A simple X11 status bar for use with simple WMs.
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Cnx — Build Status

A simple X11 status bar for use with simple WMs.

Cnx doesn't rely on functionality from any specific WM, instead preferring to get its data from generic properties defined in EWMH. If your WM implements enough of EWMH, it should work with Cnx.


Cnx is written to be customisable, simple and fast.

Where possible, it prefers to asynchronously wait for changes in the underlying data sources (and uses mio/tokio to achieve this), rather than periodically calling out to external programs.

There are currently these widgets available:

  • Active Window Title — Shows the title (EWMH's _NET_WM_NAME) for the currently focused window (EWMH's _NEW_ACTIVE_WINDOW).
  • Pager — Shows the WM's workspaces/groups, highlighting whichever is currently active. (Uses EWMH's _NET_DESKTOP_NAMES/_NET_NUMBER_OF_DESKTOPS/_NET_CURRENT_DESKTOP).
  • Sensors — Periodically parses and displays the output of the lm_sensors utility, allowing CPU temperature to be displayed.
  • Volume — Uses alsa-lib to show the current volume/mute status of the default output device. (Disable by removing default feature volume-widget).
  • Battery — Uses /sys/class/power_supply/ to show details on the remaining battery and charge status.
  • Clock — Shows the time.

How to use

Cnx is a library that allows you to make your own status bar.

In normal usage, you will create a new binary project that relies on the cnx crate, and customize it through options passed to the main Cnx object and its widgets. (It's inspired by QTile and dwm, in that the configuration is done entirely in code, allowing greater extensibility without needing complex configuration handling).

An simple example of a binary using Cnx is:

extern crate cnx;
extern crate error_chain;

use cnx::*;
use cnx::text::*;
use cnx::widgets::*;

mod errors {
    error_chain! {
        links {
            Cnx(::cnx::errors::Error, ::cnx::errors::ErrorKind);

fn run() -> errors::Result<()> {
    let attr = Attributes {
        font: Font::new("SourceCodePro 21"),
        fg_color: Color::white(),
        bg_color: None,
        padding: Padding::new(8.0, 8.0, 0.0, 0.0),

    let mut cnx = Cnx::new(Position::Top)?;
    cnx_add_widget!(cnx, ActiveWindowTitle::new(&cnx, attr.clone()));
    cnx_add_widget!(cnx, Clock::new(&cnx, attr.clone()));

# fn main() { run().unwrap(); }

A more complex example is given in src/bin/cnx.rs alongside the project. (This is the default [bin] target for the crate, so you could use it by either executing cargo run from the crate root, or even running cargo install cnx; cnx. However, neither of these are recommended as options for customizing Cnx are then limited).

Before running Cnx, you'll need to make sure your system has the required dependencies.


In addition to the Rust dependencies in Cargo.toml, Cnx also depends on these system libraries:

  • x11-xcb
  • xcb-util: xcb-ewmh / xcb-icccm / xcb-keysyms
  • pango
  • cairo
  • pangocairo

The following Ubuntu packages should allow your system to meet these requirements:

apt-get install libx11-xcb-dev libxcb-ewmh-dev libpango1.0-dev libcairo2-dev

If the volume-widget is enabled (and it is by default), you will also need alsa-lib:

apt-get install libasound2-dev


Unfortunately there aren't many. You can run what's here with:

cargo test