Is there a software to show software usage in Linux? It should show

  • Last used on
  • How many times a particular software was used
  • "Frequency of usage" graph/GUI would be great!

Some more points:

  • I would prefer if the app shows data about all apps together in a GUI. But even a tabular output in terminal is acceptable.
  • The app is to be used by a single user, so there is no need for the app to show usage by all users together.

A sample output could be like this

 APP     | Usage |   Last Used   |   Today's use | 
=========|=======|===============|============== |
Firefox  | HIGH  | Today 11:10pm |   5 times     |
Terminal | HIGH  | Today 10:00pm |   10 times    | 
GNOME Do | LOW   | 25 jan 2014   |    0 times    |

EDIT: Though I would prefer a native Linux app, a Windows app which would run through Wine would also be acceptable.

  • Are you speaking of "software usage in general", or on a specific install (i.e. how often which software is used on a specific machine, maybe even per user or for a specific user)? Should it just generate a log, or store statistics in some database? Is a GUI required, and if so, which features should it provide? What format of output is required? Please, edit your question and add some more details.
    – Izzy
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 12:17
  • In general, I would try to make auditd collect the stats for me. Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 23:21
  • 2
    What do you mean by "usage" I start my Mail Program once every 3 months or so but use it every day. So counting "starts" won't work. So how do you measure "use"? Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 10:21
  • @angeloneuschitzer for my purpose, starts would be enough.but maybe the app could measure the app process' time spend in memory for better results. Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 12:14
  • A software similar to the one recommended here, but for Linux? Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 12:36

4 Answers 4


You can use WhatPulse:

  • Free
  • Linux (and also Win/Mac)
  • It records the total time spent in each program,
  • Stats are available online as well as on the desktop client.
  • Support several computers
  • It records the number of mouse clicks and the keyboard strokes in each program. Since you can select the statistics to be shown for today, yesterday, current week, current month, last three months, last six month, current year, and all time, you can have an approximation of the last time you use the application as well as its usage level.

enter image description here

  • wow!! that's awesome!
    – 842Mono
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 18:27
  • 2
    Doesn't seem available in distro package repos. Probably because it's closed source trash. Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 19:01
  • Unfortunately, last I checked WhatPulse was no longer available for Linux and even more unfortunate is per-app data usage is not included in the free plan :(
    – user324747
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 23:14
  • 1
    @UbuntuForumsStaffAreTrolls whatpulse.org/downloads lists Linux Commented Aug 17, 2022 at 0:04
  • OK good to know, I made sure to put in "last I checked" because for a while I could not find a Linux download or any reference to a Linux version except on a Twitter post or something.
    – user324747
    Commented Aug 17, 2022 at 0:07

Take a look at the venerable "sa" UNIX / Linux sysadmin command: sa. This summarizes the accounting information saved to the "acct" file, and should be able to give you all of the information you require ... and a lot more.

Most modern linux system don't enable "acct" process accounting by default. You should be able to enable it using the accton command.


"Activity Journal" is one good program that might cover some of your requirements but sadly not all. You can find it in the Ubuntu software centre.


Normally it wouldn't show you your programs' usage, only files, but following this you can install individual plugins for each program you need to know more status about. The plugins are called "Data Providers". (like a chrome plugin for example). and here's all available Data Providers. It'd then track your program usage through the plugin you've installed.

By the way, the third tab (the one to the left of the button that looks like a magnifying glass) shows you a timeline.

...bottomline; very tedious to install (especially that you'd install every plugin individually) and doesn't really hit the spot of what you require but it's a bit close.


You can download Activity Journal with command

sudo apt install activity-log-manager

  • Can you detail what features does it have and how does it fulfills the OP's requirements?
    – Alejandro
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 19:04

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