What it the history of the htop command?

The htop command is a system monitoring utility for Linux systems that provides an interactive and real-time view of system processes and resource usage. It was created as a more advanced alternative to the traditional top command, offering additional features and an improved user interface. The history of htop can be traced as follows:

  1. The Origin: The htop utility was initially developed by Hisham Muhammad. He started the project in 2004 as an open-source effort to create a more user-friendly process viewer for Linux systems. The goal was to enhance the capabilities and presentation of the process monitoring tool compared to the existing top command.

  2. Features and Improvements: htop introduced several features that made it popular among Linux users and system administrators. Some notable features include:

  • Interactive Process Viewer: htop provides an interactive, dynamically updated view of processes, allowing users to scroll through the process list, sort processes based on various criteria, and control processes (e.g., sending signals, killing processes) directly from the interface.
  • Colorful and Easy-to-Read Display: htop utilizes colors and graphical indicators to represent different process attributes, such as CPU and memory usage. This makes it easier to identify resource-intensive processes at a glance.
  • Detailed Process Information: It offers more detailed information about individual processes, including command line arguments, environment variables, and resource usage statistics.
  • Customizable Interface: Users can customize the htop interface by configuring various display options and column layouts according to their preferences.
  1. Wider Adoption and Contributions: Over time, htop gained popularity and received contributions from the open-source community. As a result, it has been continuously improved and enhanced with new features, bug fixes, and performance optimizations.

  2. Availability and Integration: htop is available as a package in most Linux distributions' software repositories. Users can typically install it using the package manager specific to their distribution (e.g., apt for Debian-based systems, yum for Red Hat-based systems). Additionally, it is also available for download from the official htop website ( and can be compiled and installed manually from the source code.

Today, htop is widely used as a preferred alternative to top by many Linux users and system administrators due to its improved functionality, user interface, and ease of use.

It's worth noting that the information provided here is based on the historical knowledge up until September 2021, and any recent developments or updates regarding htop may not be covered.

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