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Replacing Gnome 2 System Monitoring in Unity Panel: What Are Your Options?

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In the Unity desktop environment, the top panel is locked and does not support the addition of panel applets like in Gnome 2. This presents a challenge when it comes to system monitoring. However, there are several alternatives that can effectively replace the system monitoring functionality in Unity. Here are some of your best options.

Quick Answer

Indicator Multiload, Indicator Sysmonitor, Conky, and custom Python scripts are all viable options for replacing Gnome 2 system monitoring in the Unity panel. Each option offers unique features and customization possibilities, allowing users to find the best fit for their needs.

Indicator Multiload

Indicator Multiload is a popular system monitoring tool that provides indicators for CPU, memory, network, and disk usage. It is a lightweight system monitor that is easy to install and use.

To install Indicator Multiload, you can either use the software center or run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install indicator-multiload

The sudo command is used to run the following command as a superuser or administrator. apt-get install is the command used to install new packages, and indicator-multiload is the name of the package you want to install.

Once installed, you can configure Indicator Multiload to show the system monitoring indicators you need.

Indicator Sysmonitor

Indicator Sysmonitor is another excellent option for system monitoring. Similar to Indicator Multiload, it provides indicators for CPU, memory, network, and disk usage.

You can install Indicator Sysmonitor by downloading the .deb package from the official website: https://launchpad.net/indicator-sysmonitor/+download

After downloading the .deb package, you can install it by double-clicking on the file and following the prompts.

Conky

If you’re looking for a highly customizable system monitor, Conky is a fantastic option. It can be placed on the desktop or any other part of the screen and can be configured to display a wide range of system information.

To install Conky, you can use the package manager with the following command:

sudo apt-get install conky

Again, sudo is used to run the command as an administrator, apt-get install is the command to install new packages, and conky is the name of the package.

After installing Conky, you can customize it by editing the configuration file located at ~/.conkyrc. This file allows you to specify what system information to display and how to display it.

Custom Python Script

For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, creating a custom Python script for system monitoring is an excellent option. With Python, you can monitor almost any system resource and display the information in any way you choose.

Here’s an example of a simple Python script that monitors CPU, network, and disk usage:

import psutil

# Get CPU usage
cpu_usage = psutil.cpu_percent()

# Get network usage
net_io = psutil.net_io_counters()
net_usage = net_io.bytes_sent + net_io.bytes_recv

# Get disk usage
disk_usage = psutil.disk_usage('/')

print('CPU Usage: %s' % cpu_usage)
print('Network Usage: %s' % net_usage)
print('Disk Usage: %s' % disk_usage)

In this script, the psutil module is used to get system information. The cpu_percent() function returns the CPU usage as a percentage, the net_io_counters() function returns network I/O statistics, and the disk_usage('/') function returns disk usage statistics.

To run the script, save it to a file, make the file executable with the command chmod +x filename.py, and then run it with the command ./filename.py.

In conclusion, while Unity’s top panel does not support the addition of panel applets like Gnome 2, there are several alternatives for system monitoring. Whether you choose Indicator Multiload, Indicator Sysmonitor, Conky, or a custom Python script, each option offers unique features and customization possibilities, allowing you to find the best fit for your needs.

Can I use Indicator Multiload or Indicator Sysmonitor in other desktop environments?

Indicator Multiload and Indicator Sysmonitor are primarily designed for Unity, but they can also be used in other desktop environments that support indicators, such as GNOME Shell or Xfce.

Can I customize the appearance of the indicators in Indicator Multiload and Indicator Sysmonitor?

Yes, both Indicator Multiload and Indicator Sysmonitor provide options for customizing the appearance of the indicators. You can change the color, size, and position of the indicators to fit your preferences.

Can I add more system monitoring indicators to Conky?

Yes, Conky allows you to add additional system monitoring indicators by editing the configuration file (~/.conkyrc). You can find various Conky configurations and themes online that provide different sets of indicators.

Can I run the custom Python script for system monitoring in the background?

Yes, you can run the Python script in the background by using the command nohup ./filename.py &. This will detach the script from the current terminal session and allow it to continue running even after you close the terminal.

Can I schedule the custom Python script to run at specific intervals?

Yes, you can use tools like cron or systemd timers to schedule the execution of the Python script at specific intervals. These tools allow you to automate the execution of scripts or commands at predefined times or intervals.

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