In my current setup running Ubuntu Natty and GNOME 2, I use the COMPA applet to display information on my top GNOME panel that I wish to always be visible on my desktop. I really like this ability to show exactly the information I want, through writing a Python script that outputs something to stdout, and the having COMPA print this on my GNOME panel, updating every x seconds. Right now I have the current price of bitcoins up there, as well as the stock price of Google. Here's how my desktop looks. You can see the plugin in question (COMPA) and the information it outputs in the middle of the top panel (right click, "open image in new tab" for larger size).

Is there a way to achieve this in Unity? I want to have the information always visible, I shouldn't have to click anything to view the information.

  • came here with the exact same question and ended up fascinated by the image on your desktop. is it available online by any chance? thanks! May 31, 2012 at 16:02
  • Here's a tip for finding similar images using Google. Works for almost any image: (1) right click image and choose "copy image location/URL", (2) perform a Google search using this URL, (3) on the search results page click "search by image", next to the text "Find other sizes of this image:" click "All sizes" and there should be plenty of background-friendly versions of the image. Like here: freecomputerwallpapers.net/view/…
    – runeks
    Jun 1, 2012 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


The program Indicator-Sysmonitor for Unity fulfills this purpose, and is basically the replacement for COMPA in Unity. Below is a link to get it to act like a netspeed-like panel applet, completely configurable by modifying the script supplied in the article: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/05/how-to-display-network-upload-download.html


For Gnome Classic (I run 14.04), there is also an indicator applet that will let you run a command or a shell script and display the text.

sudo apt-get install command-runner-applet

Then hold down Window+Alt and Right Click on panel bar and add applet.

The command runner applet has an orange icon.

Right Click on it once it is placed on the panel and add your command or shell script location to the text box.

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