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Monitoring made cool with Conky

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Published on: June 1, 2009 by Faheem P.

Monitoring made cool with Conky


Conky is a system monitoring support tool.It is an application which can help you with monitoring servers from a unix based system like any linux OS, or FreeBSD.

Conky was developed as a replacement for the much unmaintaned project – torsmo. torsmo is still in use for light weight requirements.

There are a large number of monitoring support applications available then why conky. Conky is a highly configurable system monitoring application which works in the X desktop environment (unlike the popular web-based ones) and at the same time a light-weight system monitoring support application.

Conky can monitor a number of system variable like CPU status, Memory usage ( both RAM and hard disk usage),Types of processes and their counts, Network statistics, File systems ,uptime and a lot more.

The below monitoring setup will help a newbie to get conky working in the simplest manner.

Installation of Conky in Ubuntu

The simplicity of Ubuntu makes Conky installation a piece of cake for any newbie. The main steps here involve the following:

1) Install Conky in the remote system you wish to monitor (say server A) with the command:
# sudo apt-get install conky

2) Next we install the ‘xauth’ application with:
# sudo apt-get install xauth

3) Open the ssh config file /etc/ssh/sshd_config and enable X11Forwarding with:
X11Forwarding yes

4) Now from the system within which you wish to get the monitoring details execute the following:

ssh -X <remote system username>@<remote system IP>

5) Now a window will be displaying all the necessary monitoring details on the desktop.

Detailed configuration of Conky:

Conky saves its configuration details in the file:


Sample configurations are available inside the file

To decompress it use:
gunzip -d /usr/share/doc/conky/examples/conkyrc.sample.gz

place the contents of the resulting file inside the default conky configuration file.

Sample Configuration file for a single processor system
background yes
use_xft yes
xftfont Sans:size=8
xftalpha 1
update_interval 1.0
total_run_times 0
own_window yes
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_type desktop
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
double_buffer yes
minimum_size 200 200
maximum_width 200
draw_shades yes
draw_outline no
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders yes
default_color white
default_shade_color black
default_outline_color white
alignment top_right
gap_x 12
gap_y 12
no_buffers yes
uppercase no
cpu_avg_samples 2
override_utf8_locale no

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}SYSTEM ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}$sysname $kernel $alignr $machine
File System: $alignr${fs_type}

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}PROCESSORS ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}${cpugraph cpu1}
CPU1: ${cpu cpu1}% ${cpubar cpu1}

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}MEMORY ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}RAM $alignc $mem / $memmax $alignr $memperc%

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}DISKS ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}/ $alignc ${fs_used /} / ${fs_size /} $alignr ${fs_used_perc /}%
${fs_bar /}
SWAP $alignc ${swap} / ${swapmax} $alignr ${swapperc}%

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}TOP PROCESSES ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}${top_mem name 1}${alignr}${top mem 1} %
${top_mem name 2}${alignr}${top mem 2} %
$font${top_mem name 3}${alignr}${top mem 3} %
$font${top_mem name 4}${alignr}${top mem 4} %
$font${top_mem name 5}${alignr}${top mem 5} %

${font sans-serif:bold:size=8}NETWORK ${hr 2}
${font sans-serif:normal:size=8}IP address: $alignr ${addr ath0}
ESSID: $alignr ${wireless_essid ath0}
Connection quality: $alignr ${wireless_link_qual_perc ath0}%
${downspeedgraph ath0}
DLS:${downspeed ath0} kb/s $alignr total: ${totaldown ath0}
${upspeedgraph ath0}
ULS:${upspeed ath0} kb/s $alignr total: ${totalup ath0}


Conky – a light weight system monitor for Ubuntu Linux Systems

Category : Linux

Faheem P.

Faheem P.

Faheem enjoys learning new technologies and loves to implement cutting edge solutions. He is one of the most active member in various technical forums and is a familiar face in various brain storming sessions. He takes great pride in being an explorer and the best thing you can be sure about in his room is the backpack!!

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