System resource monitoring with bpytop

Fast and Functional

Article from Issue 243/2021

Linux users have many options for monitoring system resources, but bpytop, a new Python port of bashtop, more than stands out from the crowd.

With a system like Linux, which is available to multiple users at the same time, it is important to keep an eye on the available resources. Is a graphical application running haywire and blocking all of the CPU's cores? Is a user running a computationally intensive script and thus making work agonizingly slow for the server's other users? Has a process gone wild and started to write increasing amounts of corrupted data to the hard disk?

Such questions can be answered by various monitoring tools. The popular distributions typically preinstall Top. The program provides an overview of the active processes and measures both the CPU load and the RAM usage. Htop offers similar functions in a visually appealing format. Other programs display the network load (iftop) or determine which applications or processes cause massive writes to the hard disk (iotop).

Bashtop [1] combines many of these functions in a text-based interface. The program displays the CPU load both numerically and as a pseudographic. It lists the active processes along with their memory and CPU consumption, visualizes the throughput rates of the individual network interfaces, and much more. The program has a downside, however. As the name already suggests, it was programmed completely as a Bash script. This makes further maintenance and development complicated; it also slows down the program. But now there's another option that addresses these issues, because bashtop's developer has released an official Python port of the utility called bpytop [2].


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