Linux tload Command Tutorial for Beginners (with Examples)

While there are a lot of UI-based tools in Linux that you can use to see a graphical representation of system load, the number of command line tools that do the same work is pretty less. One such utility is tload, which will be discussing in this tutorial.

But before we do that, it's worth mentioning that all examples in this article have been tested on an Ubuntu 18.04 LTS machine.

Linux tload command

The tload command in Linux provides you with a graphic representation of system load average. Following is its syntax:

tload [options] [tty]

And here's how the tool's man page explains it:

tload  prints  a  graph  of the current system load average to the specified tty (or the tty of 
the tload process if none is specified).

Following are some Q&A-styled examples that should give you a better idea on how the tload command works.

Q1. How to use tload?

Basic usage is pretty straight forward - just execute 'tload' sans any option. The graph produced in output will likely take some time to build up, but after sometime, you'll see something like this:

The graph, as you can see, consists of symbols like *, =, and -. While the tool's man page doesn't say anything about these symbols, there's some useful explanation about this on a serverfault thread.

It's just the graphical (weird) representation of the last minute load average of the system over 
the time.

The "*"s are just the representation of the level of load average. Understand it as a clasical
"area graph". The "-" sings just define the unities of load, and the "=" substitute the "-" when
the bar passes the line that marks the unit of the graph.

Q2. Does tload provide any scaling option?

Yes, it does. The option is -s. Here's how the tool's man page explains it:

The scale option allows a vertical scale to be specified for the display  (in  characters  
between  graph  ticks);  thus, a smaller value represents a larger scale, and vice versa.

For example:

tload -s 20

Q3. How to set delay in graph updates?

When you run the tload command, you'll notice that the graph it produces continuously updates. However, if you want, you can set a delay between graph updates.

This can be done using the -d command line option. For example:

tload -d 5

This command will ensure the graph updates after 5 seconds.


Agreed, this command is mostly for system admins. The number of options it offers is also limited. We have already discussed the major options this utility offers. To learn more, head to the tload man page.

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2 Comment(s)

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By: till at: 2018-10-26 00:36:22

it would help to include a link to the file

By: Dave at: 2018-10-28 19:12:31

How do you stop it?