How to Install and Use Conky Manager on Ubuntu 16.04/17.04

Conky is a highly configurable system monitor for Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD. It’s free and open-source, released under the terms of GPL. This tutorial will show you how to install Conky on Ubuntu 16.04/17.04 and how to use Conky Manager.

Conky can display the following information on your desktop.

  • CPU load
  • Memory usage
  • Hard drive usage
  • Network activity
  • GPU temperature, fan speed, GPU clock.
  • Time and weather
  • and many more.

How to Install Conky on Ubuntu 16.04/17.04

Conky is included in the default Ubuntu software repository, so installing it is very easy. Simply fire up a terminal window and run the following command:

sudo apt install conky-all

Once installed, you have to run Conky from the command line.

conky

By default Conky displays information in its own hideous window and makes your desktop flicker. You can now press CTRL+C in the terminal to stop Conky.

conky ubuntu

How to Configure Conky Manually

To change how Conky looks on your desktop, you can edit the system-wide configuration file /etc/conky/conky.conf. A safer approach is to create a user-specific Conky config file in the home directory, ~/.conkyrc.

You can use /etc/conky/conky.conf as a template for your user-specific configuration by copying its content.

cp /etc/conky/conky.conf ~/.conkyrc

Then you can open ~/.conkyrc file with nano text editor.

nano ~/.conkyrc

conky ubuntu 16.04

You can go to this Conky config explanation page to see how to change each variable.

Conky Manager to The Rescue

Manually configuring Conky isn’t the best task you would want to do. Instead, you can quickly get a nice-looking Conky on your desktop with the graphical Conky Manager.

To install Conky Manager on Ubuntu 16.04, use the following commands.

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa

sudo apt update

sudo apt install conky-manager

install conky manager

The above PPA doesn’t support Ubuntu 17.04 yet. If you use the above PPA on Ubuntu 17.04, you would see the following error.

unable to locate package conky-manager

Ubuntu 17.04 users can download Conky Manager Deb file.

64 bit

wget https://launchpad.net/~teejee2008/+archive/ubuntu/ppa/+files/conky-manager_2.4~136~ubuntu16.04.1_amd64.deb

32 bit

wget https://launchpad.net/~teejee2008/+archive/ubuntu/ppa/+files/conky-manager_2.4~136~ubuntu16.04.1_i386.deb

Then install it with gdebi, which will automatically handle package dependencies.

sudo apt install gdebi

sudo gdebi conky-manager*.deb

Once installed, start it from Unity Dash or your application menu.

conky manager themes

Conky Manager comes with a handful of widgets and themes. You can also download Conky themes from the Internet and import them to Conky Manager.

conky-manager

Download Conky Themes Pack

Once downloaded, click the import icon in the Conky Manager tool bar to import these theme pack. You can select which theme to use and which widgets to show on the desktop. Below is the Conky setup on my desktop. I enabled the following widgets.

  • Gotham
  • Conky Seamod
  • Process panel
  • Network panel

install conky manager ubuntu

Another place to download Conky themes is DeviantArt.  However, these theme can’t be directly imported in Conky Manager. You have to unzip the theme, then move it to ~/.conky/ directory. After that, you can enable it in Conky Manager.

Removing Window Borders

Sometimes a widget has its own window border, which might not be what you want. For example, I enabled the widget Conky Seamod, which has window border. To remove window border, first click Edit Widget button and set transparency type to transparent. Click Apply button. Then edit its configuration file.

nano ~/.conky/Conky\ Seamod/conky_seamod

Find the following variable.

own_window_type

And change its value to desktop.

own_window_type desktop

Save the file. The window border will disappear and the widget will integrate nicely with the desktop.

Run Conky at System Startup

To run Conky at system boot time, open application settings in Conky Manager, enable Run Conky at system startup. You can also set a time delay here.

run conky at system startup

That’s it! I hope this tutorial helped you install Conky Manager on Ubuntu 16.04/17.04. As always, if you found this post useful, then subscribe to our free newsletter.

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