Excellent Utilities: fkill – kill processes quick and easy

This is a new series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We’ll be covering a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides.

The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. And if you ever want to harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended to master it. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources.

Like any operating system, a Linux machine is always running lots of programs. Some are essential for the operating system to run, others are invoked by users. These programs are known as “processes”. A process normally ends when a program is closed or not needed. However, sometimes a process can get “stuck”, potentially consuming globs of RAM and/or CPU cycles. If this happens, it’s best to manually “kill” the process.

The Linux operating system comes supplied with a utility that deals with this situation. It’s called kill, one of numerous essential utilities shipped with util-linux, a standard package distributed as part of Linux. One thing a newcomer to Linux learns quickly is that they’re never limited to a single way of performing a task. And killing processes is no exception. In this article, we’ll look at an alternative to kill. It’s called fkill. It’s billed as offering a quicker and easier way to terminating processes.

fkill is actually a cross-platform utility. Besides Linux, it also runs on macOS and Windows.


Installing fkill is trivial; clone the project’s GitHub repository, and install the software using npm, the package manager for JavaScript.

$ git clone
$ cd fkill-cli/
$ sudo npm install --global fkill-cli

You’ll need Node.js installed on your system.

I haven’t checked how many Linux distributions provide a package for fkill, although it’s available in the Arch User Repository.

fkill is available in the Snap Store. Snaps work across Linux on any distribution or version. They let developers bundle dependencies and assets into a package, simplifying installs to a single standard command.

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Other Features
Page 4 – Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
AbricotineMarkdown editor with inline preview functionality
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
fkillKill processes quick and easy
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
exaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.