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(created on 15. Jun 2002, important updates regarding Mac OS X 22. Jun and 7. Jul 2002)

Preliminary remark: read here for compiling and running GKrellM on Mac OS X.

About System Monitoring in General

To control function and especially performance there are several graphical tools available, aside from command line oriented tools like top or prstat (Solaris), which are available for most platforms. For special questions you will always resort to these command line tools and/or ps and others of course, but here I will discuss two important, good GUI control tools.

GKrellM 1.2.13

(site specific remark: you won't be able to reach that site, if you are behind a firewall or other GNU/Linux system using the ECN [Explicit Congestion Notification], because there is a broken router/firewall, which drops packets with this not so very new standard flag enabled; they are informed and the problem should be fixed in near future)

Depending on the usual packages GTK+, glib, imlib and so on (see site above) this extensible monitor system (plugins) is primarily for GNU/Linux, but can run with minor adjustments (and little loss of informations) on Solaris and FreeBSD as on NetBSD/OpenBSD too and with the the help of the libgtop of the GNOME project even on most other UNIX flavors (there seems to be even a Redmond non-OS version!), but with more restrictions regarding information output. But even on such systems I think it is still useful with several displays you want to have available...

The pilosophy is a short graph and/or numerical/text display combined, which displays current values about up to one minute to the past. So you can see tendencies too, not only a snapshot of the values.

While a trial to build it (libgtop was present) on AIX failed, the least compatible UNIX flavor of all (see also below), opposed to that after a minor tweak of the Makefile it compiles and runs fine on Mac OS X too! Meanwhile Ben Hines from the fink project has already integrated it there too in the preferable native manner. This means, you can get it via the usual command
(sudo) fink install gkrellm
and you will get itself, all required packages and their compilations as Debian packages rather quickly. It works now even well on dual Power Macs like mine! Concluding remark: starting with version 1.2.13 you can now also compile it from scratch with the source tarball; the adaptations for Mac OS X are now officially integrated.

Already historical remarks: The general pathway is: first install (an X server is necessary of course --- get XFree86s XDarwin I strongly suggest) the required libraries GTK+, glib, ... and especially glibtop (and GNOME prerequisites) best with the fink system, because the Debian package manager used by it makes it so easy and dependency safe.
After you are finished with installing this prerequisite software, extract the tarball in the usual manner. The only thing I changed was the following: in the Makefile(.top_enable_nls) you have to change the GTOP_INCLUDE variable using fink to -I/sw/include/libgtop-1.0, because you can give only one parameter for that library on the command line, and fink uses a non-standard location policy not fitting into that framework (an /include is automatically added, which collides with the fink directory structure). Additionally you have to delete the flag -E from the LINK_FLAGS variable in src/Makefile to get it compiled. So after writing back the changed makefile subsequently call (don't worry, opposed to other UNIX flavors OS X uses GNU make too, and the GNU compiler 2.95)
make gtop1.0
and you will get finished with make and make install in the usual manner --- the version may change in future, because gtop1.1 already exists.

Remark to building on OS X/Darwin especially: the dependency on the used kernel is very strong, if you use glibtop, so you seem to have to recompile glibtop every time you upgrade your kernel... While this poses no problem for kernel "maniacs" on GNU/Linux due to the lack of necessity to use glibtop at all, on Mac OS X, where the Kernel upgrades are more frequent than with Linux, this may give you some headache. Eventually fink will integrate and solve this issue for us?

Final general remark: if you want to run GKrellM remotely via X display, be aware, that it uses up in average about one B channel ISDN equivalent bandwidth on the network connecting both machines, i.e. 6 to 7 kBytes/second if you let it run at the default or near at this.

xosview 1.8.0

This one runs too primarily on GNU/Linux, but can be compiled and used on most usual (of course once again not AIX) other UNIX flavors, like the *BSD systems, Solaris, HP-UX and IRIX. Opposed to GKrellM it is a pure snapshot system with the sole exception, that the load display adjusts in the usual way slowly to changes. Regretfully the new memstat kernel module for the shared memory display is so far available only for the (dated) Linux kernels 2.0 and 2.2, probably because the changes in the VM of the current 2.4 kernel make it different to integrate into the kernel modules.On the other hand eventually you will tweak with ipchains or iptables the net device behaviour (unusual application, but why you should restrict yourself on these filter tables to use them for firewall purposes only?), to suppress additional "noise" output of xosview, which can't discriminate true from "fake" network traffic without help so far.


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