Excellent Utilities: fkill – kill processes quick and easy

Last Updated on May 22, 2022

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 https://github.com/sindresorhus/fkill-cli.git
$ 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
AES CryptEncrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
CerebroFast application launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
CopyQAdvanced clipboard manager
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
ezaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
KoohaSimple screen recorder
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats
ImagineA simple yet effective image optimization tool
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
naviInteractive cheatsheet tool
notiMonitors a command or process and triggers a notification
NushellFlexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
nvitopGPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
Oh My ZshFramework to manage your Zsh configuration
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
pastelGenerate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
RnoteSketch and take handwritten notes
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
StickySimulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
ZellijTerminal workspace with batteries included
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