Ubuntu – File System Usage Indicator


I am unable to find a suitable utility to just indicate the file system usage (% space free for partitions) on the panel.

And I am not looking forward to install any bad kinds of desktop management tool, but a simple indicator.

I appreciate all your suggestions.

Best Answer



While the answer at the bottom of this one can be used (see [2.]), it lead to a ppa -version with additional options, to be set in a preferences window.

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Options include:

  • Setting all aliases in one window
  • Setting theme colors for the panel icon:

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  • Setting threshold for warnings
  • Show info on newly mounted / connected volumes in a notification:

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  • Run on Startup

Furthermore, the indicator now includes a smaller (width) icon set for other distro's (like xfce), which will be automatically applied, depending on the window manager.

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To install:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vlijm/spaceview
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install spaceview


The script below is an indicator that lists your devices and shows their usage. The information is updated (if necessary) once per ten seconds.

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  • While the indicator is running, you can choose a device to be represented in the icon. The device will be remembered on the next time you run the indicator:

    enter image description here

    ![enter image description here

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  • For one or more (or all) devices, you can set an alternative name ("custom name"), to be set in the head of the script

    As an example, this:

    alias = [
        ["sdc1", "stick"],
        ["sdb1", "External"],
        ["sda2", "root"],
        ["sda4", "ntfs1"],
        ["sda5", "ntfs2"],
        ["//", "netwerk media"],
        ["//", "netwerk docs"],

    Will show:

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  • You can set a threshhold; if the free space of either one of your devices is below that, you'll get a warning:

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  • Plugged/unplugged devices will be added/removed from the menulist within 10 seconds.

The script

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import subprocess
import os
import time
import signal
import gi
gi.require_version('Gtk', '3.0')
gi.require_version('AppIndicator3', '0.1')
from gi.repository import Gtk, AppIndicator3, GObject
from threading import Thread

#--- set alias names below in the format [[device1, alias1], [device2, alias2]]
#--- just set alias = [] to have no custom naming
alias = []
#--- set the threshold to show a warning below 
#--- set to 0 to have no warning
threshold = 17
currpath = os.path.dirname(os.path.realpath(__file__))
prefsfile = os.path.join(currpath, "showpreferred")

class ShowDevs():
    def __init__(self):
        self.default_dev = self.get_showfromfile()
        self.app = 'show_dev'
        iconpath = currpath+"/0.png"
        self.indicator = AppIndicator3.Indicator.new(
            self.app, iconpath,
        self.indicator.set_label("Starting up...", self.app)
        self.update = Thread(target=self.check_changes)

    def check_changes(self):
        state1 = None
        while True:
            self.state2 = self.read_devices()
            if self.state2 != state1:
            state1 = self.state2

    def update_interface(self, state):
        warning = False; self.newmenu = []
        for dev in state:
            mention = self.create_mention(dev)
            name = mention[0]; deci = mention[2]; n = mention[1]
            if n <= threshold:
                warning = True
                if self.default_dev in name:
                    newlabel = mention[3]
                    newicon = currpath+"/"+str(10-deci)+".png"
            except TypeError:
            self.newmenu.append(name+" "+str(n)+"% free")
        if warning:
            newlabel = "Check your disks!"
            newicon = currpath+"/10.png"
            self.update_indicator(newlabel, newicon)
        except UnboundLocalError:
            labeldata = self.create_mention(state[0])
            newlabel = labeldata[3]
            newicon = currpath+"/"+str(10-labeldata[2])+".png"
            self.update_indicator(newlabel, newicon)

    def update_indicator(self, newlabel, newicon):
            newlabel, self.app,

    def set_new(self):
        for i in self.initmenu.get_children():
        for item in self.newmenu:
            add = Gtk.MenuItem(item)
            add.connect('activate', self.change_show)
        menu_sep = Gtk.SeparatorMenuItem()
        self.item_quit = Gtk.MenuItem('Quit')
        self.item_quit.connect('activate', self.stop)

    def change_show(self, *args):
        index = self.initmenu.get_children().index(self.initmenu.get_active())
        self.default_dev = self.newmenu[index].split()[0]
        open(prefsfile, "wt").write(self.default_dev)

    def create_mention(self, dev):
        name = dev[1] if dev[1] else dev[0]
        n = dev[2]; deci = round(dev[2]/10)
        newlabel = name+" "+str(n)+"% free"
        return (name, n, deci, newlabel)        

    def create_menu(self):
        # create initial basic menu
        self.initmenu = Gtk.Menu()
        self.item_quit = Gtk.MenuItem('Quit')
        self.item_quit.connect('activate', self.stop)
        return self.initmenu

    def read_devices(self):
        # read the devices, look up their alias and the free sapace
        devdata = []
        data = subprocess.check_output(["df", "-h"]).decode("utf-8").splitlines()
        relevant = [l for l in data if all([
                    any([l.startswith("/dev/"), l.startswith("//")]),
                    not "/loop" in l])
        for dev in relevant:
            data = dev.split(); name = data[0]; pseudo = None       
            free = 100-int([s.strip("%") for s in data if "%" in s][0])
            for al in alias:
                if al[0] in name:
                    pseudo = al[1]
            devdata.append((name, pseudo, free)) 
        return devdata

    def get_showfromfile(self):
        # read the preferred default device from file
            defdev = open(prefsfile).read().strip()
        except FileNotFoundError:
            defdev = None
        return defdev

    def stop(self, source):

signal.signal(signal.SIGINT, signal.SIG_DFL)

The icons

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Setting up

Setting up is simple:

  • Copy the script into an empty file, save it as showusage.py
  • Save the icons above, exactly named as in their label, into one and the very same directory as the script (right- click > Save as)
  • In the headsection of the script, set (possible) alternative names (aliasses). Below an example:

    alias = [
        ["sda2", "root"],
        ["sdb1", "External"]

    If you want to display the devices unchanged, use:

    alias = []

    ...and if you want, change the threshold to show a warning:

    #--- set the threshold to show a warning below (% free, in steps of 10%)
    #--- set to 0 to have no warning
    threshold = 10

    That's it

Running it

To use the indicator, run the command:

python3 /path/to/showusage.py

To add it to Startup Applications, use the command:

/bin/bash -c "sleep 10 && python3 /path/to/showusage.py"

Choose Applications: Dash > Startup Applications > Add, add the command above.

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