The top bar in a classic gnome desktop shows menus (top left), then some freely configurable panel space, and on the top right a somewhat configurable panel space with system status icons, date/time, username and such.

With big monitors today, the top bar is wide enough to show a lot of empty space. Since this bar also is tall enough to host text, I would like to make use of that space to show some more status information.

Particularly I'm looking for a way to

  • Repeatedly run arbitrary shell commands, e.g.
    • date '+%Y%m%d-%H%M%S'
    • bjobs | wc -l
    • etc.
  • Display the output of those in the top menu bar

A solution might be to write a custom gnome applet that does not use a static icon to represent itself, but does the above. Then I could attach that applet to a panel in the top bar.

Is there a quicker way?

Quicker for me would be e.g. to put the shell commands in a script, then create a named pipe, and feed that pipe into some gnome config file(s).

Any ideas?

Note that I am not root on the machine. If the only solution requires me to install things, I'd encourage you to still post it here. Maybe I can influence the sysadmin, or work around in other ways.


1 Answer 1


There is a gnome-shell extension allowing to add arbitrary shell commands and show the output in the top panel: https://raujonas.github.io/executor/

The commands, their display position and the refresh interval can be configured in a GUI window:

Screenshot of the gnome-shell extension

See also this answer on ask ubuntu: https://askubuntu.com/a/1347060/1134740

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