I'm looking for a simple countdown timer application, something similar to timer-applet, which appears to be deprecated. (It's in the repositories but when I tried to install it there were dependency issues with gnome-audio and it hosed my system.)

My ideal app would have the following features:

  • is lightweight and fast (starts up fast and doesn't use a lot of system resources)
  • has functionality for user-defined presets for commonly used times (like for using the 10+2 work method)
  • plays a sound and displays a notification when the time set is reached.
  • is a native GNOME app & not a webapp
  • is an indicator applet

Note: I am looking for a countdown timer app, not a timetracking app.

  • Timer applet seems to work fine for me (but it doesn't have an indicator).
    – JanC
    Nov 21, 2010 at 9:34
  • @JanC are you on 10.04? When I tried to install it gnome-audio wouldn't install and it broke my apt after that. I had to go in and edit some configuration file manually because every process involving apt would fail because of gnome-audio.
    – Jay
    Nov 21, 2010 at 10:03
  • I have used it in every version of Ubuntu for about 4 or 5 years, and it always worked. That said, maybe there is an issue when you install it (I already have it installed), maybe combined with (or without) specific other packages installed, which would be a bug of course.
    – JanC
    Nov 21, 2010 at 22:09
  • I tested this with a fresh 10.04 install inside a VM and it worked without any issues. So if there was any problem when you installed, it must be related to another package, or it was fixed since.
    – JanC
    Nov 22, 2010 at 2:32

6 Answers 6


alarm-clock-applet might be what you are looking for, you can save pre-sets for either alarms (specific time) or countdown timers. Two advantages over timer-applet is that several timers can run at the same time, and you can set a custom snooze time. It's in the Software Center.

  • Huh, this is pretty awesome. Also lets you start specific apps on a timer.
    – Jay
    Apr 29, 2011 at 8:58
  • Changing this to the accepted answer because it is in fact exactly what I was looking for.
    – Jay
    May 15, 2011 at 5:22
  • Thanks! I agree it's a very nice piece of software, I am using it as direct replacement of timer-applet. A shame it is not an indicator applet (yet?).
    – geoffrey
    May 15, 2011 at 7:02
  • This package is no longer maintained.
    – Suleman
    Dec 24, 2022 at 10:38

Still quite buggy at the time of writing, but worth mentioning: an attempt at creating a timer that is integrated in Unity (as featured on OMG!Ubuntu!) -- teatime-unity

  • Huh, this cool and good to know. But I can't switch to unity yet because there a handful of other "traditional applets" that I still rely on (like Hampster)
    – Jay
    May 15, 2011 at 5:24

There are many timer-applet that sits on your panel

timer-applet Install timer-applet

Or try gDesklets

gdesklets Install gdesklets

If you have KDE you can use kteatime and Ktimer

kteatime Install kteatime

ktimer Install ktimer

If you want stopwatch you can download it from here

  • In my question I said that installing timer-applet broke my computer (an issue with apt and gnome-audio). gdesklets is pretty old and resource heavy in my experience and it's also desklets, not an indicator or panel applet. I should have mentioned that I'm using GNOME, not KDE so I'd rather use a GTK app. I should have stated that in my original question - I'll edit it to reflect that. Thanks for the responses, but I'm going to leave this open for now still.
    – Jay
    Nov 21, 2010 at 7:15
  • kteatime works great as a simple timer
    – aklingam
    May 31, 2021 at 15:36

I've also had trouble with timers. What I settled on, finally, is the Tomboy Reminder plugin - I work in 20 minute bursts. So I just set a reminder in a Tomboy note for 20 minutes from now. When the time has elapsed, the note appears on top of everything else, impossible to ignore. If I decide I need more time, I just type in a new time for the reminder. (I do realise you were asking for a sound, and a countdown in the panel, but because I was looking for the same thing and found this to be an excellent alternative solution, I thought you might find it helpful.)

  • Hmm. This could work for me. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I'll check this out and see if I like it. Probably not ideal, but might be the best bet, if you were looking for the same thing.
    – Jay
    Nov 21, 2010 at 17:43

It's not an app on Ubuntu, but you can always go to Timer Tab in a tab on your browser. I've found it to be pretty versatile for my purposes.


gnome-shell-pomodoro looks like a good app for having a visual countdown in the menu bar. It's designed around a repeating countdown of a set interval followed by short breaks and then a long break after a certain multiple. A good option if that's why you want it (answer left for those searching for this)

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