System Monitor indicator

Registered by Giles Weaver on 2010-05-13

Create a System Monitor indicator as an alternative to the System Monitor panel applet.

Blueprint information

Status:
Not started
Approver:
None
Priority:
Undefined
Drafter:
None
Direction:
Needs approval
Assignee:
None
Definition:
New
Series goal:
None
Implementation:
Unknown
Milestone target:
None

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2010-05-13
The System Monitor panel applet doesn't fit well with the aesthetics of the new indicators. I would like to see a System Monitor indicator as an alternative to the panel applet.

As with the other indicators, the System Monitor indicator should hide detail until it is clicked, once clicked it should display a configurable selection of monitoring graphs or statistics.

The indicator icon should change colour (and possibly even flash) to warn when the system is low on resources. The icon could, for instance, turn red when memory usage (excluding cache) approaches the physical memory capacity of the machine, or when heavy swapping occurs.

Optionally, clicking on the indicator icon while the indicator is showing a warning could suspend the process with the highest memory/swap usage, or the process(es) with memory/swap usage above a preset threshold.
--gweaver

[inquata 2010-05-27]
There was a post related to this on the Ayatana mailing list: https://lists.launchpad.net/ayatana/msg02489.html
You might want to add to that.

[gweaver 2010-05-27]
Text of post mentioned above:
Excuse me for not following the windicator discussion earlier too
closely. I just read about the planned categories, and wanted to point
out that the list is lacking a resource consumption management
category, or jam windicator as I'd call it. The icon should show
whether or not the relevant process is causing the system to jam at
the moment. Displaying this information would help user learn which
processes are the top resource hogs on their system.

The menu of the jam windicator should show more specific information,
such as memory consumption, processor and network usage. It should
ideally also let the user set application priority and set bandwidth
limits for the software. It is currently possible to set priority in
gnome system monitor. It also displays some resource consumption
information, but it may be hard for an average user to correlate this
with the applications. An example of bandwidth limiting can currently
be found in Transmission, which has a "turtle button" for slowing down
the downloads.

  cheers, --Toni
---

Feedback from Jan-Christoph Borchardt
Two problems with that: The system monitor applet is GNOME, not Ubuntu. So this would be more fruitful to bring up in GNOME – but regarding that it is about conforming to Ubuntu design, it is rather unlikely to be developed. In addition to that, normal users rarely ever have the need (or the interest and knowledge) to monitor their processor load etc. When something overloads, the window greys out for a few seconds and then everything goes on. So if you don’t do the development yourself, I don’t really see this happen.

---

[gweaver 2010-05-27]
I see your point about GNOME developers being unwilling to develop the system monitor applet to work as an indicator, but I wasn't suggesting that the indicator should be derived from the applet (though if this was expedient then I don't why not).

Regarding "normal" users not having the need to monitor processor load etc, this may be the case, but I'm sure a lot of (power) users would find it useful to be notified of and able to kill runaway processes before they slow the system to a crawl. I was under the impression that the whole point of the indicators and notifications was only to draw the users attention to something when it is relevant, and I think this blueprint fits with that. Perhaps a system monitor indicator could be combined with a power/battery indicator into a system health indicator, in order to save space.

As for the development, I agree that if you want something done you sometimes have to do it yourself.. Unfortunately I am too busy developing bioinformatics software, hence this blueprint.

--

[bitu-derr 2011-03-14]

I like the idea of combining the system monitor indicator and the power/battery indicator. Perhaps it could user-configurable as to what actually displays in the panel (RAM icon, battery icon, etc).

I've personally longed for an "system" indicator that combines multiple Gnome applets into one icon and menu in the panel, including:
 - System Monitor applet
 - the battery applet (I've also seen another one from a PPA with more a detailed menu than the standard applet)
 - Gnome sensors applet
 - Computer temperature monitor applet
 - busyhot applet
 - CPU frequency scaling monitor, but reconfigured to ~detect~ the number of cores and render the appropriate number of governor controls in a menu, so as not to require multiple panel icons for each core)
- force quit applet
- basically any other related applet that I am unaware of
- (optional) a restart panel option, if the Unity panel exposes anything equivalent to killall gnome-panel; I add my own currently because it seems the panel gets wonky on occasion if you keep experimenting with its layout

Where existing Gnome applets overlap in functionality, the best presentation of info could be taken from each for the new indicator-style rendering.

Even if everything could not be rendered via various sub-menus, I'd be happy if clicking the indicator merely popped up a new window (similar to how the Gnome weather applet opens a new window for current conditions, forecast, and radar tabs). I know I can open a System Monitor application already, but the readout it shows are fairly distinct from the System Monitor ~applet~, and it would be nice if those differences could be preserved as much as possible.

Moreover, with any temperature applet, I don't understand why a user is asked to ~choose~ either Fahrenheit or Celsius. I'd rather see both shown, either on separate lines or with some separator (presumably this would also remove a "preference" setting to have to maintain in the code).

If all this functionality could, over time, be condensed into a single icon, with as many sub-menus as necessary, that would be one of the most useful indicators around in my opinion. And I think anyone using Linux in general is a budding "power user" so it would be useful to more people than one may suspect, if nothing else inspiring a little curiosity if the icon changes state in some way.

I'm not a programmer but if I had some useful tutorial to follow, I'd be happy to work on this too.

(?)

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