Non-Linux FOSS: MenuMeters

It sounds like a "back in my day" story, but I really do miss the days when laptops had LED activity lights for hard drives and Wi-Fi. Sure, some still have them, but for the most part, the latest trend is to have no way of knowing if your application is pegging the CPU at 100%, or if it just locked up.

The hardware on Apple-branded laptops is amazing. Even if you hate the operating system, the solid aluminum cases are just awesome. Like most other brands of laptops, however, they lack any activity lights. A perfect fix for OS X is the open-source MenuMeters application. It puts all sorts of monitoring ability right in your menu bar. MenuMeters supports CPU activity, network activity and even memory usage. With a wide range of display options, you can customize MenuMeters to be as informative or subtle as you like.

Menu Bar (screenshot from

Customizing MenuMeters

MenuMeters is licensed under the GPL and is available to download at


Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.