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5 Useful Alternatives to the Top Utility

5 Useful Alternatives to the Top Utility

The top utility will need little introduction to seasoned Linux users. top is a small utility that offers a dynamic real-time view of a running system. It allows users to monitor the processes that are running on a system. top has two main sections, with the first showing general system information such as the amount of time the system has been up, load averages, the number of running and sleeping tasks, as well as information on memory and swap usage. The second main section displays an ordered list of processes and their process ID number, the user who owns the process, the amount of resources the process is consuming (processor and memory), as well as the running time of that process. Some versions of top offer extensive customization of the display, such as choice of columns or sorting method.

top is a very popular utility. It helps with system administration by identifying users and processes that are hogging the system. It is also useful for non-system administrators, helping to track and kill errant processes. However, top is showing its age and there are a bunch of utilities that offer a more feature-laden alternative. The purpose of this article is to identify alternatives to top that offer more control in managing processes on a running system.


Now, let's explore the 5 alternatives to top at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Process Viewers
htop Provides a full list of processes running
Conky Advanced, highly configurable system monitor for X based on torsmo
Linux Process Viewer Enables fine grained examination of processes
atop Monitor for system resources and process activity
nmon Performance monitoring tool

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Last Updated Sunday, May 31 2015 @ 03:33 PM EDT


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