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Linux Candy: pscircle visualizes Linux processes in a form of radial tree

In Operation

pscircle is a CLI program so you’ll need to see the available options (and there are lots of them). The options are displayed with $ pscircle --help

By default, pscircles outputs to the X11 root window.

Many desktop environments such as GNOME and KDE don’t display the root window. As we’re running GNOME, we need to save the image to a file using --output=file.png.

The list below explains some of the options available:

  • By default pscircle calculates CPU utilization and processes PCPU values from system start time and process start time. But using --interval=1 the values are calculated over a specified interval.
  • Run pscircle in the background as a daemon with the option of a loop delay.
  • Define the output height and width.
  • Set the maximum number of child processes.
  • Color options for processes with RSS/CPU etc above and below a defined value.
  • Various tree options such as setting the position of a tree center, set the difference between radii of concentric circles, define tree rotation angle and more.
  • Define colors for different elements such as the background color of the dots.
  • Option to display processes owned by root.

Here’s an example with lots of different options set.

$ pscircle --background-color=1e2226 --link-color-min=375143a0 --link-color-max=375143 --dot-color-min=7c762f --dot-color-max=b56e46 --tree-font-size=18 --tree-font-color=94bfd1 --tree-font-face="Noto Sans" --toplists-row-height=35 --toplists-font-size=24 --toplists-font-color=C8D2D7 --toplists-pid-font-color=7B9098 --toplists-font-face="Liberation Sans" --toplists-bar-height=7 --toplists-bar-background=444444 --toplists-bar-color=7d54dd --output=pscircle-example.png

The image generated from that command is shown below.

Example output from pscircle
Click image for full size


We wouldn’t describe pscircle as an essential utility. But it offers a different take on the venerable ps command.

Given that most users use a desktop environment like KDE or GNOME that don’t display the X11 root window as desktop wallpaper, the usefulness of pscircle is rather niche. If you’re running such a desktop environment you’ll be limited to saving the image to a file, and then set the path to the image in your wallpaper system config. More enterprising users could craft a script to update the wallpaper automatically.

Developer: Ruslan Kuchumov
License: GNU General Public License v2.0

pscircle is written in C. Learn C with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction and Installation
Page 2 – In Operation and Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Linux Candy
ASCIIQuariumEmbrace marine life from the terminal with beautiful ASCII art
ASCII Art ConverterA small utility that converts images into ASCII art
BobRossQuotesCollection of quotes from Bob Ross
BoxesCommand line ASCII boxes
BuohOnline strips comics reader
cacafireColor ASCII fire
catclockxclock with an enhanced cat mode
cbonsaiGenerate bonsai trees in the terminal
christmasfetchFestive cheer on the desktop
chucknorrisChuck Norris jokes in your terminal
cornyjokesCorny jokes for the terminal
CMatrixncurses program that simulates the display from “The Matrix”
ctreeA Christmas tree right on your terminal
eDEX-UISci-fi computer terminal emulator and system monitor
emojSimple tool that to find suitable emojis for pasting to your clipboard
EmoteModern popup emoji picker
EvolvotronInteractive generative art
FantasceneDynamic wallpaper changer
FondoFind beautiful wallpapers from Unsplash
gtiTypo-based curio inspired by Steam Locomotive
HollywoodFill your console with Hollywood melodrama technobabble
linuxwaveGenerate music from the entropy of Linux
lolcatRainbows and unicorns
No More SecretsRecreates the data decryption effect from the Sneakers movie
nyancatTerminal-based Pop Tart Cat Animation
onekoAnimal chasing fun
pipes.shAnimated pipes terminal screensaver
ponysaycowsay reimplemention for ponies
projectMMusic visualizer originally based on Milkdrop
pscircleA different take on the venerable ps command
pyjokesOne line jokes for programmers
PywalGenerate color schemes on the fly
RelaxatorRelax to soothing sounds
Rusty AquariumMonitoring by visualization
Steam LocomotiveC program written in 295 lines. It's harmless fun
TernimalAnimated lifeform in the terminal
terminal-parrotParty parrot time
tetrisTile-matching puzzle video game in your terminal
VarietyWallpaper manager with many desktops and wallpaper sources
WallGenGenerate HQ poly wallpapers with a few arguments.
WallpaperDownloaderDownload, change, and manage wallpapers
xcowsayDisplays a cow on your desktop with message
XDecorationsAdd some festive cheer to your desktop
XScreenSaverFramework and collection of screensavers
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