tcptrack: Last but definitely not least

I feel as though a great opportunity has been missed, a chance to really drive a peg into the landscape of *nix software. Look at this application, and tell me what you think it ought to be called:


Maybe it was just me, but after only a few seconds of using tcptrack, I said to myself, “Oh no. This should have been called tcptop.”

It looks like a *top program. It behaves like a *top program. It even has a few options that are reminiscent of *top programs. Gosh darnit, it should have been called tcptop.

But it’s not, and the opportunity has passed. The circle of life continues.

In spite of that, I think tcptrack might be one of my favorite network packet monitors so far. The reasons for that are probably obvious: (a), It uses the entire console in a real-time display of active transfers; and (b), it’s got color. Not much, but it’s there. 😀

tcptrack takes quite a few options as command flags; if you want to limit the display somehow, like a certain port or at a certain display longevity, those things are controlled when it’s started.

While it’s running, you really only have the option to pause the display, scroll it up or down, or sort it by rate or name. It’s not much, but the idea is there.

I suppose I should call out tcptrack for one small omission: As you can see in the screenshot, it’s not stretching the results horizontally, and is therefore wasting a little space. I’ve faulted other programs for that in the past, I suppose I should mention it here too.

I am happy that tcptrack is the last of the “tcp*” programs I have on my list. It fits my definition of a console application and does so with just enough panache to keep it interesting.

Now if only the author had claimed the better name. tcptop would have been classic. … 😕

P.S.: tcptrack is in AUR, but the PKGBUILD points at a dead source. You can build it through ABS or with yaourt -G, and by implanting the source code from here (thanks, Fedora) into the proper folder. Of course Debian users have everything taken care for them. … :mrgreen:

P.P.S.: Yes, I know there are some scripts out there called “tcptop.” As far as I know none of them are listed in Arch/AUR or Debian. 😉