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Lead Image © citalliance, 123RF.com

A Bash-based monitoring tool

New Top in Town

Article from ADMIN 58/2020
By
In a sea of top-like tools, bashtop impresses with an easy-to-use and efficient interface.

The simple monitoring tool top is often used to monitor individual systems and can be used for debugging. Because it is such a valuable and highly used tool, similar tools have been created to improve upon it. I did a survey article in late 2014 that mentions several top-like tools [1] (some of which have evolved since then and some that have not).

One of the more common top-like tools, htop [2], is a bit more interactive than top, but it provides very similar information. htop uses ncurses for the interface but reads the data from /proc, as top does. It has a nice graph at the top of the default screen that presents the load on each of the cores. htop is also known for its interactivity with processes.

Although htop is one of the most popular top-like tools, as of this writing (May 2020), the main branch hasn't been updated for 16 months. Although not necessarily a bad thing, it is something to be noticed.

Another top-like tool is atop [3]. Like top, the first part of the output is a summary of system statistics and a list of the major processes appears at the bottom. atop breaks out the system, user, and idle time for the system cores. (It would be fun to try this on a 64-core CPU.) The top portion also covers network and disk information.

atop has a few keyboard shortcuts that allow you to dive deeper into various system aspects. For example, pressing the m key allows you to see memory details, d allows you to see more disk (I/O) details, and u allows you to get information on a per-user basis. One very interesting atop feature is that

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