Through files in /proc and /sys you can obtain an enourmous amount of information about the system (see some of the examples later on this page). Reading to these file are a way to obtain information about system and process state. Some files can be written to as well, and writing to a file triggers a change in something about the system or a particular process' state/policy/etc.
Each process running in the system has a subdirectory in /proc with lots of pseudo files that are interfaces to its state and status. These subdirectories are named by the process' pid numbers (run ps -A to see all pids in the system). By reading from files in a process' /proc/pid/ subdirectory, you can obtain all kinds of infromation about it. Some of these files can also be written to. Debuggers, for example, might write to files in this directory to set breakpoints.
Here is an example of reading a /proc file to get some information about a particular proces:
cd /proc/1234 ls # lists a lot of pseudo files assoced with pid 1234 cat /proc/1234/status # cat out of these files # status: list lots of info about process 1234Here are some other examples of getting system info from /proc:
cat /proc/meminfo # list information about how memory is currently used cat /proc/swaps # see swap partitions and their use cat /proc/stat # see lots of statistics about cpus useTo find out more information about /proc and what system state you can examine (and change):
man 5 proc(or on-line proc man page)
For example here is how to list process 1's executable name:
top -Hhtop has slightly different display of these data. You can sort the data on different fields using the F6 function key.
top is very configurable to allow you to change what data it displays.
Here is some more information about using top and htop including an example of how to configure top to display different data. The example it shows may be particularly useful for multi-threaded processes.
Also see the man page for top for more information.
who # prints out all users logged into machine whoami # in case you forget who you are finger name # get some basic information about accounts with name or username id # list of current user's identifying info (uid, gid, groups, ...) env # list all your environment variables
uname -a # print kernel version cat /proc/stat # print lots of system statistics /proc/sys/ # /proc directory contain lots of kernel variables # (some can be written to change kernel configuation) procinfo # print out a bunch of system stats from /proc getconf -a # list all the system configuration variable values
lsdev # list installed hardware lspci # list all pci devices lshw # list detailed config of hardware cat /proc/cpuinfo # information about processor(s) # detailed information about cpus is in /sys/devices/system/cpu/ subdirs # for example to see information about the L1 data cache: cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cache/index0/size cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cache/index0/type cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cache/index0/level ... getconf # will list some cache size info too
free # information about free memory in the system cat /proc/meminfo # information about memory usage in the system cat /proc/slabinfo # information about kernel caches cat /proc/swaps # informatin about swap partitions top # real-time update of running system: memory use, processes getconf PAGESIZE # see the system page size vmstat # list virtual memory statisticsLinux Memory Management has some example of how to obtain and interpret information about memory
top # information about processes running on system ps -A # list all processes running on the system cat /proc/loadavg # get information about system load uptime # load info xload # realtime load info
du # prints out disk usage information df # displays disk usage summary for each partition sfdisk -l # list the partion table for disk devices cat /proc/scsi/scsi # see scsi devices known by kernel cat /proc/ide # see ide devices known by kernel iostat # see R and W accesses to different devices sudo fdisk /dev/sda # choose option p to print information about the device, q to quit # (you must be root to run fdisk. be very careful not to choose # options that change the partition tables for this device)See the man pages for (du, df, iostat) for more information on these. Also, here is some other information on using iostat from admin magazine.
file filename # list information about the type of a particular file stat filename # list filesystem information about a particular file du # prints out disk usage information df # list space on all mounted filesytems ls -il # lists the inode numbers of files lsof # list open files cat /proc/sys/fs/ # contains files with file system stats # /sys/fs/ contains info about filesystems mounted on specific device partions /sys/fs/FILESYSNAME/DEVICEPARTITON/ #for example: cat /sys/fs/ext4/sdb7/session_write_kbytes # shows num KB written since mounted sudo debugfs # ext2 filesystem debugger (need sudo access)information about the files in /sys/fs/ext4 from kernel.org
netstat # information about nw connections, routing tables, etc. cat /proc/net/dev # network device status information ifconfig -a # display configure info for all NW interfaces on system dig # dns lookup nslookup # another dns lookup tool arp -v wireshark # tool to interactively dump and analyize NW trafficSee the man page for (netstat, procinfo, ifconfig, arp, dig, wireshark) for more information on these