Linux: What's Zeitgeist, How to Uninstall It

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

In Ubuntu and Gnome, there's this background process named “zeitgeist”.

You can see it by ps -ef | grep zeit

What is zeitgeist?

It logs your activity.

  1. Zeitgeist logs file usage, web activity, plus chat and email conversations.
  2. Zeitgeist allows any application to store this information and makes it readily available over a DBus API.
  3. Zeitgeist figures out which are a user's most used items, not only in general, but also applying time scoping as in “What was most relevant to me, while I was working on project X, for a month last year?”.
  4. Using machine-learning algorithms, Zeitgeist can establish relationships between items based on similarity and usage patterns.
  5. Zeitgeist is light-weight and supports extensions to enhance its engine's core feature set.
  6. Extensions reside within the same process as the engine's core logic. They can be used to include information about activity and experience beyond the desktop, such as geo-logging and geo-tagging.

How to remove zeitgeist?

sudo apt-get purge zeitgeist*

Note: Unity uses it in its dashboard to show you most frequently used app, etc.

You might want to switch to xfce. [see Linux: How to Switch to LXDE, Xfce]

Remove Zeitgeist Data Directory

zeitgeist data is at


Linux Misc