Linux My Conky Configuration

1 Comment

One of my favorite things about using Linux and BSD is Conky. Conky is a free, light-weight system monitor that can display nearly any information about your system directly on your desktop. Originally a fork of Torsmo, Conky’s torsmo-based code is BSD licensed. New code in Conky has been licensed under the GPL 3.0.

Installation is easy. On a Debian-based distribution like Ubuntu:

On Fedora-based distributions:

And on BSD, if you’ve installed the Ports collection:

Or if you would prefer to add the package:

Conky is very simple to configure. Using a pre-defined set of variables in a configuration file you define what Conky should monitor and where those monitored parameters are displayed on your desktop. The look and feel of what’s displayed is highly customizable.

On most systems the default configuration file location is /etc/conky/. There you will find the sample configuration file conky.conf. You’ll want to copy it to ~/.conkyrc and then start modifying it.

When setting up my Conky configuration, I decided to dispense with the fancy network graphs and other eye candy that I’ve seen in so many others use and go with a more utilitarian approach. I settled on four areas for Conky to monitor:

  • System – basic system information showing kernel version, uptime, total RAM and Swap usage, etc.
  • Processor – shows the top five applications or processes based on CPU usage
  • Memory – shows the top five applications or process based on system RAM usage
  • Network – shows basic information regarding wired and wireless connections, including IP address, inbound and outbound speed, connection quality, etc.
  • This minimalistic approach looks good (less “cluttered”) in my humble opinion, and provides just the information I need while not straining system resources.

    One of the many cool things about Conky is its support for the use of conditional statements within its configuration file. The ${if_existing} variable, as an example, checks for the existence of a file passed to it as an argument and will display everything between ${if_existing} and the matching ${endif}. I used this particular variable to my advantage when configuring the network monitoring section. Instead of displaying information about each wired and wireless interface, even when they weren’t up, I chose instead to display information about them only if they were up by using the existence of a particular interface (e.g., eth0) in /proc/net/route.

    Anyhoo, here’s the configuration file I’m currently using. Feel free use it as is or change it to fit your needs and taste. Post your Conky configuration in the comment section.

    And here are some screenshots:

     Screenshot of Conky running on my Crunchbang linux desktop

    Figure 1

     Screenshot of Conky running on my Crunchbang linux desktop

    Figure 2

    Tags: , , , ,

    One Response to “My Conky Configuration”

    1. svaika Says:


    Leave a Reply