Console Process Viewers

10 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.

Command-Line Interfacetop 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.

Here’s our rating for the featured open source software.

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Top

Let’s explore the 10 alternatives to top at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page (or a detailed review), a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources.

Process Viewers
htopProvides a full list of processes running
BpyTOPPresents the system resources in a logical and well-thought out way
nmonPerformance monitoring tool
GlancesSystem monitoring tool written in Python
gtopSystem monitoring dashboard for the terminal
ConkyAdvanced, highly configurable system monitor for X based on torsmo
atopMonitor for system resources and process activity
sysstatSystem performance tools
collectlCollects data that describes the current system status
SaidarDisplays live system statistics

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Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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