I have been told that "top" command only cycles once per second (I don't know if that's true) and I need it to show changes in processes way shorter than a second, how do I do that?

What I need to "watch" exactly is the following

From gnome terminal I want to execute the command

exec firefox

I want to observe how gnome terminal will spawn a sub-process/shell/bash and how "exec" command will swap that with Firefox

Of course I'll be doing that by sshing into the machine from an other machine and running top command or any other alternative but it has to be fast enough to catch that

1 Answer 1


You can change top's intervall (defaultly 3 seconds) within top: Press d and type 0.1Enter. Now, top's intervall is set to 0,1 seconds.

If you want just the firefox process inside top execute top as follows:

top -p <pid_of_the_processes>
  • Thanks, how do I show processes great than PID number x?
    – Hinklo
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 15:15

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