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Replacing indicator-multiload with system-monitor in Ubuntu 18.04

Recently the 18.04.1 point release of Ubuntu came out and I finally started upgrading my desktops & laptops to it from my 16.04 LTS installations. As usual, the upgrade went smoothly, but as can be expected with the switch from Unity to Gnome, the UI has changed dramatically.

Unfortunately, while the indicator-multiload still is getting displayed, changing its settings doesn’t seem to work any more and it is so small that it becomes unreadable. I did find a replacement in the form of the system-monitor widget for the Gnome shell. To install it you need to install the following prerequisites:

  1. chrome-gnome-shell is the user space component to install Gnome shell extensions
  2. gir1.2-gtop-2.0, gir1.2-networkmanager-1.0 and gir1.2-clutter-1.0 are libraries required for this particular widget
  3. The Firefox extension GNOME Shell integration allows you to install the widget from the comfort of your browser. There is a similar extension for Chrome(ium).

To install all the components and uninstall indicator-multiload in a terminal session, use:

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell gir1.2-gtop-2.0 gir1.2-networkmanager-1.0 gir1.2-clutter-1.0
sudo apt purge indicator-multiload

Finally you can navigate in your browser to the GNOME Shell Extensions page and enable the widget (or disable it again, if you don’t like it after all).

Some other nitpicks I had with the upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04, while we are on the topic:

  • The window controls (minimize/maximize/close) are back to the right side. It took me a long time to adjust to the MacOS-style left hand window controls back in 2008 and now we move back to the right. I will suffer for a while, but hope to be happier long-term, if most of the GUIs I encounter follow the same standard. Of course in my day job as of 2016 I am now using a MacOS device… 😕
  • The boot-up time significantly increased: On one of my last HDD equipped desktops from under 30s to about 2 minutes and on my fastest SSD laptop from 5s to about 30s. 😥