Where Did The Seconds Go?

The one thing I liked about 18.04 and 19.10 was the panel clock: Hours, minutes, and moving seconds. In 20:04, the seconds are nowhere to be found. So very useful to have the seconds with the time. It feels like a wall clock showing the hour and minutes without that very much important rotating sweep hand. Of course, when setting the time either manually or automatically, the adjustment box allows us to insert seconds there. But the seconds are not activated on screen. Please, developers, bring back the seconds....

I right-click on the panel clock, select 'Preferences', and check the 'Show seconds' box, and BOOM my clock shows the seconds. This does not work for you?

Unfortunately, no. There is no "Preferences" in my dropdown box for the time. And I am doing left clicks instead of right ones, something I had noticed was different with 20.04. Could it be that I had to wipe Windows off this laptop, because Ubuntu did not erase the Windows Boot System that was installed. I had planned to dual boot both Windows and Ubuntu, but I had trouble trying to partition the computer because of Boot. Maybe that could be part of the problem? Everything is working fine, but I'm not able to locate or produce the shortcuts you had mentioned. I now have a second machine, a laptop that is a backup for my desktop, which is all Linux.

This will have nothing whatsoever to do with Windows. If you right-click on the panel clock, what happens? What do you see?

I am running UM 20.04, and there are a few options, and one of them is 'Preferences" You don't see that?

No "Preferences." Not to be found...nada...zero...nowhere to click.

But what do you see when you right-click on the panel clock? Anything at all?


um20, I have the Traditional Panel, right click on clock shows ...
Remove from Panel (grayed)
move (grayed)
Lock to Panel (checked)

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How strange! Those are the generic options for dealing with an applet - if I right-click just to the left of the clock, I can see those options. But if I right-click right in the middle of the clock itself, I see Copy Time, Copy Date, Preferences, Help, About, etc.

I really don't know what to suggest - anyone else have any ideas?

And that is exactly what I did before you sent me your reply...they say that two brains are better than one: sgage boosted my brain cells to kick in turbo, which led me to the same idea as yours (add a new clock to panel)....could not get screenshot to upload. Thank you both for helping me. The first clock was from the initial install, it had to be replaced...and your knowledge is valuable for future reference.

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you could add to panel, clock which might appear at the center of your panel and that clock has prefs as @sgage wrote. You can add seconds to that clock. How you get rid of the other clock, ... I don't know.

My screenshot (with the clock in the center)

Glad you got a clock with seconds on it!

The whole system of 'things on the panel' is very confusing to me - notification area, indicator area, indicator applets, indicator applet complete, etc. I really wish they'd settle on one scheme for simply putting 'things on the panel', such that you can add and remove and move them independently.

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I believe the clock in the upper right corner is not the panel clock, but the time piece from Evolution (so it can connect with the Evolution calendar, etc) which is why it is different than the panel clock.

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Hi @5461jonathan,

no need to add an extra panel applet just to see seconds. You are able to configure indicator-datetime which is default clock application starting 19.10. There are plenty of posts covering indicator-datetime customization in this forum. Check this thread, for example.
Short terminal solution:
gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.datetime show-seconds true

Good luck


@5461jonathan ... if you navigate to com.canonical.indicator.datetime schema using dconf-editor, you can set various options for the clock, format, etc. Thanks @ironfoot

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This might be helpful: [20.04 Mate] Add Hidden Extras to Top Panel

There are a couple of ways of getting the clock with day, date, etc. The first does not require any additional software but the second is much simpler.

This is progress not! Looks like Microsoft is starting to infect Linux with "Windows Registry" crap to change things that used to be obvious.

In 21.04, open Indicators, go to date and time section and tick «show seconds».
Takes 20 seconds at most.

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Hello MusicalCoder

... that explains a lot to me, and makes perfect sense of the way it behaves.

In order to get a permanently visible calendar I had installed 'orage' from the Xfce desktop. I'll have another look at this now. Thank you. :slightly_smiling_face:

That doesn't make his point any less valid. It's still gratuitously opaque, and completely undocumented from a user perspective.

The comparison to Windows and the registry is not just fair, it's absolutely accurate.

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Do you honestly believe it's fair to say that:

  • Press win+r
  • Enter "regedit" in the field then click on "run"
  • Search for the weird named key in the left pane by clicking 9 times on the right button to expand the folders
  • Enter the right value or create the right key and then enter the right value in the right pane
  • Close and reboot

is as user friendly as (how opaque is that ?!):

  • Open Indicators (or control center then indicators)
  • Go to date and time
  • Tick show seconds

I don't think so. I'm ok with the fact that dconf-editor can be tricky for new users but this is not. If by «undocumented» you mean it's absent from the Ubuntu MATE guide, well it is. It's a new feature from an interim release added at the latest minute. Interim releases aren't supposed to be as polished as an LTS ones.
Moreover, when you install such a release, you're supposed to read the releases notes.

We’ve added new versions of Ayatana Indicators including ‘Indicators’ settings to the Control Center , which can be used to configure the installed indicators.