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. manual page for NEW top
. Copyright (c) 2002, by: JC Warner & Associates, Ltd.
. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
. under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or
. any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
. with no Front-Cover Texts, no Back-Cover Texts, and with the following
. Invariant Sections (and any sub-sections therein):
. all .ig sections, including this one
. A copy of the Free Documentation License is included in the section
. entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
. [ that section is found near the end of this document & ]
. [ can be made printable by disabling the .ig directive! ]
.\" Setup ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
\# ** Comment out '.nr' or set to 0 to eliminate WIDTH fiddlin' !
.nr half_xtra 4
.ll +(\n[half_xtra] + \n[half_xtra])
\# Our darn Bullet style ----------------------------
.de Jbu
.IP "-" 3
\# - bullet continuation paragraph
.de Jp
.IP "" 3
\# New features/differences style -------------------
.de New
.IP "-*-" 5
\# Commonly used strings (for consistency) ----------
\# - a real em-dash, darn-it
.ds EM \ \fB\-\-\ \fR
\# - these two are for chuckles, makes great grammar
.ds Me top
.ds ME \fBtop\fR
\# - other misc strings for consistent usage/emphasis
.ds F \fIOff\fR
.ds O \fIOn\fR
.ds AM alternate\-display mode
.ds AS asterisk ('*')
.ds CF configuration file
.ds CI interactive command
.ds CO command\-line option
.ds CW \'current' window
.ds FM full\-screen mode
.ds MP \fBphysical\fR memory
.ds MS \fBshared\fR memory
.ds MV \fBvirtual\fR memory
.ds NT \fBNote\fR:
.ds PU CPU
.ds Pu cpu
.ds SA summary area
.ds TA task area
.ds TD task display
.ds TW task window
\# - xref's that depend on commands or topic names
.ds XC See the
.ds Xc see the
.ds XT See topic
.ds Xt see topic
.\" //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.TH TOP 1 "September 2002" "Linux" "Linux User's Manual"
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
top \- display Linux tasks
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
\*(ME \-\fBhv\fR | \-\fBbcHisS\fR \-\fBd\fI delay\fR \-\fBn\fI
iterations\fR \-\fBp\fI pid\fR [,\fI pid\fR ...]
The traditional switches '-' and whitespace are optional.
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
The \*(ME program provides a dynamic real-time view of a running system.
It can display\fB system\fR summary information as well as a list of\fB
tasks\fR 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 \*(EM encompassing every aspect of its operation.
And while \*(ME 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 \*(Me's display
and used when reading and writing a \*(CF.
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ......................................................................
.SS Documentation
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
The remaining Table of Contents
1. COMMAND\-LINE Options
2. FIELDS / Columns
a. GLOBAL Commands
b. SUMMARY Area Commands
c. TASK Area Commands
d. COLOR Mapping
a. WINDOWS Overview
b. COMMANDS for Windows
a. SYSTEM Configuration File
b. PERSONAL Configuration File
a. Kernel Magic
b. Bouncing Windows
c. The Big Bird Window
7. BUGS, 8. HISTORY Former top, 9. AUTHOR, 10. SEE ALSO
.\" ......................................................................
.SS Operation
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
When operating \*(Me, 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 \*(Me 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.
.TP 3
.B Highlighting
.I Summary_Area\fR:
There is no highlighting for load/uptime and only values are highlighted for
other elements.
.I Task_Area\fR:
Tasks running (or ready to run) will be highlighted, and bold is only one way
of emphasizing such processes.
.TP 3
.B Content/Labels
.I Summary_Area\fR:
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'.
.I Columns_Header\fR:
Will show a new field and some changed labels.
More new fields will be found as you customize your \*(Me.
\*(NT the width of \*(Me'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.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS Startup Defaults
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
The following startup defaults assume no \*(CF, thus no user customizations.
Even so, items shown with an \*(AS could be overridden through the
'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
'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)
'b' - Bold hilite On\ \ (not 'reverse')
* 'c' - Command line Off (name, not cmdline)
* 'H' - Threads Off\ (show all threads)
* '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 \*(Me consists of:
\-\fBhv\fR\ |\ -\fBbcHisS\fR\ \-\fBd\fI\ delay\fR\ \-\fBn\fI\ iterations\
\fR\ \-\fBp\fI\ pid\fR\ [,\fIpid\fR...]
The typically mandatory switches ('-') and even whitespace are completely
.TP 5
\-\fBb\fR :\fB Batch mode\fR operation
Starts \*(Me in 'Batch mode', which could be useful for sending output
from \*(Me to other programs or to a file.
In this mode, \*(Me will not accept input and runs until the iterations
limit you've set with the '-n' \*(CO or until killed.
.TP 5
\-\fBc\fR :\fB Command line/Program name\fR toggle
Starts \*(Me with the last remembered 'c' state reversed.
Thus, if \*(Me was displaying command lines, now that field will show program
names, and visa versa.
\*(XC 'c' \*(CI for additional information.
.TP 5
\-\fBd\fR :\fB Delay time\fR interval as:\ \ \fB-d\fR (\fIseconds\fR.\fItenths\fR)
Specifies the delay between screen updates, and overrides the corresponding
value in one's personal \*(CF or the startup default.
Later this can be changed with the 'd' or 's' \*(CIs.
Fractional seconds are honored, but a negative number is not allowed.
In all cases, however, such changes are prohibited if \*(Me is running
in 'Secure mode', except for root (unless the 's' \*(CO was used).
For additional information on 'Secure mode' \*(Xt 5a. SYSTEM Configuration File.
.TP 5
\-\fBh\fR :\fB Help\fR
Show library version and the usage prompt, then quit.
.TP 5
\-\fBH\fR :\fB Threads\fR toggle
Starts \*(Me with the last remembered 'H' state reversed.
When this toggle is \*O, all individual threads will be displayed. Otherwise, \*(Me displays a summation of all threads in a process.
.TP 5
\-\fBi\fR :\fB Idle Processes\fR toggle
Starts \*(Me with the last remembered 'i' state reversed.
When this toggle is \*F, tasks that are idled or zombied will not be displayed.
.TP 5
\-\fBn\fR :\fB Number of iterations\fR limit as:\fB\ \ -n number\fR
Specifies the maximum number of iterations, or frames, \*(Me should
produce before ending.
.TP 5
\-\fBu\fR :\fB Monitor by user\fR as:\fB\ \ -u somebody
Monitor only processes with an effective UID or user name
matching that given.
.TP 5
\-\fBU\fR :\fB Monitor by user\fR as:\fB\ \ -U somebody
Monitor only processes with a UID or user name matching that given.
This matches real, effective, saved, and filesystem UIDs.
.TP 5
\-\fBp\fR :\fB Monitor PIDs\fR as:\fB\ \ -pN1 -pN2 ...\fR\ \ or\fB\ \ -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 \*(CO only.
And should you wish to return to normal operation, it is not necessary
to quit and and restart \*(Me \*(EM just issue the '=' \*(CI.
.TP 5
\-\fBs\fR :\fB Secure mode\fR operation
Starts \*(Me with secure mode forced, even for root.
This mode is far better controlled through the system \*(CF
(\*(Xt 5. FILES).
.TP 5
\-\fBS\fR :\fB Cumulative time mode\fR toggle
Starts \*(Me with the last remembered 'S' state reversed.
When 'Cumulative mode' is \*O, each process is listed with the \*(Pu
time that it and its dead children have used.
\*(XC 'S' \*(CI for additional information regarding this mode.
.TP 5
\-\fBv\fR :\fB Version\fR
Show library version and the usage prompt, then quit.
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.SH 2. FIELDS / Columns
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 2a. DESCRIPTIONS of Fields
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Listed below are \*(Me'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) \*(CI.
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 \*(Xt 3c. TASK Area Commands.
.TP 3
a:\fB PID\fR \*(EM Process Id\fR
The task's unique process ID, which periodically wraps,
though never restarting at zero.
.TP 3
b:\fB PPID\fR \*(EM Parent Process Pid\fR
The process ID of a task's parent.
.TP 3
c:\fB RUSER\fR \*(EM Real User Name\fR
The real user name of the task's owner.
.TP 3
d:\fB UID\fR \*(EM User Id\fR
The effective user ID of the task's owner.
.TP 3
e:\fB USER\fR \*(EM User Name\fR
The effective user name of the task's owner.
.TP 3
f:\fB GROUP\fR \*(EM Group Name\fR
The effective group name of the task's owner.
.TP 3
g:\fB TTY\fR \*(EM 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.
.TP 3
h:\fB PR\fR \*(EM Priority
The priority of the task.
.TP 3
i:\fB NI\fR \*(EM 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.
.TP 3
j:\fB P\fR \*(EM Last used \*(PU (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 \*(Me may break this weak affinity and cause more
processes to change \*(PUs more often (because of the extra demand for
\*(Pu time).
.TP 3
k:\fB %CPU\fR \*(EM \*(PU usage
The task's share of the elapsed \*(PU time since the last screen update,
expressed as a percentage of total \*(PU time.
In a true SMP environment, if 'Irix mode' is \*F, \*(Me will operate
in 'Solaris mode' where a task's \*(Pu usage will be divided by the total
number of \*(PUs.
You toggle 'Irix/Solaris' modes with the 'I' \*(CI.
.TP 3
l:\fB TIME\fR \*(EM \*(PU Time
Total \*(PU time the task has used since it started.
When 'Cumulative mode' is \*O, each process is listed with the \*(Pu
time that it and its dead children has used.
You toggle 'Cumulative mode' with 'S', which is a \*(CO and an \*(CI.
\*(XC 'S' \*(CI for additional information regarding this mode.
.TP 3
m:\fB TIME+\fR \*(EM \*(PU Time, hundredths
The same as 'TIME', but reflecting more granularity through hundredths of
a second.
.TP 3
n:\fB %MEM\fR \*(EM Memory usage (RES)
A task's currently used share of available \*(MP.
.TP 3
o:\fB VIRT\fR \*(EM Virtual Image (kb)
The total amount of \*(MV used by the task.
It includes all code, data and shared libraries plus pages that have been
swapped out.
.TP 3
p:\fB SWAP\fR \*(EM Swapped size (kb)
The swapped out portion of a task's total \*(MV image.
.TP 3
q:\fB RES\fR \*(EM Resident size (kb)
The non-swapped \*(MP a task has used.
.TP 3
r:\fB CODE\fR \*(EM Code size (kb)
The amount of \*(MP devoted to executable code, also known as
the 'text resident set' size or TRS.
.TP 3
s:\fB DATA\fR \*(EM Data+Stack size (kb)
The amount of \*(MP devoted to other than executable code, also known as
the 'data resident set' size or DRS.
.TP 3
t:\fB SHR\fR \*(EM Shared Mem size (kb)
The amount of \*(MS used by a task.
It simply reflects memory that could be potentially shared with
other processes.
.TP 3
u:\fB nFLT\fR \*(EM Page Fault count
The number of\fB major\fR 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 disk access is involved in making that
page available.
.TP 3
v:\fB nDRT\fR \*(EM 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.
.TP 3
w:\fB S\fR \*(EM Process Status
The status of the task which can be one of:
'\fBD\fR' = uninterruptible sleep
'\fBR\fR' = running
'\fBS\fR' = sleeping
'\fBT\fR' = traced or stopped
'\fBZ\fR' = zombie
Tasks shown as running should be more properly thought of as 'ready to run'
\*(EM 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 \*(Me's delay interval and nice value.
.TP 3
x:\fB Command\fR \*(EM Command\fB line\fR or Program\fB name\fR
Display the command line used to start a task or the name of the associated
You toggle between command\fI line\fR and\fI name\fR with 'c', which is both
a \*(CO and an \*(CI.
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:
\fR( 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.
\*(NT 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.
.TP 3
y:\fB WCHAN\fR \*(EM 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.
\*(NT By displaying this field, \*(Me's own working set will be increased by
over 700Kb.
Your only means of reducing that overhead will be to stop and restart \*(Me.
.TP 3
z:\fB Flags\fR \*(EM 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 \*(CIs 'f' (Fields select) or \'o' (Order fields) you will
be shown a screen containing the current \fBfields string\fR followed by names
and descriptions for all fields.
Here is a sample\fB fields string\fR from one of \*(Me's four windows/field
groups and an explanation of the conventions used:
Sample fields string:
The order of displayed fields corresponds to the order of the letters
in that string.
If the letter is\fI upper case\fR the corresponding field itself will
then be shown as part of the \*(TD (screen width permitting).
This will also be indicated by a leading \*(AS, as in this excerpt:
\fB* K: %CPU = CPU usage
\fR l: TIME = CPU Time
\fR m: TIME+ = CPU Time, hundredths
\fB* N: %MEM = Memory usage (RES)
\fB* O: VIRT = Virtual Image (kb)
.B Fields select\fR screen \*(EM the 'f' \*(CI
You\fI toggle\fR the\fB display\fR of a field by simply pressing the
corresponding letter.
.B Order fields\fR screen \*(EM the 'o' \*(CI
You\fI move\fR a field to the\fB left\fR by pressing the corresponding\fB
upper case\fR letter and to the\fB right\fR with the\fB lower case\fR
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Listed below is a brief index of commands within categories.
Some commands appear more than once \*(EM their meaning or scope may vary
depending on the context in which they are issued.
3a.\fI GLOBAL_Commands\fR
<Ret/Sp> ?, =, A, B, d, G, h, I, k, q, r, s, W, Z
3b.\fI SUMMARY_Area_Commands\fR
l, m, t, 1
3c.\fI TASK_Area_Commands\fR
Appearance: b, x, y, z
Content: c, f, H, o, S, u
Size: #, i, n
Sorting: <, >, F, O, R
3d.\fI COLOR_Mapping\fR
<Ret>, a, B, b, H, M, q, S, T, w, z, 0 - 7
4b.\fI COMMANDS_for_Windows\fR
-, _, =, +, A, a, G, g, w
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 3a. GLOBAL Commands
The global \*(CIs are\fB always\fR available\fR in both \*(FM and \*(AM.
However, some of these \*(CIs are\fB not available\fR when running
in 'Secure mode'.
If you wish to know in advance whether or not your \*(Me has been secured,
simply ask for help and view the system summary on the second line.
.TP 7
\ \ \<\fBEnter\fR> or <\fBSpace\fR> :\fIRefresh_Display\fR
These commands do nothing, they are simply ignored.
However, they will awaken \*(Me 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,
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fB?\fR\' or \'\fBh\fR\' :\fIHelp\fR
There are two help levels available.
The first will provide a reminder of all the basic \*(CIs.
If \*(Me is\fI secured\fR, that screen will be abbreviated.
Typing 'h' or '?' on that help screen will take you to help for those \*(CIs
applicable to \*(AM.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fB=\fR\' :\fIExit_Task_Limits\fR
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' \*(CO for a discussion of PID monitoring.
When operating in \*(AM this command has a slightly broader meaning.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBA\fR\' :\fIAlternate_Display_Mode_toggle\fR
This command will switch between \*(FM and \*(AM.
\*(XT 4. ALTERNATE\-DISPLAY Mode and the 'G' \*(CI for insight into
\*(CWs and field groups.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBB\fR\' :\fIBold_Disable/Enable_toggle\fR
This command will influence use of the 'bold' terminfo capability and
alters\fB both\fR the \*(SA and \*(TA for the \*(CW.
While it is intended primarily for use with dumb terminals, it can be
applied anytime.
\*(NT When this toggle is \*O and \*(Me is operating in monochrome mode,
the\fB entire display\fR 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.
.TP 7
*\ \'\fBd\fR\' or \'\fBs\fR\' :\fIChange_Delay_Time_interval\fR
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 \*(Me'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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBG\fR\' :\fIChoose_Another_Window/Field_Group\fR
You will be prompted to enter a number between 1 and 4 designating the
window/field group which should be made the \*(CW.
You will soon grow comfortable with these 4 windows, especially after
experimenting with \*(AM.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBI\fR\' :\fIIrix/Solaris_Mode_toggle\fR
When operating in 'Solaris mode' ('I' toggled \*F), a task's \*(Pu usage
will be divided by the total number of \*(PUs.
After issuing this command, you'll be informed of the new state of this toggle.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBu\fR\' :\fIselect a user\fR
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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBU\fR\' :\fIselect a user\fR
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.
.TP 7
*\ \'\fBk\fR\' :\fIKill_a_task\fR
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
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBq\fR\' :\fIQuit\fR
.TP 7
*\ \'\fBr\fR\' :\fIRenice_a_Task\fR
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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBW\fR\' :\fIWrite_the_Configuration_File\fR
This will save all of your options and toggles plus the current
display mode and delay time.
By issuing this command just before quitting \*(Me, you will be able restart
later in exactly that same state.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBZ\fR\' :\fIChange_Color_Mapping
This key will take you to a separate screen where you can change the
colors for the \*(CW, or for all windows.
For details regarding this \*(CI \*(Xt 3d. COLOR Mapping.
.IP "*" 3
The commands shown with an \*(AS are not available in 'Secure mode',
nor will they be shown on the level-1 help screen.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 3b. SUMMARY Area Commands
The \*(SA \*(CIs are\fB always available\fR in both \*(FM and \*(AM.
They affect the beginning lines of your display and will determine the position
of messages and prompts.
These commands always impact just the \*(CW/field group.
\*(XT 4. ALTERNATE\-DISPLAY Mode and the 'G' \*(CI for insight into
\*(CWs and field groups.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBl\fR\' :\fIToggle_Load_Average/Uptime\fR \*(EM On/Off
This is also the line containing the program name (possibly an alias) when
operating in \*(FM or the \*(CW name when operating in \*(AM.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBm\fR\' :\fIToggle_Memory/Swap_Usage\fR \*(EM On/Off
This command affects two \*(SA lines.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBt\fR\' :\fIToggle_Task/Cpu_States\fR \*(EM On/Off
This command affects from 2 to many \*(SA lines, depending on the state
of the '1' toggle and whether or not \*(Me is running under true SMP.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fB1\fR\' :\fIToggle_Single/Separate_Cpu_States\fR \*(EM 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 \*(SA, the '1' toggle is \*O and all
\*(Pu information is gathered in a single line.
Otherwise, each \*(Pu is displayed separately as: 'Cpu0, Cpu1, ...'
\*(NT If the entire \*(SA has been toggled \*F for any window, you would be left
with just the\fB message line\fR.
In that way, you will have maximized available task rows but (temporarily)
sacrificed the program name in \*(FM or the \*(CW name when in \*(AM.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 3c. TASK Area Commands
The \*(TA \*(CIs are\fB always\fR available in \*(FM.
The \*(TA \*(CIs are\fB never available\fR in \*(AM\fI if\fR the \*(CW's
\*(TD has been toggled \*F (\*(Xt 4. ALTERNATE\-DISPLAY Mode).
.\" .........................
.in +2
The following commands will also be influenced by the state of the
global 'B' (bold disable) toggle.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBb\fR\' :\fIBold/Reverse_toggle\fR
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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBx\fR\' :\fIColumn_Highlight_toggle\fR
Changes highlighting for the current sort field.
You probably don't need a constant visual reminder of the sort field and
\*(Me 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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBy\fR\' :\fIRow_Highlight_toggle\fR
Changes highlighting for "running" tasks.
For additional insight into this task state, \*(Xt 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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBz\fR\' :\fIColor/Monochrome_toggle\fR
Switches the \*(CW between your last used color scheme and the older form
of black-on-white or white-on-black.
This command will alter\fB both\fR the \*(SA and \*(TA but does not affect the
state of the 'x', 'y' or 'b' toggles.
.\" .........................
.B CONTENT\fR of \*(TW
.PD 0
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBc\fR\' :\fICommand_Line/Program_Name_toggle\fR
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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBf\fR\' and \'\fBo\fR\' :\fIFields_select\fR or \fIOrder_fields\fR
These keys display separate screens where you can change which
fields are displayed and their order.
For additional information on these \*(CIs
\*(Xt 2b. SELECTING and ORDERING Columns.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBH\fR\' :\fIThreads_toggle\fR
When this toggle is \*O, all individual threads will be displayed. Otherwise, \*(Me displays a summation of all threads in a process.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBS\fR\' :\fICumulative_Time_Mode_toggle\fR
When 'Cumulative mode' is \*O, each process is listed with the \*(Pu
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 \*(TWs 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.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBu\fR\' :\fIShow_Specific_User_Only\fR
You will be prompted to enter the name of the user to display.
Thereafter, in that \*(TW 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.
.\" .........................
.B SIZE\fR of \*(TW
.PD 0
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBi\fR\' :\fIIdle_Processes_toggle\fR
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 \*(TD when in \*(AM, then it will not
affect the window's size, as all prior \*(TDs will have already been painted.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBn\fR\' or \'#\' :\fISet_Maximum_Tasks\fR
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 \*(AM, this is the command that gives you precise control over
the size of each currently visible \*(TD, except for the very last.
It will not affect the last window's size, as all prior \*(TDs will have
already been painted.
\*(NT If you wish to increase the size of the last visible \*(TD when in \*(AM,
simply decrease the size of the \*(TD(s) above it.
.\" .........................
.B SORTING\fR of \*(TW
.in +2
For compatibility, this \*(Me supports most of the former \*(Me sort keys.
Since this is primarily a service to former \*(Me users, these commands do
not appear on any help screen.
command sorted field supported
A start time (non-display) No
M %MEM Yes
P %CPU Yes
Before using any of the following sort provisions, \*(Me suggests that you
temporarily turn on column highlighting using the 'x' \*(CI.
That will help ensure that the actual sort environment matches your intent.
The following \*(CIs will\fB only\fR be honored when the
current sort field is\fB visible\fR.
The sort field might\fI not\fR be visible because:
1) there is insufficient\fI Screen Width\fR
2) the 'f' \*(CI turned it \*F
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fB<\fR\' :\fIMove_Sort_Field_Left\fR
Moves the sort column to the left unless the current sort field is
the first field being displayed.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fB>\fR\' :\fIMove_Sort_Field_Right\fR
Moves the sort column to the right unless the current sort field is
the last field being displayed.
.in +2
The following \*(CIs will\fB always\fR be honored whether or not
the current sort field is visible.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBF\fR\' or \'\fBO\fR\' :\fISelect_Sort_Field\fR
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 \*(Me display.
However, depending upon your screen width and the order of your fields,
this sort field may not be displayable.
This \*(CI can be a convenient way to simply verify the current sort field,
when running \*(Me with column highlighting turned \*F.
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBR\fR\' :\fIReverse/Normal_Sort_Field_toggle\fR
Using this \*(CI you can alternate between high-to-low and low-to-high sorts.
.in +2
\*(NT Field sorting uses internal values, not those in column display.
Thus, the TTY and WCHAN fields will violate strict ASCII collating sequence.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 3d. COLOR Mapping
When you issue the 'Z' \*(CI, you will be presented with a separate screen.
That screen can be used to change the colors in just the \*(CW or
in all four windows before returning to the \*(Me display.
.B Available \*(CIs
\fB4\fR upper case letters to select a\fB target\fR
\fB8\fR numbers to select a\fB color\fR
normal toggles available\fR
'B' :bold disable/enable
'b' :running tasks "bold"/reverse
'z' :color/mono
other commands available\fR
'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 \*(CW/field group
in either \*(FM or \*(AM.
Whatever was targeted when 'q' or <Enter> was pressed will be made current
as you return to the \*(Me display.
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 4a. WINDOWS Overview
.B Field Groups/Windows\fR:
In \*(FM there is a single window represented by the entire screen.
That single window can still be changed to display 1 of 4 different\fB field
groups\fR (\*(Xc 'G' \*(CI, repeated below).
Each of the 4 field groups has a unique separately configurable\fB \*(SA\fR
and its own configurable\fB \*(TA\fR.
In \*(AM, those 4 underlying field groups can now be made visible
simultaneously, or can be turned \*F individually at your command.
The \*(SA will always exist, even if it's only the message line.
At any given time only\fI one\fR \*(SA can be displayed.
However, depending on your commands, there could be from\fI zero\fR
to\fI four\fR separate \*(TDs currently showing on the screen.
.B Current Window\fR:
The \*(CW is the window associated with the \*(SA and the window to which
task related commands are always directed.
Since in \*(AM you can toggle the \*(TD \*F, some commands might be
restricted for the \*(CW.
A further complication arises when you have toggled the first \*(SA
line \*F.
With the loss of the window name (the 'l' toggled line), you'll not easily
know what window is the \*(CW.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 4b. COMMANDS for Windows
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fB-\fR\' and \'\fB_\fR\' :\fIShow/Hide_Window(s)_toggles\fR
The '-' key turns the \*(CW's \*(TD \*O and \*F.
When \*O, that \*(TA will show a minimum of the columns header you've
established with the 'f' and 'o' commands.
It will also reflect any other \*(TA options/toggles you've applied yielding
zero or more tasks.
The '_' key does the same for all \*(TDs.
In other words, it switches between the currently visible \*(TD(s) and any
\*(TD(s) you had toggled \*F.
If all 4 \*(TDs are currently visible, this \*(CI will leave the \*(SA
as the only display element.
.TP 7
*\ \'\fB=\fR\' and \'\fB+\fR\' :\fIEqualize_(re-balance)_Window(s)\fR
The '=' key forces the \*(CW's \*(TD 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 \*(TDs 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.
.TP 7
*\ \'\fBA\fR\' :\fIAlternate_Display_Mode_toggle\fR
This command will switch between \*(FM and \*(AM.
The first time you issue this command, all four \*(TDs will be shown.
Thereafter when you switch modes, you will see only the \*(TD(s) you've
chosen to make visible.
.TP 7
*\ \'\fBa\fR\' and \'\fBw\fR\' :\fINext_Window_Forward/Backward\fR
This will change the \*(CW, which in turn changes the window to which
commands are directed.
These keys act in a circular fashion so you can reach any desired \*(CW
using either key.
Assuming the window name is visible (you have not toggled 'l' \*F),
whenever the \*(CW name loses its emphasis/color, that's a reminder
the \*(TD is \*F and many commands will be restricted.
.TP 7
*\ \'\fBG\fR\' :\fIChoose_Another_Window/Field_Group\fR
You will be prompted to enter a number between 1 and 4 designating the
window/field group which should be made the \*(CW.
In \*(FM, this command is necessary to alter the \*(CW.
In \*(AM, it is simply a less convenient alternative to the 'a' and 'w'
.TP 7
\ \ \'\fBg\fR\' :\fIChange_Window/Field_Group_Name\fR
You will be prompted for a new name to be applied to the \*(CW.
It does not require that the window name be visible
(the 'l' toggle to be \*O).
.IP "*" 3
The \*(CIs shown with an \*(AS have use beyond \*(AM.
\'=', 'A', 'G' are always available
\'a', 'w' act the same when color mapping
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 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 \*(Me 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 \*(CF is\fB not\fR created by \*(Me.
Rather, you create this file manually and place it in the \fI/etc\fR
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\fI /etc/toprc\fR:
s # line 1: 'secure' mode switch
5.0 # line 2: 'delay'\ \ interval in seconds
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 5b. PERSONAL Configuration File
This file is written as '$HOME/.your-name-4-top' + 'rc'.
Use the 'W' \*(CI 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, \*(Me will try to write the
personal \*(CF to the current directory, subject to permissions.
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Many of these 'tricks' work best when you give \*(Me a scheduling boost.
So plan on starting him with a nice value of -10, assuming you've got
the authority.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 6a. Kernel Magic
.\" sorry, just can't help it -- don't ya love the sound of this?
For these stupid tricks, \*(Me needs \*(FM.
.\" ( apparently AM static was a potential concern )
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 \*(Me'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, \*(Xt 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 \*(Me,
a 300% speed advantage.
As \*(Me climbs the TIME ladder, be as patient as you can while speculating
on whether or not \*(Me will ever reach the \*(Me.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 6b. Bouncing Windows
For these stupid tricks, \*(Me needs \*(AM.
With 3 or 4 \*(TDs visible, pick any window other than the last
and turn idle processes \*F.
Depending on where you applied 'i', sometimes several \*(TDs are bouncing and
sometimes it's like an accordion, as \*(Me 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 \*(EM
hopping windows.
Display all 4 windows and for each, in turn, set idle processes to \*F.
You've just entered the "extreme bounce" zone.
.\" ......................................................................
.SS 6c. The Big Bird Window
This stupid trick also requires \*(AM.
Display all 4 windows and make sure that 1:Def is the \*(CW.
Then, keep increasing window size until the all the other \*(TDs
are "pushed out of the nest".
When they've all been displaced, toggle between all visible/invisible windows.
Then ponder this:
is \*(Me fibbing or telling honestly your imposed truth?
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Send bug reports to:
Albert D\. Cahalan, <>
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.SH 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, <>
.rj 2
.B -*-\fR few though they are, some yet believe\fB -*-\fR
.B -*-\~\~\~\~\~\~\~\fRin-the-\fBart\fR-of-programming\~\~\~\~\~\~\~\fB-*-\fR
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.BR free (1),
.BR ps (1),
.BR uptime (1),
.BR atop (1),
.BR slabtop (1),
.BR vmstat (8),
.BR w (1).
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.rj 1
.in -3
Copyright (c) 2002 \*(EM JC Warner & Associates, Ltd.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or
any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Front-Cover Texts, no Back-Cover Texts, and with the following
Invariant Sections and any sub-sections therein:
.hy 0
.in +3
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled
\(dqGNU Free Documentation License\(dq.
.\" end: active doc ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
.\" ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.SH GNU Free Documentation License
Version 1.1, March 2000
Copyright (C) 2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other
written document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone
the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without
modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily,
this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get
credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for
modifications made by others.
This License is a kind of "copyleft", which means that derivative
works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It
complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft
license designed for free software.
We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free
software, because free software needs free documentation: a free
program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the
software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals;
it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or
whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License
principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.
This License applies to any manual or other work that contains a
notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed
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such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is
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A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the
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A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section of
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The "Invariant Sections" are certain Secondary Sections whose titles
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A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy,
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If you publish printed copies of the Document numbering more than 100,
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Copying with changes limited to the covers, as long as they preserve
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If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit
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If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering
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You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under
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.HP 3
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You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of
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.HP 3
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(all of its principal authors, if it has less than five).
.HP 3
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.HP 3
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.HP 3
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.HP 3
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giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of
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.HP 3
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If there is no section entitled "History" in the Document, create one stating
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You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four
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.HP 3
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.SS ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents
To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of
the License in the document and put the following copyright and
license notices just after the title page:
.IP "" 3
Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the
terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version
published by the Free Software Foundation;\ \ with the Invariant Sections being
LIST THEIR TITLES, with the Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the
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.\" ----------------------------------------------------------------------
.SH \fRend of\fB GNU Free Documentation License
.IP ""
.\" end: gfdl license ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
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