Conky – A System Monitor Tool for Linux Desktop

Conky is a free, lightweight, straightforward, and flexible system monitor for X that shows any type of information on your desktop or in its own window. Being cross-platform, it may also be used with Wayland and macOS.

Conky comes with more than 250 built-in objects, including support for viewing statistics about a variety of operating system components, including uptime, CPU utilization, memory consumption, disk usage, network monitoring, “top“-like process data, and uname, to name a few, is helpful. It can output to a file, your console, or even HTTP.

Additionally, Conky includes built-in support for IMAP and POP3, as well as for a number of well-known music players (MPD, XMMS2, Audacious).

It may also be customized using built-in Lua support or any of your own scripts and applications. Also, it has built-in Cairo and Imlib2 bindings for arbitrary Lua drawing. And it ships with a Docker image that is compatible with amd64, armv7, and aarch64 (also known as armv8).

There is much more you can discover about Conky if you can install it and start using it as shown below.

Install Conky on Linux

Most of the modern Linux distributions have Conky in their default or official repositories; to install it, use your package manager and follow these instructions. Keep in mind to execute the proper command for your Linux distribution:

$ sudo apt install conky       [On Debian, Ubuntu and Mint]
$ sudo yum install conky       [On RHEL/CentOS/Fedora and Rocky/AlmaLinux]
$ sudo emerge -a conky         [On Gentoo Linux]
$ sudo apk add conky           [On Alpine Linux]
$ sudo pacman -S conky         [On Arch Linux]
$ sudo zypper install conky    [On OpenSUSE]    

Monitor Linux Desktop Using Conky

You can begin using conky as soon as the installation is finished. Before that, be aware that Conky can be configured using a configuration file.

The default system-wide configuration file for Conky is stored at /etc/conky/conky.conf. At $HOME/.config/conky/conky.conf, you can also build a user-specific file (this file is not created by default).

Run the conky command as shown below to launch Conky. Keep in mind that you must use the sudo command to acquire root user rights in order to access restricted information, such as a list of processes controlled by the root user (applicable only to users listed in the sudoers file):

$ conky
$ sudo conky
Start Conky in Linux
Start Conky in Linux

The Conky user interface should show up on your Linux desktop by default oriented to the top-left corner.

Conky - Linux Desktop Monitoring Tool
Conky – Linux Desktop Monitoring Tool

To set the alignment of Conky on screen, use the -a or --alignment flag with the valid values are: ‘top_left’, ‘top_right’, ‘top_middle’, ‘bottom_left’, ‘bottom_right’, ‘bottom_middle’, ‘middle_left’, ‘middle_middle’, and ‘middle_right’.

You can also use the short version: ‘tl’, ‘tr’, ‘tm’, ‘bl’, ‘br’, ‘bm’, ‘ml’, ‘mm’, ‘mr’, ‘none’.

$ conky -a middle_middle
$ conky -a mm

Once Conky is running, further commands cannot be executed since Conky has taken control of your command line. Add the -d or --daemonize flag to start it in the background so that your terminal is free to run other Linux commands:

$ conky --daemonize 
$ conky -d

The conky process with PID 32709 has branched to the background from the preceding screenshot. This PID can be used to control the process or, eventually, to halt, kill, or terminate it.

$ sudo kill 32709

You can also import a custom configuration from the file rather than the default using the -c or --config flag as shown.

$ sudo conky --config=/path/to/config/file
$ sudo conky -c /path/to/config/file

Check the conky man page by entering the following command to view more command-line options and configuration settings:

$ man conky

We have come to the end of the Conky installation and usage guide. You may monitor various important information about your Linux desktop computer with the help of simple and user-friendly programs like Conky.

Use the form below to tell us about your experience with it.

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Aaron Kili
Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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6 thoughts on “Conky – A System Monitor Tool for Linux Desktop”

    • @ Falbe
      we have tested it on X11 server. If you are running its replacement like wayland or mir, it should work (not guaranteed). If you face problem we are here to help. Let us know.


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