There is a shell command that allows you to measure how fast the data goes through it, so you can measure the speed of output of commands in a pipe. So instead of:

$ somecommand | anothercommand

you can do something like:

$ somecommand | ??? | anothercommand

And throughput stats (bytes/sec) are printed to stderr, I think. But I can't for the life of me remember what that command was.


cpipe is probably better for these purposes, but another related program is pv (Pipe Viewer):

Screenshot of pv from the pv homepage

If you give it the --rate flag it will show the transfer rate

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You need a utility called cpipe.


tar cCf / - usr | cpipe -vr -vw -vt > /dev/null


  in:  19.541ms at    6.4MB/s (   4.7MB/s avg)    2.0MB
 out:   0.004ms at   30.5GB/s (  27.1GB/s avg)    2.0MB
thru:  19.865ms at    6.3MB/s (   4.6MB/s avg)    2.0MB
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  • 2
    No longer found any valid reference to cpipe... but pv is equivalent. – Yves Martin Jan 7 '15 at 8:26

If you have Python 2 or 3 and pip (sudo apt-get install python-pip) you can install tqdm:

    python -m pip install tqdm

Then simply:

    somecommand | tqdm | anothercommand

If you need help, run tqdm --help. It has a lot of options. Feel free to read more and make suggestions at https://github.com/tqdm/tqdm

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As seen at https://askubuntu.com/a/620234, notice that pv, at least, can slow down your throughput significantly. The article linked to covers dd, but the point is that pv can slow down your stuff. If you care, and if you are transferring terabytes of data for example.

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A new tool is now available to inspect already running processes files access, display progress and throughput estimation: https://github.com/Xfennec/cv

If your somecommand or anothercommand are already known by cv, it is just as easy to use as watch cv -wq, or else you have to use -c option to monitor specifically your processes.

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