Pretty much every Linux or UNIX sysadmin I know uses top to watch which processes run and how the resources are distrubited – it is just an essential tool.

But it lacks something important – it looks and feels outdated, unappealing and unfriendly to use. And as usual in the FOSS community someone has already noticed this and made improved versions of it.

I have tried atop and htop and here is a short recap.

Atop's display is by default monochrome, shows verbosely the resouces and by default only the active/running processes.

Htop on the other hand has a very customisable colourful display which by default shows resources in color-coded bars to differ kernel different usage of resources (kernel, user, buffer, cache), the process window is also able to show process trees search for processes by PID or name and pretty much everything you would expect from a process manager – scrolling, selecting multiple processes, renicing or killing them and more. And all this in a userfriendly and logical environment.

I now use htop in my everyday use – the least you could do is make yourself a favour and try them both.

Update: In the original post there were some screenshots attached, but got lost in the migration.

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