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ftop - Utility that shows shows progress of open files and file systems…  more info»


This is the README file for ftop 1.0.
Ftop is Copyright (C) 2009 Jason Todd <>

Brief Description
Ftop displays progress information for the open files and file systems in a
Linux system.  As processes read and write files, ftop displays data rates and
time estimates.  Its feature-rich interface is similar to top, and includes
extensive run-time configuration options.

Ftop currently makes use of the entries for each process in /proc/PID/fdinfo/
to determine the file position and other details.  This information is only
available in Linux, specifically in kernel versions 2.6.22 and newer.  Ftop
should still run fine on other platforms, but will not be able to display as
much information.  Support for other operating systems will be made available
in future versions.

Refer to the INSTALL file for installation instructions.  As with most modern
open source software, ftop can be built and installed with the usual basic

    tar xzf ftop-1.0.tar.gz
    cd ftop-1.0/
    make install

After ftop is installed, the documentation can be read in the form of online
help and manual pages.  To view the online help, run "ftop -h" or simply press
'h' while ftop is running.  The manual page contains the same information; run
"man ftop" to view it.

Detailed Description
Ftop is to files what top is to processes.  The progress of all open files and
file systems can be monitored.  If run as a regular user, the set of open files
will be limited to those in that user's processes (which is generally all that
is of interest to the user).  In any case, the selection of which files to
display is possible through a wide assortment of options.  As with top, the
items are displayed in order from most to least active.

The interface extends beyond the traditional capabilities and expectations of
console applications.  For instance, ftop supports two output modes, full
(using ncurses) and limited (simple plain text).  The output mode can be
specified at invocation, or changed dynamically as the program runs.  Limited
output mode is well suited for piping into other utilities (such as grep or
sed) or simply for redirecting into a file.  Full output mode is much more
visually appealing and contains a few more features.  Keyboard control and
interaction is not limited to full output mode; it is also available in limited
output mode.

As another unique usability feature, the command line options for ftop exactly
match the run-time keyboard commands.  In other words, the '-p' command line
option can be used to specify a list of processes at invocation, and while ftop
is running, 'p' can be pressed to modify the list.  As another example, '-h'
will show the help screen when ftop starts, or 'h' can be pressed at any time
afterward to show the help screen.  This commonality exists for every
configuration option.  And the current value for all options can be viewed at a
glance in the options screen.

Finally, ftop can also be easily configured to display additional files that
are not currently open by any local processes, and file system usage.  If an
NFS client is writing a file on a local export, that file may not be open by
any local process, so the additional files feature is used to display those
files.  One or more file systems can be monitored if many files are being
created, for instance while restoring from a backup or extracting a large

Ftop has many more features than those described here.  Detailed online help
describes all available functionality, and provides examples of some of the
interesting ways in which ftop can be used.
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