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Linux Tutorial - System Monitoring - What the System Is Doing Now - Users
  What the System Is Doing Now ---- Processes  


Its often useful to know just how many users are logged onto your system. As I mentioned earlier, each process requires resources to run. The more users who are logged on to your system, the more processes there are using your resources. In many cases, just seeing how many users are logged in rings bells and turns on lights in your head to say that something is not right.

The easy way to figure out how many users are logged in is with the who command. Without any options, who simply gives you a list of which users are logged in, the terminal into which each user is logged, and the time each user logged in. If you use the -q option (for "quick"), you get just a list of who is logged on and the user count. For example

root root root jimmo # users=4

For every user logged in, there is at least one process. If the user first gets to a shell and starts its application that way, it probably has two processes: the login shell and that application. Therefore, the minimum is the number of users times two (assuming the application isn't the login shell). Granted, the shell is sleeping, waiting for the application to finish, though it is still taking up system resources. Plus, dozens of system process are running, also taking up system resources.

Although I rarely use who with any option except -q, it does have several other options that I have used on occasion. One is the -w option, which tells you whether the user has the mesg flag set to yes or no. A + (plus sign) means you can contact him or her with write, for example, and a - (minus sign) means you cant. Another option, the -i option, tells you the users idle time.

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Copyright 2002-2009 by James Mohr. Licensed under modified GNU Free Documentation License (Portions of this material originally published by Prentice Hall, Pearson Education, Inc). See here for details. All rights reserved.
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