Personalize your desktop with Conky

Screenshot of Conky

One of the most attractive features of Ubuntu and most GNU / Linux distros, is its ability to be customized to the taste of each user. There are countless ways to customize our desktop, but in this post we will focus on a very useful as well as aesthetic widget.

I'm talking about Conky, a widget that displays information such as temperature of our processors, Wi-Fi signal strength, RAM usage, and many other features. In this post we will see how we can install Conky, how we can do it so that it runs automatically at the beginning of the session, and we will also see a few configurations for our Conky. We begin.

As we have said, the beauty of Conky resides in that through him you can access all kind of information. From emails or the use of your hard drive, to the speed of the processors or the temperature of any of the devices on your PC. But the best of all is that Conky allows you to see all this information on your desktop in a very aesthetic and visually pleasing way, through a widget that you can customize yourself.

To begin with, it is convenient that first let's install Conky. We can do it by executing the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install conky-all

Once installed, we can also install the «lm-sensors» program that will allow Conky to get the temperature of the devices of our PC. To do this, we execute this command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install lm-sensors

Once we have installed these last two packages, we have to execute the following command so that "lm-sensors" detects all the devices on our PC with:

sudo sensors-detect

Well, at this point we already have Conky installed. Now we can write a script for Conky to run automatically at the start of each session. To do this, we have to create a text file in the / usr / bin folder that is called, for example, conky-start. To do so, we execute:

sudo gedit / usr / bin / conky-start

A text file will be opened in which we have to add the necessary code for Conky to run at the beginning of each session:

#! / Bin / bash
sleep 10 && conky;

Now, we save the file and give it the execution permissions with:

sudo chmod a + x / usr / bin / conky-start

Now, we have to look for the application "Startup Applications", to add the script that we created earlier. Once we have opened the application, a window like the following one will appear:

Screenshot from 2015-11-08 16:50:54

We click on "Add" and a window like this will appear:

Screenshot from 2015-11-08 16:51:11

  • Where it says First Name we can put «Conky»
  • Where it says Order, we have to click on the "Browse" button and look for the script we have created called conky-start located inside the / usr / bin folder. As an alternative, we can directly write / usr / bin / conky-start.
  • En Comment, we can add a small descriptive comment of the application that will be executed at the beginning.

Now Conky will run automatically every time you log in.

If you still can't see the Conky widget on your desktop, you just have to reboot the system or directly run it from the terminal by running the program name itself (conky). Once you can see the widget looking like on your desktop, you may not like the way it looks by default. For this reason, we will show you how you can edit the Conky font to give it the appearance that you like the most.

Conky's source file is found as a hidden file inside our user's directory. This file has the name ".conkyrc". To see the hidden files and directories within a directory, we can do it graphically by pressing Ctrl + H or by executing the command:

ls -f

If the file ".conkyrc" does not appear, we have to create it ourselves with:

touch .conkyrc

Once we find it or believe it, we open it and there we will have the font that comes by default in our Conky or an empty file if we have created it ourselves. If you don't like that configuration, you can copy the font that I use here!.

And, as you can see, on the internet we can find thousands of configurations just by searching "Conky configurations" or "Conky configurations" in Google. Once we find the one we like, we will only have to download the source and paste it into the ".conkyrc" file that we mentioned earlier. Likewise, in Ubunlog we want to show you a list of the best configurations for Conky obtained from Devianart:

1

Conky, Conky, Conky by YesThisIsMe.

 

2

Conky Config by didi79

3

Conky Lua by despot77

 

4

My Conky Config by londonali1010

In addition to downloading configurations that are already written, we can create our own or modify existing ones, since Conky is Free Software. We can see Conky's source code at your GitHub page.

Hopefully this post has helped you customize your desktop a bit more. Now with Conky our desktop will have a much more pleasant appearance besides that we will be able to have at hand information that at some point can be very useful.


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  1.   Sergio S said

    I tried it once and I liked how it looked, it gave another distinctive touch to the desktop. The problem is that he just always had to go to the desk to be able to check any of those numbers. And the truth is that I have hardly used the desktop for a long time, I have a couple of documents of urgent use and a folder, but nothing else. To be tidy I have the structure of my files in other places and no longer on the desktop (I stopped using it since I left Window $).
    So this Conky service was not very practical for me, I tried other options and decided on "System load indicator", I have it in the top bar in my Ubuntu and with that at a glance I can see how everything is going. It has a lot less options than Conky, but what I really use it for 😉

  2.   Rodrigo said

    Hi Miguel, thank you very much for this article, since it was the one that helped me the most to install Conky, for the detailed step by step. I installed the same conky as you. But the difference is that mine appears with a black background. How do I have to make it transparent like yours?
    Thank you very much.

    1.    Miquel Perez said

      Good morning Rodrigo,

      If as you say you have used the same Conky as me, it should appear with the transparent background. Anyway, open the .conkyrc file located in your home directory and see if the following label appears on line 10:
      own_window_transparent yes
      This way Conky should get you with the transparent background. Check if instead of "yes" you have "no", and if so, change it.
      Thanks for reading and best regards!

      1.    Rodrigo said

        Good morning Miguel,
        As always thanks for taking the time to reply, not everyone does. Regarding what we talked about above, in line 10 of the script it appears as it should be:
        own_window_transparent yes
        but still it still appears with the black background. Anyway, I give it as a basket case.
        On the other hand, I wanted to ask you how I have to make the weather appear for me.

        Thank you!

  3.   Mushroom-kun said

    Hey, I get the following error when starting conky from the terminal
    «Conky: missing text block in configuration; exiting
    ***** Imlib2 Developer Warning *****:
    This program is calling the Imlib call:

    imlib_context_free ();

    With the parameter:

    context

    being NULL. Please fix your program. »

    I hope you can help me!

    1.    Miquel Perez said

      Goodnight,

      First of all, have you created the .conkyrc file in your home directory correctly?
      If so, the first error is informing you that it cannot find the TEXT tag within the .conkyrc source file. Check if before formatting the data that will be displayed on the screen, you have the TEXT label set. If you cannot solve the problem, it is best to copy your configuration in Pastebin and pass me the link to review the code.
      Thanks for reading and best regards.

  4.   raul antonio longarez vidal said

    Hello, how do I paste it? I already opened the file, I copied it and pefo as it is or I remove the spaces, sorry but it is still my first time and the truth is that the ugly black box does not beat me XD

  5.   Daryl Ariza said

    Hello, I have a problem with conky manager v2.4 in ubuntu 16.04 of 64bits and it is that I want one of the widgets that it brings to stay on my desktop forever, I mean that at each start the widget is there but I can't find someone like me it can help ?? first of all, Thanks

  6.   Liher Sanchez Beldad said

    Hi Miguel, I'm Liher, the author of the Conky you show here, I'm glad you liked it. Greetings colleague

  7.   Daniel said

    hello good, is that when you open the text file and put (#! / bin / bash
    sleep 10 && conky;) gives me this problem ** (gedit: 21268): WARNING **: Set document metadata failed: Set metadata :: gedit-spell-enabled attribute is not supported
    that I can do?

  8.   asd said

    It didn't help me, it didn't even start

  9.   Mixterix AL (Mixterix) said

    It did not work for me, it seemed that my ubuntu had a win32 lag lol I had to delete it

  10.   netizen said

    Hey.
    I did see the widget just like yours, but the only problem it presents is that it does not monitor the network. What I can do? Since I am connected to the network. And another question: In case you no longer want it, how do I uninstall it?

    Thanks for your time.

  11.   Gabriel M. said

    Does anyone know the name of the conky in the first image of the post ???

  12.   developer said

    Extraordinary post, it is the first time that I read something that I understand 100% about conky, the posts about this interesting topic are always very confusing, therefore, I thank you. However, I have a problem with your configuration which I find very objective elegant. The detail is that the intensity of the wifi signal does not appear, can you help me with this please. Thank you in advance for your time and support. Greetings!

  13.   Yo said

    Your pastebin configuration fails:

    conky: Syntax error (/home/whk/.conkyrc:1: '=' expected near 'no') while reading config file.
    conky: Assuming it's in old syntax and attempting conversion.
    conky: [string «…»]: 139: attempt to index local 'settings' (a nil value

  14.   Lucho said

    Good comrades, although this is an old thread, this conky configuration is very good, nowadays conky uses another more modern syntax, I leave you the same version of Miquel's conkyrc, updated for the current lua syntax:

    conky.config = {

    background = false,
    font = 'Snap.se:size=8',
    use_xft = true,
    xftalpha = 0.1,
    update_interval = 3.0,
    total_run_times = 0,
    own_window = true,
    own_window_class = 'Conky',
    own_window_hints = 'undecorated, below, sticky, skip_taskbar, skip_pager',
    own_window_argb_visual = true,
    own_window_argb_value = 150,
    own_window_transparent = false,
    own_window_type = 'dock',
    double_buffer = true,
    draw_shades = false,
    draw_outline = false,
    draw_border = false,
    draw_graph_borders = false,
    minimum_height = 200,
    minimum_width = 6,
    maximum_width = 300,
    default_color = 'ffffff',
    default_shade_color = '000000',
    default_outline_color = '000000',
    alignment = 'top_right',
    gap_x = 10,
    gap_y = 46,
    no_buffers = true,
    cpu_avg_samples = 2,
    override_utf8_locale = false,
    uppercase = false,
    use_spacer = none,

    };

    conky.text = [[

    #Here begins the configuration of the displayed data
    #The first is the name of the operating system and the version of the kernel
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 12} $ sysname $ alignr $ kernel

    #This shows us the two processors and a bar of each of them with their use
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 14} Processors $ hr
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} CPU1: $ {cpu cpu1}% $ {cpubar cpu1}
    CPU2: $ {cpu cpu2}% $ {cpubar cpu2}
    #This shows us the temperature of the processors
    Temperature: $ alignr $ {acpitemp} C

    #This shows us the Home partition, the RAM and the sawp with a bar each and its data
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 14} Memory and disks $ hr
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} HOME $ alignr $ {fs_used / home} / $ {fs_size / home}
    $ {fs_bar / home}
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} RAM $ alignr $ mem / $ memmax
    $ {membar}
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} SWAP $ alignr $ swap / $ swapmax
    $ swapbar

    #This shows us the state of the battery with a bar
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 14} Battery $ hr
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} $ {battery BAT0} $ alignr
    $ {battery_bar BAT0}

    #This shows us the connection with a bar and its power
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 14} Networks $ hr
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} WIFI intensity $ alignr $ {wireless_link_qual wlp3s0}%
    #This shows us the download and upload speed of the internet with graphics
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} Download $ alignr $ {downspeed wlp3s0} / s
    $ {downspeedgraph wlp3s0 30,210 01df01 10fd10}

    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} Upload $ alignr $ {upspeed wlp3s0} / s
    $ {upspeedgraph wlp3s0 30,210 0000ff ff0000}

    #This shows the CPU usage of the applications that use it the most
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 14} CPU usage applications $ hr
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} $ {top name 1} $ alignr $ {top cpu 1}%
    $ {top name 2} $ alignr $ {top cpu 2}%
    $ {top name 3} $ alignr $ {top cpu 3}%

    #This shows us the percentage of RAM used by its applications
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 14} Use RAM applications $ hr
    $ {font Ubuntu: style = bold: size = 10} $ {top_mem name 1} $ alignr $ {top_mem mem 1}%
    $ {top_mem name 2} $ alignr $ {top_mem mem 2}%
    $ {top_mem name 3} $ alignr $ {top_mem mem 3}%

    ]]

    Note that in the network upload and download information, replace "wlan0" with "wlp3s0"
    To know the name of the network, use the ifconfig command