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- TOP
- Version 3.5
- Beta Release 11
+ TOP
+ Version 3.8beta1
- William LeFebvre
- with much help from others
+ William LeFebvre
+ with much help from others
+ Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers
-FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
-This FAQ is broken out in to several topics.
+ GENERAL
-GENERAL
+ 1. What is top?
- 1. "Where do I get the latest version of top?"
+ Top provies the user with a regularly updated display showing
+ information about the system and its top cpu-using processes. Think
+ of it as a full-screen "ps" output that gets updated at regular
+ intervals.
-The official site for top is "ftp.groupsys.com" in the directory
-"/pub/top". It is also available from the following mirror sites:
-"pharos.dgim.doc.ca" in /packages/top, "uiarchive.uiuc.edu" in
-/pub/packages/top, "sunsite.auc.dk" in /pub/unix/top. European
-users should consider using the Denmark (dk) site.
-
- 2. "Is there a web page for top?"
+ 2. Where do I get the latest version of top?
-Yes. Point your browser at http://www.groupsys.com/top. It includes
-all documentation, a nice interactive display which describes the
-various components of the output of top, web-based retrieval of the
-package, year 2000 information, and pointers to the mailing list.
+ The official site for top is "ftp.unixtop.org" in the directory
+ "/pub/top". Top is also a SourceForge project, and the most recent
+ releases are available on any of the SourceForge mirrors. The
+ SourceForge project page is at
+ http://sourceforge.net/projects/unixtop.
- 3. "Is there a mailing list for top?"
+ 3. Is there a web page for top?
-The official list for announcements is "top-announce@groupsys.com".
-This list is managed by "majordomo@groupsys.com". Announcements of
-importance to all top users will be sent to this list, including new
-releases, availability of beta test versions, emergency revisions and
-patches, etc. Anyone is welcome to join top-announce. This is a
-read-only list. The list of subscribers will not (intentionally) be
-made available, and postings to the list are limited.
+ Yes. Point your browser at http://www.unixtop.org. It includes all
+ documentation, a nice interactive display which describes the various
+ components of the output of top, web-based retrieval of the package,
+ year 2000 information, and other neat stuff.
-In addition, there is a top developers mailing list that is used by
-beta testers and other people who help me port the program to various
-machines. Membership to this list is solely at my discretion. If you
-feel qualified to act as a beta tester, or if you are doing development
-work on top (such as porting to a new platform), you may submit a
-request by sending a message to "top-spinners-request@groupsys.com"
-containing the word "subscribe". I will contact you within a few days,
-as my schedule permits.
+ 4. Is there a mailing list or on-line bulletin board for top?
- 4. "What about Year 2000 compliance"?
+ There is a mailing list used for general announcements regarding top,
+ including new releases. This mailing list is available to sourceforge
+ members and can be accessed from the unixtop sourceforge project
+ page. Visit SourceForge and search for the project "unixtop", then
+ click on "mailing lists". There are also on-line forums available
+ through SourceForge where members can post questions and comments.
-Top should not experience any problems with the transition to the year
-2000. A full statement concerning top and the year 2000 can be found
-in the file "Y2K" included with the distribution.
+ 5. What about Year 2000 compliance?
+ Top did not experience any problems with the transition to the year
+ 2000. A full statement concerning top and the year 2000 can be found
+ in the file "Y2K" included with the distribution.
- 5. "Why does it take so long for a new version of top to go through the
- beta test process?"
+ 6. Will there be another major release of top? Will there be a top
+ version 4?
-This is completely my fault. I have just not had the time to give top
-the attention it deserves. I thank everyone for their patience, and I
-hope that with the recent changes in the direction of my career that I
-can spend more time on this.
+ I have some great ideas for the next major release of top, and I very
+ much want to make those ideas a reality. What I don't have much of
+ these days is free time. But I will keep poking at it and I hope to
+ have top version 4.0 ready by the fall of 2006.
- 6. "Top is not written in ANSI C. Do you ever plan to change that?"
+ 7. Does top really support multi-processor systems?
-Top predates ANSI C by about 5 years. Yeah, it'll get "fixed" eventually.
-Probably in 3.6.
+ On platforms that support multiple processors, top is able to detect
+ and correctly summarize the information about those processors. What
+ top does not do is break down the cpu states summary (the third line
+ of the display) by cpu. Instead it collects the cpu state information
+ from all processors and combines them in to a single line. Some
+ vendors include a modified version of top that presents this
+ information for each cpu. Top 3.7 may have this functionality but it
+ is not present in the standard top 3.6 release.
+ 8. Is top under CVS control? Can I access the sources via SourceForge
+ CVS or Subversion?
-CONFIGURING
+ I maintain top using subversion, not CVS. Although I utilize my own
+ private subversion repository, it is regularly mirrored in to the
+ SourceForge Subversion repository. You can access the SourceForge
+ repository here: https://svn.unixtop.org/unixtop/top-3.
- 7. "Configure said that it saw /proc and is recommending that I install top
- setuid root. Is there any way around this? Is it safe?"
-There is no way around it. Complain to POSIX. Every effort has been made
-to make top a secure setuid program. However, we cannot guarantee that
-there are no security problems associated with this configuration. The
-places where top is most vulnerable are the builtin kill and renice
-commands. There is no internal top command that causes top to start a shell
-as a subprocess. Some SVR4 systems may contain a bug that enables a user to
-renice his own processes downward (to lower nice values that are more
-favorable for the process). This problem has been fixed for the Solaris 2.x
-modules, but may still exist in others. We will hopefully fix this up in
-the next release.
+ COMPILING
- 8. "Why is Configure a c-shell script? I thought c-shell scripts were
- evil?"
+ 9. We just upgraded our operating system to a new version and top broke.
+ What should we do?
-They are. :-) I'll probably be rewriting the Configure script for the
-next release, or switching to something like Gnu configure.
+ Recompile it. Top is very sensitive to changes in internal kernel
+ data structures. It is not uncommon for a new version of the
+ operating system to include changes to kernel data structures.
-COMPILING
+ RUNNING
- 9. "We just upgraded our operating system to a new version and top broke.
- What should we do?"
+10. I just finished compiling top and it works fine for root, but when I
+ try to run it as a regular user it either complains about files it
+ can't open or it doesn't display all the information it should. Did I
+ do something wrong?
-Recompile it. Top is very sensitive to changes in internal kernel data
-structures. It is not uncommon for a new version of the operating system to
-include changes to kernel data structures.
+ Well, you're just not done. On many operating systems today, access
+ to many of the kernel memory devices and other system files is
+ restricted to either root or a particular group. The configure script
+ figures this out (usually) and makes sure that the "install" rule in
+ the Makefile will install top so that anyone can run it successfully.
+ However, you have to *install* it first. Do this with the command
+ "make install".
+11. Top is (not) displaying idle processes and I don't (do) want it to.
-RUNNING
+ This default has only changed about a dozen times, and I finally got
+ tired of people whining about it. Go read the manual page for the
+ current version and pay special attention to the description of the
+ "TOP" environment variable.
-10. "I just finished compiling top and it works fine for root, but when
- I try to run it as a regular user it either complains about files
- it can't open or it doesn't display all the information it should.
- Did I do something wrong?"
+12. We have so much memory in our machine that the memory status display
+ (the fourth line) ends up being longer than 80 characters. This
+ completely messes up top's output. Is there a patch?
-Well, you're just not done. On many operating systems today, access to
-many of the kernel memory devices and other system files is restricted to
-either root or a particular group. The Configure script figures this out
-(usually) and makes sure that the "intsall" rule in the Makefile will
-install top so that anyone can run it successfully. However, you have to
-*install* it first. Do this with the command "make install".
+ Most modules have been changed to use new memory formatting functions
+ which will display large values in terms of megabytes instead of
+ kilobytes. This should fix all occurences of this problem. Also note
+ that newer versions of top can use columns beyond 79, and understand
+ window resizes. So you can always make your window wider.
-11. "Top is (not) displaying idle processes and I don't (do) want it to."
+13. I tried to compile top with gcc and it doesn't work. I get
+ compilation errors in the include files, or I get an executable that
+ dumps core, or top displays incorrect numbers in some of the
+ displays. What's wrong?
-This default has only changed about a dozen times, and I finally got tired
-of people whining about it. Go read the manual page for the current version
-and pay special attention to the description of the "TOP" environment
-variable.
+ Gnu CC likes very much to use its own include files. Not being a gcc
+ expert, I can't explain why it does this. But I can tell you that if
+ you upgrade your operating system (say from Solaris 2.6 to Solaris
+ 2.7) after installing gcc, then the include files that gcc uses will
+ be incorrect, especially those found in the "sys" directory. Your
+ choices are: (1) rebuild and reinstall the "standard" include files
+ for gcc (look for scripts in the distribution called "fixincludes"
+ and "fixinc.svr4"), (2) compile machine.c with
+ "CFLAGS=-I/usr/include" then make the rest of the object files
+ normally, or (3) use a different compiler.
-12. "We have so much memory in our machine that the memory status display
- (the fourth line) ends up being longer than 80 characters. This
- completely messes up top's output. Is there a patch?"
+14. The cpu state percentages are all wrong, indicating that my machine
+ is using 95% system time when it is clearly idle. What's wrong?
-Most modules have been changed to use new memory formatting functions which
-will display large values in terms of megabytes instead of kilobytes. This
-should fix all occurences of this problem. If you encounter a system where
-this large memory display overflow is still occurring, please let me know
-(send mail to <wnl@groupsys.com>). Also note that newer versions of top can
-use columns beyond 79, and understand window resizes. So you can always
-make your window bigger.
+ This can happen if you compiled with gcc using the wrong include
+ files. See the previous question.
-13. "I tried to compile top with gcc and it doesn't work. I get
- compilation errors in the include files, or I get an executable that
- dumps core, or top displays incorrect numbers in some of the displays.
- What's wrong?"
-Gnu CC likes very much to use its own include files. Not being a gcc
-expert, I can't explain why it does this. But I can tell you that if
-you upgrade your operating system (say from Solaris 2.4 to Solaris
-2.5) after installing gcc, then the include files that gcc uses will
-be incorrect, especially those found in the "sys" directory. Your
-choices are: (1) rebuild and reinstall the "standard" include files
-for gcc (look for scripts in the distribution called "fixincludes" and
-"fixinc.svr4"), (2) compile machine.c with "CFLAGS=-I/usr/include"
-then make the rest of the object files normally, or (3) use "cc".
-Solaris 2.6 users should also consult FAQ #20.
+ FREEBSD PROBLEMS
-14. "The cpu state percentages are all wrong, indicating that my machine is
- using 95% system time when it is clearly idle. What's wrong?"
+15. This version of top does not show individual threads with the "t" or
+ "H" commands. Instead it says "command not available." Why?
-This can happen if you compiled with gcc using the wrong include files.
-See the previous question.
+ Previous versions of top attempted to support the display of
+ individual threads under FreeBSD through the use of the "t" command.
+ However, the FreeBSD kernel does not supply sufficient or correct
+ information on the individual threads within a process. So the data
+ that was being displayed was incorrect and misleading. Therefore, top
+ version 3.8 disables the use of this command to prevent the display
+ of incorrect information. FreeBSD 8.0 will correctly report
+ per-thread information and top version 3.8 supports the use of the
+ "t" command for version 8.0.
+16. The "f" command (to display full command lines for the processes)
+ does not work and instead says "command not available". Why?
+
+ The current version of top is able to use sysctl to retrieve almost
+ all of the information it needs without having to open /dev/kmem. The
+ one piece of information not available via sysctl is the full command
+ line of each argument. If you run top as a regular user and it cannot
+ open /dev/kmem (in other words, it is not installed set-gid to the
+ kmem group) then it will disable the "f" command. Make sure the top
+ binary is installed with a group ownership of "kmem" and with the
+ set-gid bit on if you want the "f" command to work properly.
+
+
+ MACOSX PROBLEMS
+
+17. I tried to configure top on my Mac OSX system and I got an error
+ claiming "macosx not supported". What up?
+
+ Since I don't have full time root access to a Mac OSX system I cannot
+ provide effective support for the platform. MacOSX uses Mach, and it
+ is very difficult to extract accurate system and process information
+ from the system. It takes a lot of trial and error, along with root
+ access. I have included the most up-to-date version of the macosx
+ module in the distribution, but I do not claim that it works. If you
+ want to try to use it, you can configure with "./configure
+ --with-module=macosx".
+
+
+ SUNOS PROBLEMS
+
+18. I tried compiling top under SunOS version 4.1.x and it got compile
+ time errors or run time errors. Is there a patch?
+
+ If you try compiling top in a "System V environment" under SunOS
+ (that is, /usr/5bin is before /usr/bin on your path) then the
+ compilation may fail. This is mostly due to the fact that top thinks
+ its being compiled on a System V machine when it really isn't. The
+ only solution is to put /usr/bin and /usr/ucb before /usr/5bin on
+ your path and try again.
+
+
+ SOLARIS PROBLEMS
+
+
+ NOTE: the most common source of problems with top under Solaris is
+ the result of compiling it with the wrong front end. Make sure that
+ /usr/ucb is not on your path before attempting to compile top under
+ Solaris.
+
+19. Is there somewhere I can get a pre-compiled package?
+
+ Yes. Although I don't provide pre-compiled binaries, you can get a
+ Sun-style package from www.sunfreeware.com.
+
+20. Under Solaris 2, when I type "make", the system says "language
+ optional software package not installed." What's going on?
+
+ You tried to compile with /usr/ucb/cc. Make sure /usr/ucb is not on
+ your path. Furthermore, you do not have a Sun compiler installed on
+ your system. You need a compiler to make top. Either Sun's C compiler
+ or the Gnu C compiler will work fine.
+
+21. Under Solaris 2, when I run top as root it only shows root processes,
+ or it only shows processes with a PID less than 1000. It refuses to
+ show anything else. What do I do?
+
+ You probably compiled it with /usr/ucb/cc instead of the real C
+ compiler. /usr/ucb/cc is a cc front end that compiles programs in BSD
+ source-level compatability mode. You do not want that. Make sure that
+ /usr/ucb is not on your path and try compiling top again.
+
+22. Under Solaris 2, I compiled top using what I am sure is the correct
+ compiler but when I try to run it it complains about missing dynamic
+ libraries. What is wrong?
+
+ Check to see if you have LD_LIBRARY_PATH defined in your shell. If
+ you do, make sure that /usr/ucblib is not on the path anywhere. Then
+ try compiling top again.
+
+23. Under Solaris 2, when I try to run top it complains that it can't
+ open the library "libucb.so.1". So I changed the LIBS line in
+ m_sunos5.c to include -R/usr/ucblib to make sure that the dynamic
+ linker will look there when top runs. I figured this was just an
+ oversight. Was I right?
+
+ No, you were not right. As distributed, top requires no alterations
+ for successful compilation and operations under any release of
+ Solaris 2. You probably compiled top with /usr/ucb/cc instead of the
+ real C compiler. See FAQ 22 for more details.
+
+24. On my 64-bit system some processes show up with incorrect information
+ (such as zero memory).
+
+ If you are running a 64-bit system, then you need to make sure that
+ you are running the 64-bit top binary. Top's configure script
+ attempts to detect 64-bit systems, and will automatically generate
+ both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries on such systems. If you use or
+ install the 32-bit binary on a 64-bit system top will still run but
+ will not produce the correct results. This will also happen if you
+ configure your distribution on a 32-bit system then compile with that
+ configuration on a 64-bit system. You must configure and compile on
+ the same system. For Sparc systems the 32-bit binary will be created
+ in the subdirectory "sparcv7" and the 64-bit binary will be created
+ in the subdirectory "sparcv9". For Intel systems the directories will
+ be "i386" (32-bit) and "amd64" (64-bit). In all cases a copy of
+ /usr/lib/isaexec is made in the main directory and called "top". This
+ program will choose the correct binary to run from one of these
+ subdirectories. See isaexec(3c) for more details.
+
+25. Can I install both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries on a central file
+ server and have machines which mount it automatically use the correct
+ one?
+
+ Yes. If you configure and compile on a 64-bit system, top's configure
+ script and makefile will automatically create both 32-bit and 64-bit
+ binaries. The "install" rule in the makefile will install these
+ binaries in subdirectories of /usr/local/bin appropriate to the
+ architecture (sparcv7/sparcv9 or i386/amd64) then create a copy of
+ /usr/lib/isaexec named "top" in /usr/local/bin to ensure that the
+ appropriate is run when a user types "top". If you make sure that you
+ configure and compile on a 64-bit system, then "make install" will do
+ the right thing.
+
+26. This version of top show less available swap space than previous
+ versions. Why does it no longer match the output of the swap summary
+ produced with "swap -s"?
+
+ Starting with version 3.6 of top, the amount of swap space reported
+ by top has been changed to reflect only disk-based swap space. The
+ swap summary produced with "swap -s" also includes memory-based swap
+ space. This changed was made for several reasons. It makes the
+ display under Solaris more like those of other operating systems. The
+ display is more what users expect (except those used to previous
+ versions of top). Most importantly, "swap -s" gets its data via an
+ undocumented system interface. Now that top no longer displays that
+ data it can use publically documented and maintained system
+ interfaces to retrieve its data.
+
+
+ SVR4-DERIVED PROBLEMS
+
+27. When I run top on my SVR4-derived operating system, it displays all
+ the system information at the top but does not display any process
+ information (or only displays process information for my own
+ processes). Yet when I run it as root, everything works fine. What's
+ wrong?
+
+ Your system probably uses the pseudo file system "/proc", which is by
+ default only accessible by root. Top needs to be installed setuid
+ root on such systems if it is going to function correctly for normal
+ users.
+
+
+ SVR42 PROBLEMS
+
+28. The memory display doesn't work right. Why?
+
+ This is a known bug with the svr42 module. The problem has been
+ traced down to a potential bug in the "mem" driver. The author of the
+ svr42 module is working on a fix.
+
+
+ STILL STUCK
+
+29. I'm still stuck. To whom do I report problems with top?
+
+ The most common problems are caused by top's sensitivity to internal
+ kernel data structures. So make sure that you are using the right
+ include files, and make sure that you test out top on the same
+ machine where you compiled it. Sun's BSD Source Compatability Mode is
+ also a common culprit. Make sure you aren't using either /usr/ucb/cc
+ or any of the libraries in /usr/ucblib. Finally, make sure you are
+ using the correct module. If there does not appear to be one
+ appropriate for your computer, then top probably will not work on
+ your system.
+
+ If after reading all of this file and checking everything you can you
+ are still stuck, then please use SourceForge to submit a support
+ request or a bug. Top is supported by the SourceForge project named
+ "unixtop". On SourceForge you will find defect tracking, a mailing
+ list, and on-line forums. You can also contact the author through
+ SourceForge.
-SUNOS PROBLEMS
-
-15. "I tried compiling top under SunOS version 4.1.x and it got compile time
- errors. Is there a patch?"
-
-If you try compiling top in a "System V environment" under SunOS (that is,
-/usr/5bin is before /usr/bin on your path) then the compilation may fail.
-This is mostly due to the fact that top thinks its being compiled on a
-System V machine when it really isn't. The only solution is to put /usr/bin
-and /usr/ucb before /usr/5bin on your path and try again.
-
-
-SVR4-derived PROBLEMS
-
-16. "When I run top on my SVR4-derived operating system, it displays all
- the system information at the top but does not display any process
- information (or only displayes process information for my own
- processes). Yet when I run it as root, everything works fine."
-
-Your system probably uses the pseudo file system "/proc", which is by
-default only accessible by root. Top needs to be installed setuid root on
-such systems if it is going to function correctly for normal users.
-
-
-SOLARIS PROBLEMS
-
-17. "Under Solaris 2, when I run top as root it only shows root processes,
- or it only shows processes with a PID less than 1000. It refuses to
- show anything else. What do I do?"
-
-You probably compiled it with /usr/ucb/cc instead of the real C compiler.
-/usr/ucb/cc is a cc front end that compiles programs in BSD source-level
-compatability mode. You do not want that. Make sure that /usr/ucb is not
-on your path and try compiling top again.
-
-18. "Under Solaris 2, I compiled top using what I am sure is the correct
- compiler but when I try to run it it complains about missing dynamic
- libraries. What is wrong?"
-
-Check to see if you have LD_LIBRARY_PATH defined in your shell. If you do,
-make sure that /usr/ucblib is not on the path anywhere. Then try compiling
-top again.
-
-19. "Under Solaris 2, when I try to run top it complains that it can't open
- the library "libucb.so.1". So I changed the LIBS line in m_sunos5.c
- to include -R/usr/ucblib to make sure that the dynamic linker will look
- there when top runs. I figured this was just an oversight. Was I
- right?"
-
-No, you were not right. As distributed, top requires NO alterations
-for successful compilation and operations under any release of Solaris
-2. You probably compiled top with /usr/ucb/cc instead of the real C
-compiler. See FAQ #10 for more details.
-
-20. "When I try to compile top under Solaris 2.6 using gcc I get compile
- time errors. There appear to be problems with the include files,
- such as 'u_rlimit has incomplete type' and/or 'u_saved_rlimit has
- incomplete type'. I've already run fixinc.svr4 as per FAQ #13.
- Why didn't that fix it?"
-
-Only top versions 3.5 and later are compatible with Solaris 2.6. Make
-sure you are using the most up-to-date version. Earlier beta release
-copies of version 3.5 had additional problems when compiled with gcc.
-Retrieve the official version 3.5 (non-beta) release from one of the
-sites listed in FAQ #1 or FAQ #2.
-
-
-SCO PROBLEMS
-
-21. "When I try to run Configure, it complains about a syntax error."
-
-Some versions of SCO's csh do not understand the syntax "$<". Earlier
-releases of top depended on this syntax to read input from the installer's
-terminal during the installation process. Version 3.5 fixes this.
-
-
-SVR42 PROBLEMS
-
-22. "The memory display doesn't work right. Why?"
-
-This is a known bug with the svr42 module. The problem has been traced down
-to a potential bug in the "mem" driver. The author of the svr42 module is
-working on a fix.
-
-
-STILL STUCK
-
-23. I'm still stuck. To whom do I report problems with top?"
-
-The most common problems are caused by top's sensitivity to internal kernel
-data structures. So make sure that you are using the right include files,
-and make sure that you test out top on the same machine where you compiled
-it. Sun's BSD Source Compatability Mode is also a common culprit. Make
-sure you aren't using either /usr/ucb/cc or any of the libraries in
-/usr/ucblib. Finally, make sure you are using the correct module. If there
-does not appear to be one appropriate for your computer, then top probably
-will not work on your system.
-
-If after reading all of this file and checking everything you can you are
-still stuck, then send mail to "wnl@groupsys.com". I will answer your mail
-when I have time. Please bear with me in that regard! If it looks like the
-problem is machine-specific, I will forward the report along to the module's
-author. If you would like to converse directly with the module author, the
-authors' names are listed at the beginning of the module .c file in the
-"machine" directory.