Excellent Utilities: fkill – kill processes quick and easy

In Operation

Starting fkill is just a matter of typing the command fkill at a shell.

fkill offers an interactive way of showing and managing the running processes. This mode is invoked fkill without arguments.

Here’s a recording of a terminal session of the interactive method in action. Purely for illustration, I’m ending the process belonging to Tauon Music Box, an excellent music player.

You can see me manually scrolling through the list, until I come to the process in question. Pressing Enter terminates the selected process.


The list shows the process ID, and where relevant the port.

There’s an even easier way to find a process in question. Just start typing the name of the process, and the software applies a filter, narrowing down the number of processes as you type.


The filtering functionality doesn’t implement fuzzy searching though. This means that no entries will show if I transpose characters of the search term, or omit a letter. That’s a shame.

There’s an alternative to the interactive method. Let’s say RStudio becomes unresponsive. I can issue the command at the shell:

$ fkill RStudio

And RStudio is terminated. Quick and easy. No need to scroll through a list of processes, even with filtering.

fkill supports process name and process ID as arguments. So if an application hangs, you don’t need to look up the relevant process ID (with a separate utility such as ps, top, gtop, ….). And it requires a little experience to interpret the output of ps/top/gtop. I’ve killed the wrong process in error occasionally. Sometimes this is because I’ve misread the process ID (PID), or it’s not actually clear what PID needs to be terminated. With fkill things are a bit simpler.

If you prefer the more traditional way of killing processes, you can still terminate a process once you’ve determined its PID. In this way, the software is functionally the same as kill.

You can also kill a port by prefixing it with a colon. Port 8080 is typically used for a personally hosted web server. If you want to kill that port, just type:

$ fkill :8080

If that port is not open, you’ll receive the error message “Couldn’t find a process with port ‘8080’”.

Next page: Page 3 – Other Features

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
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