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Display CPU Temperature in the Unity Launcher

sensors unity running on ubuntu

Sensors Unity on the Ubuntu desktop

If you want to keep an eye on your CPU temperature on Ubuntu, you have a lot of different apps to choose from.

There are terminal clients, desktop apps, indicator applets, and extensions all designed specifically for the purpose.

But you might not have given this nifty little utility a shot.

Sensors Unity

Called Sensors Unity, this app offers a quick way to get details about a specific sensor, right in the Unity launcher.

When you need more details simply click the app icon to open a window with further sensor-related details in.

As you can see in the image to the right Sensors-Unity is not panel based. Instead of seeing yet another icon in the upper corner of your panel, you see an icon in the Unity launcher.

And, unlike a Conky widget, you get to see some data at all times (assuming you don’t hide the Unity launcher). No need to minimise windows out of the way.

The developer, Pavel Rojtberg explains: “The idea is that you do not need the sensor information all the time. Instead you launch the app when you do. If you want to passively monitor some value you can minimize the app while selecting the value to display in the launcher icon.”

To install the tool on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or later you can add the official Sensors Unity PPA to Ubuntu Software Sources by running the following commands in a new Terminal window:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rojtberg/sensors-unity
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt install sensors-unity

The Hard Part: lm-sensors

Once installed you’ll next need to make sure you have lm-sensors set-up and correctly configured. Run the following command and cross your fingers:

$ sensors-detect

Sensors Unity uses the configuration stored in /etc/sensors3.conf, so that should be your first port if a bit of kit you want to monitor doesn’t show up.

Thankfully Pavel Rojtberg has posted a primer on tweaking this confirmation file (or replacing it with a custom one). Check out this blog post for more information.