As I'm programming a little game, I often use gnome-system-monitor to check if there's any memory leak in my program. But the monitor takes too much lime to launch and is pretty slow.

Could you suggest a graphical and light alternative to gnome-system-monitor ?

7 Answers 7



it is a terminal app:

sudo apt-get install htop

htop htop with graph mode


Look for this system monitor (GUI works with GTK1,2,3):

An utility which works with LCD devices even.

ProcMeter3 GUI on GTK3
ProcMeter3 GUI on GTK3


Also once I tried a Psymon. This is not extremely lightweight software and written
on Qt (not GTK, and therefore should work better with KDE) though despite to this fact it works well not only with Unity and Gnome, but also in other OS, like FreeBSD, MacOS, Windows etc., because it use great python-psutil Debian package.

So look it closer:

Nice post about Psymon

Psymon project site

Psymon Psymon


You can try

Neither of them pull any specific dependencies.

  • 1
    Thank you, that's exactly what I was looking for (lxtask is great) !
    – halflings
    May 4, 2012 at 7:02

ndicator-SysMonitor Indicator-SysMonitor does a little, but does it well. Once installed and run, it displays CPU and RAM usage on your top panel. Simple.

enter image description here

Download from here


One of my personal favourites

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Screenlet you’ll find a bunch of differently styled CPU and RAM monitors included in the screenlets-all package available in the Ubuntu Software Center.

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To install:

sudo apt-get install python-pip build-essential python-dev
sudo pip install Glances
sudo pip install PySensors

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Displays information about CPU, memory, processes, etc.


This command line tool will display statistics about your CPU, I/O information for your hard disk partitions, Network File System (NFS), etc. To install iostat, run this command:

sudo apt-get install sysstat

To start the report, run this command:


To check only CPU statistics, use this command:

iostat -c

For more parameters, use this command:

iostat --help


The mpstat command line utility will display average CPU usage per processor. To run it, use simply this command:


For CPU usage per processor, use this command:

mpstat -P ALL


Saidar also allows to monitor system device activities via the command line.

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You can install is with this command:

sudo apt-get install saidar

To start monitoring, run this command:

saidar -c -d 1

Stats will be refreshed every second.


GKrellM is a customizable widget with various themes that displays on your desktop system device information (CPU, temperature, memory, network, etc.).

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To install GKrellM, run this command:

sudo apt-get install gkrellm


Monitorix is another application with a web-based user interface for monitoring system devices.

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Install it with these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:upubuntu-com/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install monitorix

Start Monitorix via this URL:

  • Best answer in this thread, all the information you would need
    – Maarten
    Apr 7, 2016 at 20:40

One tool is gkrellm .

It is very configurable and expandable, and has numerous plugins, skins, etc..

configuration and main display

$ apt-cache search gkrellm
gkrellkam - GKrellM plugin that displays a periodically updating image
gkrellm - GNU Krell Monitors
gkrellm-bfm - system load plugin for gkrellm with a duck
gkrellm-gkrellmpc - GKrellM plugin for controlling MPD
gkrellm-hdplop - hard drive activity monitor GKrellM plugin
gkrellm-ibam - Advanced battery monitor for laptops - gkrellm plugin
gkrellm-leds - Keyboard LED monitor for GKrellM
gkrellm-mailwatch - GKrellM plugin to watch mailboxes in multiple panels
gkrellm-mldonkey - mldonkey plugin for gkrellm2
gkrellm-radio - FM radio tuner for GKrellM
gkrellm-reminder - useful reminder plugin for gkrellm
gkrellm-snmp - snmp plug-in for GKrellM
gkrellm-thinkbat - ThinkPad laptops battery status indicator for GKrellM
gkrellm-volume - A mixer plugin for GKrellM
gkrellm-x86info - gkrellm plugin displaying the current processor speed
gkrellm-xkb - Keyboard layout indicator plugin for GKrellM
gkrellmapcupsd - gkrellm plugin displaying the current processor speed
gkrellmd - GNU Krell Monitors Server
gkrellmitime - Internet time plugin for gkrellm
gkrellmoon - Gkrellm Moon Clock Plugin
gkrellmwireless - 802.11 wireless link monitor plugin for GKrellM
gkrellshoot - Plugin for gkrellm to lock the screen and make screenshots
gkrelltop - Top three intensive processes plugin for gkrellm
gkrelltopd - Top three intensive processes plugin for gkrellmd
gkrelluim - GKrellM plugin for uim
gkrellweather - A weather monitor plugin for GKrellM
gkrellxmms2 - GKrellM plugin to control xmms2

I use the System Load Indicator to monitor CPU & memory use, if i notice anything unusual then I can go to gnome-system-monitor or top to find the culprit.

System Load Indicator PPA

Load Indicator showing CPU use only

Sample image showing current CPU use only.


I know you said "graphical", but try running top in a terminal. It's extremely lightweight and gives plenty of information.

  • Thanks for the tip. I tried top before and it's quite useful, but I'd still prefer a graphical alternative !
    – halflings
    Apr 22, 2012 at 9:28

I would suggest taking a look at a program called qps. It's a old Qt application that does the job very well. You should be able to find a patch for it that adds support for affinity control. it is ULTRA-lightweight (< 1MB executable, statically linked to QT 1.41 !). You can install qps from the Ubuntu Software Center.

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