Recommended tools

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This page lists system-administration related tools recommended for use in a shell environment (terminal/console), with suggestions for reliable and easy to install software for common Gentoo Linux needs.

Most of these packages are in the stable branch, but some useful and otherwise high quality software is still in the testing branch. Testing branch packages may be made available for installation by accepting a keyword for a single package, however packages from the testing branch should only be used after taking note of any risks.

To reference a new piece of software here, please read the adding to this page section.

This is a "best of kind" list, much more software is available on Gentoo. Use eix or browse to find all applications available on Gentoo.

See recommended applications for graphical software.

File management

Name Package Description
FDUPES app-misc/fdupes Identify duplicate files residing in specified directories.
Midnight Commander app-misc/mc GNU Midnight Commander is a text based file manager.
app-misc/nnn Missing terminal file manager for X.
ranger app-misc/ranger Console file manager with VI key bindings providing a minimalistic curses interface with a view on the directory hierarchy.
Vifm app-misc/vifm Console file manager with vi(m)-like keybindings. Offers familiar navigation for vim junkies.

See also the article on file managers.

Hardware management

Name Package Description
acpiclient sys-power/acpi Attempts to replicate the functionality of the 'old' apm command on ACPI systems.
AcpiTool sys-power/acpitool Linux ACPI client, allowing you to query or set ACPI values. It provides informations on battery status, AC adapter presence, thermal reading, etc.

Hardware information

Name Package Description
cpuid sys-apps/cpuid Linux tool to dump x86 CPUID information about the CPUs.
hwinfo sys-apps/hwinfo Small utility created by OpenSUSE to gather information on system hardware.
Neofetch app-misc/neofetch Simple information system script, presents pretty system info in terminal.
pciutils sys-apps/pciutils Utilities dealing with the PCI bus. Run lspci to list PCI devices.
resolve-march-native app-misc/resolve-march-native Eesolve GCC flag -march=native, read the CPU id product family codename.
usbutils sys-apps/usbutils Get information on USB devices.

See also hardware detection.


Name Package Description
iftop net-analyzer/iftop Display bandwidth usage on an interface.
IPTraf-ng net-analyzer/iptraf-ng Console-based network monitoring utility.
Layer Four Traceroute (LFT) net-analyzer/lft An advanced traceroute implementation.
nload net-analyzer/nload Console application which monitors network traffic and bandwidth usage in real time.
vnStat net-analyzer/vnstat Network traffic monitoring.
wavemon net-wireless/wavemon Curses based monitor for IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN cards.
Xprobe net-analyzer/xprobe Active OS fingerprinting tool. This is Xprobe2.
Yersinia net-analyzer/yersinia FrameWork for layer 2 protocol attacks. Working on DHCP, STP, IEEE 802.1q and also some other Cisco proprietary network protocols.


Name Package Description
bat sys-apps/bat cat(1) clone with syntax highlighting and Git integration.
most sys-apps/most Enhanced pager (alternative to more and less) with colored highlighting.

Also consider emerging app-editors/vim with USE=vim-pager.

Shell environment

Name Package Description
autojump app-shells/autojump Change directory command that learns.
Generic Colouriser app-misc/grc Generic colouriser that beautifies system log files or command output.
rlwrap app-misc/rlwrap Readline wrapper.
wgetpaste app-text/wgetpaste Command-line interface to various pastebin-like websites.
Xclip x11-misc/xclip Command-line interface to X selections (clipboard).

See also the shell article for available command-line interpreters.

System resources

Name Package Description
atop sys-process/atop Resource-specific view of processes.
htop sys-process/htop Interactive process viewer (improved alternative for top), with easy function-keys for process management.
Iotop sys-process/iotop Simple top like I/O monitor.
lsof sys-process/lsof Lists open files for running Unix processes.
NCurses Disk Usage (ncdu) sys-fs/ncdu Curses-based disk usage tool, with easy navigation through the filesystem tree to see du results.
pydf app-admin/pydf Enhanced df (disk free) tool, which uses colors and a semi-graphical representation of disk usage.

Terminal multiplexers

Terminal multiplexers manage several applications simultaneously on the command line. Often they manage sessions in the background and allow reattaching if a terminal is closed or a connection lost. Some also permit some form of session saving, even across reboots.

When connecting to a remote shell or executing commands that take a long time to complete, it is good practice to run some sort of session manager to allow reattaching to a session in case of crashes, errors or lost connections.
Name Package Description
byobu app-misc/byobu GPLv3 text-based window manager and terminal multiplexer.
dtach app-misc/dtach Run a program detached from the terminal and reattach to it later. Useful for long emerges for example. May be unmaintained. See also app-misc/abduco .
dynamic virtual terminal manager app-misc/dvtm Console window manager for working with multiple console based programs. Works with app-misc/abduco to provide session management.
screen app-misc/screen Screen manager with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation.
tmux app-misc/tmux Terminal multiplexer. Used with the continuum and resurrect extensions, can restore environment after reboot.


Name Package Description
Mytop dev-db/mytop top clone for mysql. N.B. a customized mytop is included in >=dev-db/mariadb-5.3.
Pass app-admin/pass Stores, retrieves, generates, and synchronizes passwords securely using gpg, pwgen, and git.
Visual Binary Diff (VBinDiff) dev-util/vbindiff Visual diffing tool for binary files.
Whowatch app-admin/whowatch Interactive who-like program that displays information about users currently logged on in real time.

Adding to this page

The applications listed here should be widely useful, and of sufficient quality, to merit inclusion. This page is a work in progress.

If you regularly use a desktop software package from the Gentoo repository and can confirm it is of excellent quality, stable and of broad appeal for common tasks, please add it to the list ! The software should at least be maintained (i.e. relatively recent commits to the source; have periodic releases; not have too many reported bugs; most bugs should be getting fixed rather than accumulating, etc.), and preferably be well documented and from the stable branch. Please don't use this page just to promote a package because you like it, are an author or have other interest etc.

See also