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Manual Reference Pages  -  XSYSSTATS (1)


xsysstats - displays system statistics in a strip graph.


Command Line Options
X Defaults
Keyboard Control


xsysstats -type type -geometry geometry -display display -name name -title title -border value -background color -baseline color -color color -foreground color -host hostname -min min -max max -sample sample_time -allnames -samescale -hidelabels -hidehosts -scale value -ruler seconds -solid -showmax -splitwidthxheight -window number -defcolor graphtype color -wtitle name


XSysStats is a tool to show various system statistics. It shows them in the form of a strip graph in a window.

It can show multiple graphs in one window, and the graphs can be detailing information about several machines.

At the bottom of the window, what graph types and their scale is displayed. These are displayed in the color of the graph.

While XSysStats is running, graphs will be downscaled and upscaled as require. And upscale doubles the graph scale, and only occurs when a new point is beyond the graph bounds.

Downscaling occurs when the running average falls below the scale, and all points on the graph are less than half the present scale. Downscaling halves the scale of the graph.

Upscaling and Downscaling by default do not occur on graphs of cpu time. Scaling can further be controlled by the -min and -max arguments.

A black and white display system will not likely be able to make much sense of multiple graphs in the same window. However, using the -split option can be used to create several windows, each detailing a different statistic.


Note: unlike many programs, the order the command line arguments are given in is relevant. The -host, -color, -min and -max operate on the last -type argument given. Also, at least one -type argument needs to be supplied before -host, -color, -min or -max can be used, otherwise an error will result.
-type type
  This is the type of graph to display. The types are:

collisions: number of incoming ethernet collisions since last update

context: number of context switches per second

cpu: percentage of cpu time being used

scpu, ucpu, ncpu, icpu: Displays percentage of system, user, and niced cpu that is being used. Note that icpu is the same as just cpu but
that icpu is inverted - if the system is 80% idle, the graph will show 20% use.

disk: number of disk transfers per second

errors: number of incoming ethernet errors since last update

interrupts: average number of device interrupts, per second

load1, load5, load15: The average number of jobs in the load queue for the last 1, 5, and 15 minutes.

packets: number of incoming + outgoing ethernet packets per second

packetsi: number of incoming ethernet packets per second. This was formerly just known as ’packets’

packetso: number of outgoing ethernet packets per second

pagei: page ins since last update. This was formally called just ’page’

apagei: average page ins per second.

pageo: page outs since last update

apageo: average page outs per second.

swap: swap ins and outs since last update

swapi: swap ins since last update. This was formally just called ’swap’.

swapo: swap outs since last update.

Instead of just the type name, a host name can be appended to graph information from that host (see -host below.) Syntax would be -type page@host to graph page information from ’host’.

Note: Unlike perfmeter, collisions, errors, page and swap are not averaged over the sample time. This is a personal preference on my part, to be able to see the activity in these fields more clearly. For this reason, the scale of these graphs may appear different than perfmeter if the sample time is not one second.

Multiple graphs are selected by specifying multiple -type arguments. The graphs are graphed in the order of the -type arguments. This means that the first -type graph given will be drawn first, and graphs specified later will overwrite this graph data. The graph which you want to see most clearly should be the last -type argument.

-geometry geometry
  The geometry of the window.
  This forces the hostname for all hosts to be displayed along with the graph type at the bottom of the window, including the localhost.
-display display
  what screen/system to display the window on.
-name name
  Set the application resource name to name. Default is the name of the executable.
-title title
  Set the window manager title to title.
-background color
  background color of the window.
-baseline color
  this tells XSysStats to draw a baseline of color color. The baseline is a zero line, the minimum value any graph can have.
-border vlaue
  this sets border width between graphs (when using -split mode) as well as spacing between graphs and the window edge. By default, this value is 1. This is a global value, and can not be set on a graph by graph bases.
-color color
  this sets the color of the last graph specified with the -type argument.
-defclor graphtype color
  this sets the default color for all graphs of graphtype to color. This can be very useful for situation where you are displaying information for many systems in -split mode. The -color option can be used to override individual graph colors.
-foreground color
  this sets the default foreground color. Any graphs that do not have a -color argument specified will use this color instead.
  Don’t show hostnames for any host when displaying labels. Removes clutter if all graphs are of the same host.
  Prevent all graph labels and scale from being drawn at the bottom of the screen. Makes better use of space. Limited use if you need to know the scale of the graph and the graphs scale changes. Certain keys can toggle the labels on or off while running. See the section below on KEYBOARD CONTROL for more information.
-host host
  this specifies the host to report information on. It applies to the last -type argument given. There is no checking done to see if this is a valid host. If no hosts exists with the host name, then the graph for which this host applied will not be graphed in any reasonable fashion. This option is now obsolete, -type graph@host can now be used instead.
-min min this is the minimum value the last graph specified by -type will downscale to.
-max max this is the maximum value the graph specified by -type will scale to. If points are beyond this scale, they will be drawn out of bounds.

If both min and max are the same, the graph will never change scale. By default, most graphs have a min value of 2 and a very large max value. The cpu graph is the one exception, both its min and max value is 100.

-ruler seconds
  This causes XSysStats to draw a ruler below the graph and above the labels, with a mark and a label every seconds seconds. This is useful to see how long ago an event happened. The minimum value that is useful with a 2 second sample time is about 30 seconds. Depending on the width and value of seconds, the left most value may have a digit or two cut off. This is togglable at run time by pressing ’r’.
-sample sample_time
  This is how long the program sleeps between each update. The minimum value is 1. By default, it is 2.
  Graphs of similar type will always have the same scale. This can be useful if the same -type is being used to graph information on multiple hosts. It allows for easy comparison of the graph data.
-scale value
  Causes dotted horizontal scale lines every value points on the graph. Thus, if value is 32 and the scale of the graph is 64, a dotted line will be drawn in the middle of the window. This operates on the last -type argument given. If scale lines become too close together in the window, value will doubled until the lines are adequately spread out. The threshold value is about 5 pixels. If two of these lines would be drawn closer together than that, the doubling will occur. The value of the lines are not drawn anyplace in the window.
-solid This causes the graphs to be drawn as solid lines (histograms) instead of curves. Thus, a line is drawn from the baseline to the present value. Use of this with multiple graphs in one window is not suggested, as they will be drawn over each other. I also recommend using the -baseline option in conjunction with -solid.
-showmax Shows the maximum value seen so far for each graph since xsysstats was invoked. The value is shown on the labels line (so if you have -hidelabels set you won’t see this value) next to the current scale; the format is "scale/max".
-split widthxheight
  This splits the XSysStats display into several smaller windows for graphing. All of the windows will be the same size. By using this option, one XSysStats program can be used to graph many different things. By default, if no -window options are used (see below), the graphs are positioned from left to right, then top to bottom. Thus, if the split is 3x1, the first graph would be in the upper left, second in top center, third in top right, fourth in bottom left, etc. This needs to be specified before any -type or -window options are given for it to work properly.
-window window
  This specifies the window to plot all the following graphs in. If the window has not been split (via -split), this options has no use. Otherwise, all following graphs specified will be plotted in the window specified until another -window option is given. The windows are numbers the same way graphs are plotted above with -split - top left would be window 1, then next on the top row would be 2, and so on. If a window value of 0 is specified, then windows will be plotted as was described in the -split command above - from left to right, top to bottom, starting at the last window plotted before a -window options was specified.
-wtitle title
  This sets up a default title for the bottom of the window. This can be useful if you are displaying multiple graph types but know what the colors mean.


XSysStats does not support any standard resource values. This is based some on ease of programming and on usefulness of having resources.

It seems to me that very seldom will people want to have XSysStats run with all the same resources more than once. If X Defaults were supported, then there would also need to be a way not to use them.


While XSysStats is running, the following keys will cause various events to happen:
l,L This will toggle through the label modes. As of now, there are three modes - None, in which case nothing is displayed. Minimal, in which the window title (if specified) and just the scale values are displayed, but the graph types are not, and Normal, in which case graph types with scale is displayed.

-hidelabels sets the initial state to None, and -wtitle sets it to Minimal.

m,M This will toggle display of maximum values on or off. This is the same behavior as the -showmax command line option. Note that maximum values aren’t displayed unless labels are turned on (see above).
r,R This will toggle the ruler on or off. If -ruler was not specified on the command line, a default value of 30 seconds will be used for the ruler markings.
q,Q If XSysStats was compiled with the KEYQUIT option, this will cause xsysstats
to exit. Otherwise, it does nothing.
C-l (CTRL-L) Causes the window to redraw.


Valid host name checking should be done when the -host argument is specified.

Timeouts of rstat on remote hosts will pretty much stop all the graphs.


Mark Wedel (
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--> XSYSSTATS (1) August 26, 1993

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