Linux Mac Windows

GKrellM – System Monitor Tool with Tons of Great Plugins

Damien Oh 24-04-2009

GkrellM is not a new app. In fact, it have been around for a long time, even before Conky has existed. Despite its old age, it is still a powerful app that is used and loved by many people.


Simply said, GKrellM [Broken URL Removed] is a single process stack of system monitors that allows you to monitor your system resources easily and quickly. Apart from monitoring your computer’s status it comes with lots of plugins bringing lots of useful featureslike radio tuner, weather lookup, reminder etc.

In case you are wondering why is it called such a wierd name, the word GkrellM is actually make up of three words G-Krell-M. The G stands for GNU (some call it GTK) while the word Krell is an inspiration from the flim “Forbidden Planet” (the native in the show is called Krell). The M stands for Monitor.


When you install GKrellM, it comes with a default set of monitors, including

  • Hostname/system name display.
  • Clock/calendar.
  • SMP CPU monitor that can chart individual CPUs and/or a composite CPU.
  • Temperature, fan, and voltage sensor monitors
  • Process monitor with a chart for load and forks and a display of number of current processes and users.
  • Disk monitor that can chart individual disks or a composite disk.
  • Internet monitor (http, ftp, …) that displays current TCP port connections and charts historical port hits for over two days.
  • Net interface monitors with charts for all routed net interfaces.
  • Memory and swap space usage meters, and a swap page in/out chart.
  • File system meters which show capacity/free space.
  • A mailbox monitor which can launch a mail reader, a mail fetch/check program, and a sound notify command.
  • APM laptop battery meter with a configurable alarm and warning for low battery time left.
  • Uptime display.


Configuring GkrellM is as easy as scrolling through the options menu and checking the boxes of the options you want.


On your Gkrellm window, right click your mouse and select Configuration (alternatively, press F1 on the keyboard). This will bring up the configuration window.


In the General option, under the Properties tab, this is where you can configure Gkrellm to be on sticky mode (always show on desktop) and/or get it to dock to the panel so that it won’t show up as an active window in the window list.

The configuration window also allows you to change settings for almost every built-in monitors. In the event that you are confused by the settings, you can click on the Info tab to read the related information and documentation.


One thing that I like about GKrellM is that its give you the ability to customize and personalize the settings, yet doesn’t require you to be too technical.


Being an application based on GTK, GKrellm supports themes and is able to integrate well with all the desktop environment. The default installation comes with 5 different themes, but seriously, they are not the outstanding type that you want to keep on your desktop for long. To download new theme, go to where you can find a great collection of attractive third party themes.

Interested users can also create your own theme by following the documentation here [Broken URL Removed].


The best thing about Gkrellm that truly distinguishes itself from its competitors is its large collection of plugins. Just a quick peek at my Synaptic Package Manager shows a page full of GKrellM’s plugins available for installation, and that’s only include those accepted in the repository. There are still plenty of unknown, yet useful third party plugins available at the Gkrellm plugins [Broken URL Removed] site. Some of the useful plugins that I have tried and used include gkrellm-reminder (remind you of important stuffs), gkrellm-weather (find out the weather of your area), gkrellm-xmms2 (control your XMMS2 from the desktop), gkrellm-radio (FM radio tuner) and gkrellm-mailwatch (watch your mailboxes in multiple panels).



Cross-platforms compatibility

Gkrellm is available for Linux and Windows. FreeBSD, Mac OSX, NetBSD/OpenBSD and Solaris users may have to compile from source to get it working. Mac users can check out the darwinport for instructions to port GKrellM over to Mac.

Are you a user of GKrellM? We would like to hear your experience with GKrellM in the comment.

Related topics: Computer Maintenance, CPU, Hard Drive, Internet Radio, System Monitor.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. aaron
    April 24, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Unfortunately gkrellm provides no way to REMEMBER any configuration settings you give it. It just launches the same default display each time you launch it no matter how you configured it the last time it launched. Annoying.

  2. 1fastbullet
    May 31, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    It can live in the system tray or in a panel of your making (Linux), BUT it is still a piece of junk and a system resource pig.
    I used it for a few months and removed it. I'll bet you will too.

    I'm currently back to the gnome sys monitor and, while it doesn't have all the cuteness of Gkrell, it doesn't waste resources. It just works.

    • Xerbla
      February 19, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      Nonsense. Firstly it cannot "live in the system tray" - it may live in a "dock" or "slit" (fluxbox), though. Secondly, how do you figure it as a resource pig? What plugins did you run? With basic CPU, disk, proc and network monitors it hardly shows up in "top" on my system.

      Been running it for years - it just works. (My only whinge is that most of the available skins are pure tack, and I can't be a*sed to make my own.)

      The Gnome sys monitor is ok as it goes, but waaay less informative (I don't run Gnome, personally - or any other desktop, for that matter).

  3. Street
    April 25, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Can this reside in the system tray? I see no indication of this feature on their site.