man top (Commandes) - display Linux tasks


top - display Linux tasks


-hv | -bcisS -d delay -n iterations -p pid [, pid ...]

The traditional switches '-' and whitespace are optional.


The program provides a dynamic real-time view of a running system. It can display system summary information as well as a list of tasks currently being managed by the Linux kernel. The types of system summary information shown and the types, order and size of information displayed for tasks are all user configurable and that configuration can be made persistent across restarts.

The program provides a limited interactive interface for process manipulation as well as a much more extensive interface for personal configuration encompassing every aspect of its operation. And while is referred to throughout this document, you are free to name the program anything you wish. That new name, possibly an alias, will then be reflected on 's display and used when reading and writing a .



The remaining Table of Contents 1. COMMAND-LINE Options 2. FIELDS / Columns a. DESCRIPTIONS of Fields b. SELECTING and ORDERING Columns 3. INTERACTIVE Commands a. GLOBAL Commands b. SUMMARY Area Commands c. TASK Area Commands d. COLOR Mapping 4. ALTERNATE-DISPLAY Mode a. WINDOWS Overview b. COMMANDS for Windows 5. FILES a. SYSTEM Configuration File b. PERSONAL Configuration File 6. STUPID TRICKS Sampler a. Kernel Magic b. Bouncing Windows c. The Big Bird Window 7. BUGS, 8. HISTORY Former top, 9. AUTHOR, 10. SEE ALSO


When operating , the two most important keys are help ('h' or '?') and quit ('q') key. Alternatively, you could simply use the traditional interrupt key ('^C') when you're done.

When you start for the first time, you'll be presented with the traditional screen elements: 1) Summary Area; 2) Message/Prompt Line; 3) Columns Header; 4) Task Area. There will, however, be some differences when compared to the former top.

Summary_Area: There is no highlighting for load/uptime and only values are highlighted for other elements.

Task_Area: Tasks running (or ready to run) will be highlighted, and bold is only one way of emphasizing such processes.

Summary_Area: The program name is shown, perhaps a symlink or alias. The Cpu(s) state label hints at other possibilities. The memory stats use a lower case 'k'.

Columns_Header: Will show a new field and some changed labels. More new fields will be found as you customize your .

the width of 's display will be limited to 512 positions. Displaying all fields requires a minimum of 160 characters. The remaining width could be used for the 'Command' column.

Startup Defaults

The following startup defaults assume no , thus no user customizations. Even so, items shown with an could be overridden through the command-line.

Global_defaults 'A' - Alt display Off (full-screen) * 'd' - Delay time 3.0 seconds 'I' - Irix mode On (no, 'solaris' smp) * 'p' - PID monitoring Off * 's' - Secure mode Off (unsecured) 'B' - Bold disable Off Summary_Area_defaults 'l' - Load Avg/Uptime On (thus program name) 't' - Task/Cpu states On (1+1 lines, see '1') 'm' - Mem/Swap usage On (2 lines worth) '1' - Single Cpu On (thus 1 line if smp) Task_Area_defaults 'b' - Bold hilite On (not 'reverse') * 'c' - Command line Off (name, not cmdline) * 'i' - Idle tasks On (show all tasks) 'R' - Reverse sort On (pids high-to-low) * 'S' - Cumulative time Off (no, dead children) 'x' - Column hilite Off (no, sort field) 'y' - Row hilite On (yes, running tasks) 'z' - color/mono Off (no, colors)


The command-line syntax for consists of:

-hv | -bcisS -d delay -n iterations -p pid [,pid...]

The typically mandatory switches ('-') and even whitespace are completely optional.

-b : Batch mode operation
Starts in 'Batch mode', which could be useful for sending output from to other programs or to a file. In this mode, will not accept input and runs until the iterations limit you've set with the '-n' or until killed.
-c : Command line/Program name toggle
Starts with the last remembered 'c' state reversed. Thus, if was displaying command lines, now that field will show program names, and visa versa. 'c' for additional information.
-d : Delay time interval as: -d (seconds.tenths)
Specifies the delay between screen updates, and overrides the corresponding value in one's personal or the startup default. Later this can be changed with the 'd' or 's' s.

Fractional seconds are honored, but a negative number is not allowed. In all cases, however, such changes are prohibited if is running in 'Secure mode', except for root (unless the 's' was used). For additional information on 'Secure mode' 5a. SYSTEM Configuration File.

-h : Help
Show library version and the usage prompt, then quit.
-i : Idle Processes toggle
Starts with the last remembered 'i' state reversed. When this toggle is F, tasks that are idled or zombied will not be displayed.
-n : Number of iterations limit as: -n number
Specifies the maximum number of iterations, or frames, should produce before ending.
-u : Monitor by user as: -u somebody Monitor only processes with an effective UID or user name matching that given.
-U : Monitor by user as: -U somebody Monitor only processes with a UID or user name matching that given. This matches real, effective, saved, and filesystem UIDs.
-p : Monitor PIDs as: -pN1 -pN2 ... or -pN1, N2 [,...] Monitor only processes with specified process IDs. This option can be given up to 20 times, or you can provide a comma delimited list with up to 20 pids. Co-mingling both approaches is permitted.

This is a only. And should you wish to return to normal operation, it is not necessary to quit and and restart just issue the '=' .

-s : Secure mode operation
Starts with secure mode forced, even for root. This mode is far better controlled through the system ( 5. FILES).
-S : Cumulative time mode toggle
Starts with the last remembered 'S' state reversed. When 'Cumulative mode' is O, each process is listed with the time that it and its dead children have used. 'S' for additional information regarding this mode.
-v : Version
Show library version and the usage prompt, then quit.

2. FIELDS / Columns

2a. DESCRIPTIONS of Fields

Listed below are 's available fields. They are always associated with the letter shown, regardless of the position you may have established for them with the 'o' (Order fields) .

Any field is selectable as the sort field, and you control whether they are sorted high-to-low or low-to-high. For additional information on sort provisions 3c. TASK Area Commands.

a: PID Process Id
The task's unique process ID, which periodically wraps, though never restarting at zero.
b: PPID Parent Process Pid
The process ID of a task's parent.
c: RUSER Real User Name
The real user name of the task's owner.
d: UID User Id
The effective user ID of the task's owner.
e: USER User Name
The effective user name of the task's owner.
f: GROUP Group Name
The effective group name of the task's owner.
g: TTY Controlling Tty
The name of the controlling terminal. This is usually the device (serial port, pty, etc.) from which the process was started, and which it uses for input or output. However, a task need not be associated with a terminal, in which case you'll see '?' displayed.
h: PR Priority
The priority of the task.
i: NI Nice value
The nice value of the task. A negative nice value means higher priority, whereas a positive nice value means lower priority. Zero in this field simply means priority will not be adjusted in determining a task's dispatchability.
j: P Last used (SMP)
A number representing the last used processor. In a true SMP environment this will likely change frequently since the kernel intentionally uses weak affinity. Also, the very act of running may break this weak affinity and cause more processes to change s more often (because of the extra demand for time).
k: %CPU usage
The task's share of the elapsed time since the last screen update, expressed as a percentage of total time. In a true SMP environment, if 'Irix mode' is F, will operate in number of s. You toggle 'Irix/Solaris' modes with the 'I' .
l: TIME Time
Total time the task has used since it started. When 'Cumulative mode' is O, each process is listed with the time that it and its dead children has used. You toggle 'Cumulative mode' with 'S', which is a and an . 'S' for additional information regarding this mode.
m: TIME+ Time, hundredths
The same as 'TIME', but reflecting more granularity through hundredths of a second.
n: %MEM Memory usage (RES)
A task's currently used share of available .
o: VIRT Virtual Image (kb)
The total amount of used by the task. It includes all code, data and shared libraries plus pages that have been swapped out.


p: SWAP Swapped size (kb)
The swapped out portion of a task's total image.
q: RES Resident size (kb)
The non-swapped a task has used.


r: CODE Code size (kb)
The amount of devoted to executable code, also known as the 'text resident set' size or TRS.
s: DATA Data+Stack size (kb)
The amount of devoted to other than executable code, also known as the 'data resident set' size or DRS.
t: SHR Shared Mem size (kb)
The amount of used by a task. It simply reflects memory that could be potentially shared with other processes.
u: nFLT Page Fault count
The number of major page faults that have occurred for a task. A page fault occurs when a process attempts to read from or write to a virtual page that is not currently present in its address space. A major page fault is when backing storage access (such as a disk) is involved in making that page available.
v: nDRT Dirty Pages count
The number of pages that have been modified since they were last written to disk. Dirty pages must be written to disk before the corresponding physical memory location can be used for some other virtual page.
w: S Process Status
The status of the task which can be one of: 'D' = uninterruptible sleep 'R' = running 'S' = sleeping 'T' = traced or stopped 'Z' = zombie

Tasks shown as running should be more properly thought of as 'ready to run' their task_struct is simply represented on the Linux run-queue. Even without a true SMP machine, you may see numerous tasks in this state depending on 's delay interval and nice value.

x: Command Command line or Program name
Display the command line used to start a task or the name of the associated program. You toggle between command line and name with 'c', which is both a and an .

When you've chosen to display command lines, processes without a command line (like kernel threads) will be shown with only the program name in parentheses, as in this example: ( mdrecoveryd )

Either form of display is subject to potential truncation if it's too long to fit in this field's current width. That width depends upon other fields selected, their order and the current screen width.

The 'Command' field/column is unique, in that it is not fixed-width. When displayed, this column will be allocated all remaining screen width (up to the maximum 512 characters) to provide for the potential growth of program names into command lines.

y: WCHAN Sleeping in Function
Depending on the availability of the kernel link map (''), this field will show the name or the address of the kernel function in which the task is currently sleeping. Running tasks will display a dash ('-') in this column.

By displaying this field, 's own working set will be increased by over 700Kb. Your only means of reducing that overhead will be to stop and restart .

z: Flags Task Flags
This column represents the task's current scheduling flags which are expressed in hexadecimal notation and with zeros suppressed. These flags are officially documented in <linux/sched.h>. Less formal documentation can also be found on the 'Fields select' and 'Order fields' screens.


After pressing the s 'f' (Fields select) or 'o' (Order fields) you will be shown a screen containing the current fields string followed by names and descriptions for all fields.

Here is a sample fields string from one of 's four windows/field groups and an explanation of the conventions used: Sample fields string: ANOPQRSTUVXbcdefgjlmyzWHIK The order of displayed fields corresponds to the order of the letters in that string. If the letter is upper case the corresponding field itself will then be shown as part of the (screen width permitting). This will also be indicated by a leading , as in this excerpt: ... * K: %CPU = CPU usage l: TIME = CPU Time m: TIME+ = CPU Time, hundredths * N: %MEM = Memory usage (RES) * O: VIRT = Virtual Image (kb) ...

Fields select screen the 'f'
You toggle the display of a field by simply pressing the corresponding letter.
Order fields screen the 'o'
You move a field to the left by pressing the corresponding upper case letter and to the right with the lower case letter.


Listed below is a brief index of commands within categories. Some commands appear more than once their meaning or scope may vary depending on the context in which they are issued.

3a. GLOBAL_Commands <Ret/Sp> ?, =, A, B, d, G, h, I, k, q, r, s, W, Z 3b. SUMMARY_Area_Commands l, m, t, 1 3c. TASK_Area_Commands Appearance: b, x, y, z Content: c, f, o, S, u Size: #, i, n Sorting: <, >, F, O, R 3d. COLOR_Mapping <Ret>, a, B, b, H, M, q, S, T, w, z, 0 - 7 4b. COMMANDS_for_Windows -, _, =, +, A, a, G, g, w

3a. GLOBAL Commands

The global s are always available in both and . However, some of these s are not available when running in 'Secure mode'.

If you wish to know in advance whether or not your has been secured, simply ask for help and view the system summary on the second line.

<Enter> or <Space> :Refresh_Display
These commands do nothing, they are simply ignored. However, they will awaken and following receipt of any input the entire display will be repainted.

Use either of these keys if you have a large delay interval and wish to see current status,

<?> or <h> :Help
There are two help levels available. The first will provide a reminder of all the basic s. If is secured, that screen will be abbreviated.

Typing 'h' or '?' on that help screen will take you to help for those s applicable to .

<=> :Exit_Task_Limits
Removes restrictions on which tasks are shown. This command will reverse any 'i' (idle tasks) and 'n' (max tasks) commands that might be active. It also provides for an 'exit' from PID monitoring. See the '-p' for a discussion of PID monitoring.

When operating in this command has a slightly broader meaning.

<A> :Alternate_Display_Mode_toggle
This command will switch between and . 4. ALTERNATE-DISPLAY Mode and the 'G' for insight into s and field groups.
<B> :Bold_Disable/Enable_toggle
This command will influence use of the 'bold' terminfo capability and alters both the and for the . While it is intended primarily for use with dumb terminals, it can be applied anytime.

When this toggle is O and is operating in monochrome mode, the entire display will appear as normal text. Thus, unless the 'x' and/or 'y' toggles are using reverse for emphasis, there will be no visual confirmation that they are even on.

* <d> or <s> :Change_Delay_Time_interval
You will be prompted to enter the delay time, in seconds, between display updates.

Fractional seconds are honored, but a negative number is not allowed. Entering 0 causes (nearly) continuous updates, with an unsatisfactory display as the system and tty driver try to keep up with 's demands. The delay value is inversely proportional to system loading, so set it with care.

If at any time you wish to know the current delay time, simply ask for help and view the system summary on the second line.

<G> :Choose_Another_Window/Field_Group
You will be prompted to enter a number between 1 and 4 designating the window/field group which should be made the . You will soon grow comfortable with these 4 windows, especially after experimenting with .
<I> :Irix/Solaris_Mode_toggle
When operating in 'Solaris mode' ('I' toggled F), a task's usage will be divided by the total number of s. After issuing this command, you'll be informed of the new state of this toggle.
<u> :select a user
You will be prompted for a UID or username. Only processes belonging to the selected user will be displayed. This option matches on the effective UID.
<U> :select a user
You will be prompted for a UID or username. Only processes belonging to the selected user will be displayed. This option matches on the real, effective, saved, and filesystem UID.
* <k> :Kill_a_task
You will be prompted for a PID and then the signal to send. The default signal, as reflected in the prompt, is SIGTERM. However, you can send any signal, via number or name.

If you wish to abort the kill process, do one of the following depending on your progress: 1) at the pid prompt, just press <Enter> 2) at the signal prompt, type 0

<q> :Quit
* <r> :Renice_a_Task
You will be prompted for a PID and then the value to nice it to. Entering a positive value will cause a process to lose priority. Conversely, a negative value will cause a process to be viewed more favorably by the kernel.
<W> :Write_the_Configuration_File
This will save all of your options and toggles plus the current display mode and delay time. By issuing this command just before quitting , you will be able restart later in exactly that same state.
<Z> :Change_Color_Mapping This key will take you to a separate screen where you can change the colors for the , or for all windows. For details regarding this 3d. COLOR Mapping.
The commands shown with an are not available in 'Secure mode', nor will they be shown on the level-1 help screen.

3b. SUMMARY Area Commands

The s are always available in both and . They affect the beginning lines of your display and will determine the position of messages and prompts.

These commands always impact just the /field group. 4. ALTERNATE-DISPLAY Mode and the 'G' for insight into s and field groups.

<l> :Toggle_Load_Average/Uptime On/Off
This is also the line containing the program name (possibly an alias) when operating in or the name when operating in .
<m> :Toggle_Memory/Swap_Usage On/Off
This command affects two lines.
<t> :Toggle_Task/Cpu_States On/Off
This command affects from 2 to many lines, depending on the state of the '1' toggle and whether or not is running under true SMP.
<1> :Toggle_Single/Separate_Cpu_States On/Off
This command affects how the 't' command's Cpu States portion is shown. Although this toggle exists primarily to serve massively-parallel SMP machines, it is not restricted to solely SMP environments.

When you see 'Cpu(s):' in the , the '1' toggle is O and all information is gathered in a single line. Otherwise, each is displayed separately as: 'Cpu0, Cpu1, ...'

If the entire has been toggled F for any window, you would be left with just the message line. In that way, you will have maximized available task rows but (temporarily) sacrificed the program name in or the name when in .

3c. TASK Area Commands

The s are always available in .

The s are never available in if the 's has been toggled F ( 4. ALTERNATE-DISPLAY Mode).


The following commands will also be influenced by the state of the global 'B' (bold disable) toggle.

<b> :Bold/Reverse_toggle
This command will impact how the 'x' and 'y' toggles are displayed. Further, it will only be available when at least one of those toggles is O.
<x> :Column_Highlight_toggle
Changes highlighting for the current sort field. You probably don't need a constant visual reminder of the sort field and hopes that you always run with 'column highlight' F, due to the cost in path-length.

If you forget which field is being sorted this command can serve as a quick visual reminder.

<y> :Row_Highlight_toggle
Changes highlighting for "running" tasks. For additional insight into this task state, 2a. DESCRIPTIONS of Fields, Process Status.

Use of this provision provides important insight into your system's health. The only costs will be a few additional tty escape sequences.

<z> :Color/Monochrome_toggle
Switches the between your last used color scheme and the older form of black-on-white or white-on-black. This command will alter both the and but does not affect the state of the 'x', 'y' or 'b' toggles.


<c> :Command_Line/Program_Name_toggle
This command will be honored whether or not the 'Command' column is currently visible. Later, should that field come into view, the change you applied will be seen.
<f> and <o> :Fields_select or Order_fields
These keys display separate screens where you can change which fields are displayed and their order. For additional information on these s 2b. SELECTING and ORDERING Columns.
<S> :Cumulative_Time_Mode_toggle
When 'Cumulative mode' is O, each process is listed with the time that it and its dead children have used.

When F, programs that fork into many separate tasks will appear less demanding. For programs like 'init' or a shell this is appropriate but for others, like compilers, perhaps not. Experiment with two s sharing the same sort field but with different 'S' states and see which representation you prefer.

After issuing this command, you'll be informed of the new state of this toggle. If you wish to know in advance whether or not 'Cumulative mode' is in effect, simply ask for help and view the window summary on the second line.

<u> :Show_Specific_User_Only
You will be prompted to enter the name of the user to display. Thereafter, in that only matching User ID's will be shown, or possibly no tasks will be shown.

Later, if you wish to monitor all tasks again, re-issue this command but just press <Enter> at the prompt, without providing a name.


<i> :Idle_Processes_toggle
Displays all tasks or just active tasks. When this toggle is F, idled or zombied processes will not be displayed.

If this command is applied to the last when in , then it will not affect the window's size, as all prior s will have already been painted.

<n> or <#> :Set_Maximum_Tasks
You will be prompted to enter the number of tasks to display. The lessor of your number and available screen rows will be used.

When used in , this is the command that gives you precise control over the size of each currently visible , except for the very last. It will not affect the last window's size, as all prior s will have already been painted.

If you wish to increase the size of the last visible when in , simply decrease the size of the (s) above it.


For compatibility, this supports most of the former sort keys. Since this is primarily a service to former users, these commands do not appear on any help screen. command sorted field supported A start time (non-display) No M %MEM Yes N PID Yes P %CPU Yes T TIME+ Yes

Before using any of the following sort provisions, suggests that you temporarily turn on column highlighting using the 'x' . That will help ensure that the actual sort environment matches your intent.

The following s will only be honored when the current sort field is visible. The sort field might not be visible because: 1) there is insufficient Screen Width 2) the 'f' turned it F

<<> :Move_Sort_Field_Left
Moves the sort column to the left unless the current sort field is the first field being displayed.
<>> :Move_Sort_Field_Right
Moves the sort column to the right unless the current sort field is the last field being displayed.

The following s will always be honored whether or not the current sort field is visible.

<F> or <O> :Select_Sort_Field
These keys display a separate screen where you can change which field is used as the sort column.

If a field is selected which was not previously being displayed, it will be forced O when you return to the display. However, depending upon your screen width and the order of your fields, this sort field may not be displayable.

This can be a convenient way to simply verify the current sort field, when running with column highlighting turned F.

<R> :Reverse/Normal_Sort_Field_toggle
Using this you can alternate between high-to-low and low-to-high sorts.

Field sorting uses internal values, not those in column display. Thus, the TTY and WCHAN fields will violate strict ASCII collating sequence.

3d. COLOR Mapping

When you issue the 'Z' , you will be presented with a separate screen. That screen can be used to change the colors in just the or in all four windows before returning to the display.

Available s 4 upper case letters to select a target 8 numbers to select a color normal toggles available 'B' :bold disable/enable 'b' :running tasks "bold"/reverse 'z' :color/mono other commands available 'a'/'w' :apply, then go to next/prior <Enter> :apply and exit 'q' :abandon current changes and exit

If your use 'a' or 'w' to cycle the targeted window, you will have applied the color scheme that was displayed when you left that window. You can, of course, easily return to any window and reapply different colors or turn colors F completely with the 'z' toggle.

The Color Mapping screen can also be used to change the /field group in either or . Whatever was targeted when 'q' or <Enter> was pressed will be made current as you return to the display.


4a. WINDOWS Overview

Field Groups/Windows:

In there is a single window represented by the entire screen. That single window can still be changed to display 1 of 4 different field groups ( 'G' , repeated below). Each of the 4 field groups has a unique separately configurable and its own configurable .

In , those 4 underlying field groups can now be made visible simultaneously, or can be turned F individually at your command.

The will always exist, even if it's only the message line. At any given time only one can be displayed. However, depending on your commands, there could be from zero to four separate s currently showing on the screen.

Current Window:

The is the window associated with the and the window to which task related commands are always directed. Since in you can toggle the F, some commands might be restricted for the .

A further complication arises when you have toggled the first line F. With the loss of the window name (the 'l' toggled line), you'll not easily know what window is the .

4b. COMMANDS for Windows

<-> and <_> :Show/Hide_Window(s)_toggles
The '-' key turns the 's O and F. When O, that will show a minimum of the columns header you've established with the 'f' and 'o' commands. It will also reflect any other options/toggles you've applied yielding zero or more tasks.

The '_' key does the same for all s. In other words, it switches between the currently visible (s) and any (s) you had toggled F. If all 4 s are currently visible, this will leave the as the only display element.

* <=> and <+> :Equalize_(re-balance)_Window(s)
The '=' key forces the 's to be visible. It also reverses any 'i' (idle tasks) and 'n' (max tasks) commands that might be active.

The '+' key does the same for all windows. The four s will reappear, evenly balanced. They will also have retained any customizations you had previously applied, except for the 'i' (idle tasks) and 'n' (max tasks) commands.

* <A> :Alternate_Display_Mode_toggle
This command will switch between and .

The first time you issue this command, all four s will be shown. Thereafter when you switch modes, you will see only the (s) you've chosen to make visible.

* <a> and <w> :Next_Window_Forward/Backward
This will change the , which in turn changes the window to which commands are directed. These keys act in a circular fashion so you can reach any desired using either key.

Assuming the window name is visible (you have not toggled 'l' F), whenever the name loses its emphasis/color, that's a reminder the is F and many commands will be restricted.

* <G> :Choose_Another_Window/Field_Group
You will be prompted to enter a number between 1 and 4 designating the window/field group which should be made the .

In , this command is necessary to alter the . In , it is simply a less convenient alternative to the 'a' and 'w' commands.

<g> :Change_Window/Field_Group_Name
You will be prompted for a new name to be applied to the . It does not require that the window name be visible (the 'l' toggle to be O).
The s shown with an have use beyond . '=', 'A', 'G' are always available 'a', 'w' act the same when color mapping


5a. SYSTEM Configuration File

The presence of this file will influence which version of the 'help' screen is shown to an ordinary user. More importantly, it will limit what ordinary users are allowed to do when is running. They will not be able to issue the following commands. k Kill a task r Renice a task d or s Change delay/sleep interval

The system is not created by . Rather, you create this file manually and place it in the /etc directory. Its name must be 'toprc' and must have no leading '.' (period). It must have only two lines.

Here is an example of the contents of /etc/toprc: s # line 1: 'secure' mode switch 5.0 # line 2: 'delay' interval in seconds

5b. PERSONAL Configuration File

This file is written as '$HOME/.your-name-4-top' + 'rc'. Use the 'W' to create it or update it.

Here is the general layout: global # line 1: the program name/alias notation " # line 2: id,altscr,irixps,delay,curwin per ea # line a: winname,fieldscur window # line b: winflags,sortindx,maxtasks " # line c: summclr,msgsclr,headclr,taskclr

If the $HOME variable is not present, will try to write the personal to the current directory, subject to permissions.


Many of these 'tricks' work best when you give a scheduling boost. So plan on starting him with a nice value of -10, assuming you've got the authority.

6a. Kernel Magic

For these stupid tricks, needs .

The user interface, through prompts and help, intentionally implies that the delay interval is limited to tenths of a second. However, you're free to set any desired delay. If you want to see Linux at his scheduling best, try a delay of .09 seconds or less.

For this experiment, under x-windows open an xterm and maximize it. Then do the following: . provide a scheduling boost and tiny delay via: nice -n -10 top -d.09 . keep sorted column highlighting F to minimize path length . turn O reverse row highlighting for emphasis . try various sort columns (TIME/MEM work well), and normal or reverse sorts to bring the most active processes into view

What you'll see is a very busy Linux doing what he's always done for you, but there was no program available to illustrate this.

Under an xterm using 'white-on-black' colors, try setting 's task color to black and be sure that task highlighting is set to bold, not reverse. Then set the delay interval to around .3 seconds.

After bringing the most active processes into view, what you'll see are the ghostly images of just the currently running tasks.

Delete the existing rcfile, or create a new symlink. Start this new version then type 'T' (a secret key, 3c. TASK Area Commands, Sorting) followed by 'W' and 'q'. Finally, restart the program with -d0 (zero delay).

Your display will be refreshed at three times the rate of the former , a 300% speed advantage. As climbs the TIME ladder, be as patient as you can while speculating on whether or not will ever reach the .

6b. Bouncing Windows

For these stupid tricks, needs .

With 3 or 4 s visible, pick any window other than the last and turn idle processes F. Depending on where you applied 'i', sometimes several s are bouncing and sometimes it's like an accordion, as tries his best to allocate space.

Set each window's summary lines differently: one with no memory; another with no states; maybe one with nothing at all, just the message line. Then hold down 'a' or 'w' and watch a variation on bouncing windows hopping windows.

Display all 4 windows and for each, in turn, set idle processes to F. You've just entered the "extreme bounce" zone.

6c. The Big Bird Window

This stupid trick also requires .

Display all 4 windows and make sure that 1:Def is the . Then, keep increasing window size until the all the other s are "pushed out of the nest".

When they've all been displaced, toggle between all visible/invisible windows. Then ponder this:

is fibbing or telling honestly your imposed truth?


Send bug reports to: Albert D. Cahalan, <>

8. HISTORY Former top

The original top was written by Roger Binns, based on Branko Lankester's <> ps program.

Robert Nation <> adapted it for the proc file system.

Helmut Geyer <> added support for configurable fields.

Plus many other individuals contributed over the years.


This entirely new and enhanced replacement was written by: Jim / James C. Warner, <> ( as a means to learn Linux, can you believe it? ) ( & he accidentally learned a little groff, too! )

With invaluable help from: Albert D. Cahalan, <> Craig Small, <>

-*- few though they are, some yet believe -*- -*-~~~~~~~in-the-art-of-programming~~~~~~~-*-


free(1), ps(1), uptime(1), atop(1), slabtop(1), vmstat(8), w(1).

-*- Copyright (c) 2002 JC Warner & Associates, Ltd.

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