System Tools


This is htop, an interactive process viewer for Unix systems. It is a text-mode application (for console or X terminals) and requires ncurses.

Midnight Commander

GNU Midnight Commander is a visual file manager, licensed under GNU General Public License and therefore qualifies as Free Software. It's a feature rich full-screen text mode application that allows you to copy, move and delete files and whole directory trees, search for files and run commands in the subshell. Internal viewer and editor are included.

Midnight Commander is based on versatile text interfaces, such as Ncurses or S-Lang, which allows it to work on a regular console, inside an X Window terminal, over SSH connections and all kinds of remote shells.


Partimage is opensource disk backup software. It saves partitions having a supported filesystem on a sector basis to an image file. Although it runs under Linux, Windows and most Linux filesystems are supported. The image file can be compressed to save disk space and transfer time and can be split into multiple files to be copied to CDs or DVDs.

Partitions can be saved across the network using the partimage network support, or using Samba / NFS (Network File Systems). This provides the ability to perform an hard disk partition recovery after a disk crash.


Clonezilla is a partition and disk imaging/cloning program similar to True Image® or Norton Ghost®. It helps you to do system deployment, bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition). Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore. While Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the hard disk. This increases the clone efficiency. With some high-end hardware in a 42-node cluster, a multicast restoring at rate 8 GB/min was reported.


Dstat is a versatile replacement for vmstat, iostat, netstat and ifstat. Dstat overcomes some of their limitations and adds some extra features, more counters and flexibility. Dstat is handy for monitoring systems during performance tuning tests, benchmarks or troubleshooting.

Dstat allows you to view all of your system resources in real-time, you can eg. compare disk utilization in combination with interrupts from your IDE controller, or compare the network bandwidth numbers directly with the disk throughput (in the same interval).


iftop does for network usage what top(1) does for CPU usage. It listens to network traffic on a named interface and displays a table of current bandwidth usage by pairs of hosts. Handy for answering the question "why is our ADSL link so slow?".


Glances is a cross-platform monitoring tool which aims to present a maximum of information in a minimum of space through a curses or Web based interface. It can adapt dynamically the displayed information depending on the user interface size.


Linux has always been able to show how much I/O was going on (the bi and bo columns of the vmstat 1 command). Iotop is a Python program with a top like UI used to show of behalf of which process is the I/O going on.


nmtui is a curses‐based TUI application for interacting with NetworkManager. When starting nmtui, the user is prompted to choose the activity to perform unless it was specified as the first argument.


Viper Window Manager (VWM) is a lightweight, extensible window manager for the console. From conception, VWM was designed to be both lightweight and ssh friendly. Character based line-art compresses very well as do the escape sequences which handle cursor manipulation. This makes VWM quite suitable for low-bandwidth, remote connectivity over ssh

Last File Manager

Last File Manager is a simple but powerful file manager for the UNIX console. It has been developed with the ol' good Midnight Commander as model.


cdw is a front-end for some command-line tools used for burning data CD and DVD discs and for related tasks. The tools are: cdrecord/wodim, mkisofs/genisoimage, growisofs, dvd+rw-mediainfo, dvd+rw-format, xorriso and mkudffs. You can also use cdw to rip tracks from your audio CD to raw audio files. Limited support for copying content of data CD and DVD discs to image files is also provided. cdw supports ISO9660 filesystem for optical media. It is also possible to create UDF images with cdw. Other filesystem for optical media are not supported nor recognized.


Originally written by Michael K. Johnson for Linux Journal, vlock is powerful security tool which enables System Administrators to lock their active console without logging out of the terminal session.