“How to Monitor System Resource Usage in Ubuntu’s Top Panel”

We’re not lacking in system monitoring tools for Ubuntu. There is a range of desktop apps, extensions, widgets, Conky scripts, and command-line tools readily at our disposal.

However, if you’re interested in actively monitoring system resource usage, you might find the recently introduced SystemStatsPlus GNOME extension appealing. Please note, this extension currently only supports GNOME 45, thus is only applicable for users of Ubuntu 23.10.

The SystemStatsPlus offers “real-time visualization of key system resources”. It considers itself “an essential tool for anyone desiring to closely monitor their system’s performance”.

Once the extension is installed, it displays live, constantly refreshing resource graphs in the top bar/system tray, providing individual graphs for several system aspects.

  • CPU usage (per core)
  • RAM utilisation
  • Swap memory
  • Network activity

You don’t need to open an app or keep a window in view as you can, at any time, glance at your top panel to see current utilisation. Clicking on a panel graph will instantly open the default System Monitor app.

Hover over a panel graph (each is an distinct, individual column) to reveal a pop-over that shows historical trends for that resource, along with some textual context about the values on show.

CPU Image

Memory Image

Swap Image

Network Image

Hover over a real-time graph to see historical trends

Think the text labels in the drop down are difficult to read, contrast wise? Me too. I imagine this is an Ubuntu-specific theme issue, as the extension’s screenshots appear to be taken in a vanilla GNOME install using Adwaita, and there the text is bright white.

Also note that in my screenshots I’m using a dual-core processor (well, a VM with only 2 cores assigned) so only two core columns appear. If you have more, you’ll see more, as you can see here:

Think this add-on looks familiar? It may; it’s a modified fork of an older GNOME extension called GNOME Stats Pro. That hasn’t been updated since 2019 (GNOME 3.34).

Get SystemStatsPlus

You can install SystemStatsPlus from GNOME Extensions using a web browser or, recommended, using the Extensions Manager desktop app, which you can install from the Ubuntu repos or fetch from Flathub.

On Ubuntu (I’m not sure which packages other distros ship with) you MUST install the gir1.2-gtop-2.0 package for this extension to work. If you don’t, it won’t. You will likely need to log out and back in after you install it before it appears in the panel.

Is this useful to you? Let me know what you think below!



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