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Accounting Utilities Manual

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Way back a long time ago, Thompson and Ritchie were sitting opposite one another at the commissary, sipping coffees and discussing their evolving behemoth.

"This behemoth of ours," said Ken, "is becoming rather popular, wouldn't you say?" "Yes," said Dennis. "Every time I want to do a compilation, I have to wait for hours and hours. It's infuriating." They both agreed that the load on their system was too great. Both sighed, picked up their mugs, and went back to the workbench. Little did they know that an upper-management type was sitting just within earshot of their conversation.

"We are AT&T Bell Laboratories, aren't we?" the upper-management type thought to himself. "Well, what is our organization best known for?" The brill-cream in his hair glistened. "Screwing people out of lots of money, of course! If there were some way that we could keep tabs on users and charge them through the nose for their CPU time..."

The accounting utilities were born.

Seriously though, the accouting utilities can provide a system administrator with useful information about system usage--connections, programs executed, and utilization of system resources.

Information about users--their connect time, location, programs executed, and the like--is automatically recored in files by init and login. Four of them are of interest to us: wtmp, which has records for each login and logout; acct, which records each command that was run; usracct and savacct, which contain summaries of the information in acct by user and command, respectively. Each of the accounting utilities reports or summarizes information stored in these files.

prints statistics about users' connect time. ac can tell you how long a particular user or group of users were connected to your system, printing totals by day or for all of the entries in the wtmp file.

turns accounting on or off.

lists the logins on the system, most recent first. With last, you can search the wtmp file for a particular user or terminal name (to which the user was connected). Of special interest are two fake users, `reboot' and `shutdown', which are recorded when the system is shut down or reboots.

lists the commands executed on the system, most recent first, showing the run state of each command. With last, you can search the acct file for a particular user, terminal, or command.

summarizes the information in the acct file into the savacct and usracct file. It also generates reports about commands, giving the number of invocations, cpu time used, average core usage, etc.

display acct and utmp files in a human-readable format.

For more detailed information on any of these programs, check the chapter with the program title.

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