The /proc File System And ProcMeter

You may rely on your electronic Rolodex to organize your life, but Linux uses the /proc file system.
How Can ProcMeter Help?

I have a ProcMeter window permanently open occupying the right-hand edge of the screen. Most of the time it is just taking up space, but there are times when it can be very useful.

When getting files via FTP from the Internet, the amount of packets sent and received can be monitored. When the packets stop coming, the transfer is finished or stuck. This is a good time to ping the FTP site to see if the route is still open.

Have you ever felt that the program you have just written is taking too long to run? This could be a symptom of running out of RAM and using swap space. Try looking at the mem-used, mem-free, mem-swap and swap graphs. A steeply rising graph will indicate a memory leak.

Where to Get ProcMeter

The latest version of ProcMeter is version 2.1, available as source code by FTP from The file is called procmeter-2.1.tgz, and is in the directory /pub/Linux/X11/xutils/status. Alternatively, if you have WWW access, the latest information about ProcMeter is available on my home page at, along with links to other sources for the program.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Andrew Bishop has been using Linux for 2 years. The original version of ProcMeter was the first program he wrote using Linux. He programs mainly in C, Perl and Emacs Lisp on Unix systems, often inventing his own version of the wheel as he goes. He can be reached by e-mail at


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