure it is exactly the same as the actual file path.

– conky is always over the windows or is underneath: mess around with conkyrc. in particular change the value of  own_window_type

i hope my little guide helps


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