I have this Conky report on my desktop screen:

enter image description here

This is a relevant part of the conky.conf file:

${color1}${font ConkySymbols:size=16}J${font} ${voffset -10}Memory» $hr${color}
${color1}${goto 35}RAM : ${color}$mem/$memmax ${alignr}$memperc% ${membar 4,100}
${color1}${goto 35}SWAP: ${color}$swap/$swapmax $alignr}$swapperc% ${swapbar 4,100}

However when I run free -m I get this:

enter image description here

Which is 2GB less than the Conky's report (6GB vs 8.3GB).

I also tried running the mem command in terminal, but the command is not recognized.

How to run in the terminal the command that Conky uses to find used/free RAM stats and why is there a difference with the free -m command?


${color1}${goto 35}RAM: ${execi 10 free --si -m|awk '/^Mem/{printf "%.2f",$3/1024}'}/$memmax ${execi 10 free --si -m|awk '/^Mem/{printf "%.1f%%", 100*$3/$2}'} \
${execibar 10 free --si -m|awk '/^Mem/{print 100*$3/$2}'}

enter image description here

  • 2
    I might be off base here but it looks as though Conky is adding the used and shared together.
    – Terrance
    Jan 20, 2021 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


From the sources it seems that info.mem is calculated as info.memmax - memavail where these are read from /proc/meminfo in fields:

    if (strncmp(buf, "MemTotal:", 9) == 0) {
      sscanf(buf, "%*s %llu", &info.memmax);
    } else if (strncmp(buf, "MemAvailable:", 13) 
      sscanf(buf, "%*s %llu", &memavail);

To call free from conky you can use, for example,

RAM: ${execi 10 free --si -m|awk '/^Mem/{printf "%.2fGiB\n",$3/1024}'}/$memmax   \
${execi 10 free --si -m|awk '/^Mem/{printf "%.1f%%\n", 100*$3/$2}'} \
${execibar 10 free --si -m|awk '/^Mem/{print 100*$3/$2}'}

but the size of the bar generated by execibar is fixed by global variables you have to set in the conky.config part with:

default_bar_height = 4,
default_bar_width = 100,

The output of free is is passed to awk which looks for the line beginning Mem and takes the 3rd ($3) word on the line and reformats it (see man sprintf). You can set the number of decimal places in the format %.2f by changing the number 2.

  • Is there some other $ command that I can use inside conky.conf for it to display correct memory usage?
    – parsecer
    Jan 20, 2021 at 19:22
  • 1
    The definition of "correct" is ambiguous. Conky gives a useful value that also includes memory used to implement tmpfs filesystems (such as /tmp). If you want to, you can use the output of free -m. I'll add an example to my answer.
    – meuh
    Jan 20, 2021 at 19:42
  • Could you please show how I need to change the conky RAM line? I tried to use your code, but it didn't work correctly (see last edit on the question)
    – parsecer
    Jan 21, 2021 at 16:21
  • I found the error (extra $). I replaced 10 with 2- it's the renewal rate, right? How would I get it to display 2 decimal points though? eg 3.42 instead of 3.4? And what is the |awk '/^Mem/{print $3}' part responsible for?
    – parsecer
    Jan 21, 2021 at 16:28
  • And I'm not sure how to update the ram percentage bar
    – parsecer
    Jan 21, 2021 at 16:33

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