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sa summarizes information about previously executed commands as recorded in the acct file. In addition, it condenses this data into the savacct summary file, which contains the number of times the command was called and the system resources used. The information can also be summarized on a per-user basis; sa will save this information into usracct. Usage:

sa [opts] [file]

If no arguments are specified, sa will print information about all of the commands in the acct file. If command names have unprintable characters, or are only called once, sa will sort them into a group called ***other.

If called with a file name as the last argument, sa will use that file instead of acct.

By default, sa will sort the output by sum of user and system time.

The output fields are labeled as follows:

sum of system and user time in cpu seconds
"real time" in cpu seconds
cpu-time averaged core usage, in 1k units
average number of I/O operations per execution
total number of I/O operations
cpu storage integral (kilo-core seconds)
user cpu time in cpu seconds
system time in cpu seconds

An asterisk will appear after the name of commands that forked but didn't call exec.


Force sa not to sort those command names with unprintable characters and those used only once into the `***other' group.
Sort the output by the sum of user and system time divided by the number of calls.
Print percentages of total time for the command's user, system, and real time values.
Sort the output by the average number of disk I/O operations.
Print and sort the output by the total number of disk I/O operations.
When using the --threshold option, assume that all answers to interactive queries will be affirmative.
Don't read the information in savacct.
Instead of printing total minutes for each category, print seconds per call.
Sort the output by cpu time average memory usage.
Print and sort the output by the cpu-storage integral.
Print separate columns for system and user time; usually the two are added together and listed as cpu.
Print the number of processes and number of CPU minutes on a per-user basis.
Sort the output by the number of calls. This is the default sorting method.
Sort output items in reverse order.
Merge the summarized accounting data into the summary files savacct and usracct.
For each entry, print the ratio of real time to the sum of system and user times. If the sum of system and user times is too small to report--the sum is zero---*ignore* will appear in this field.
For each command in the accounting file, print the userid and command name. After printing all entries, quit. Note: this flag supersedes all others.
-v num
--threshold num
Print commands which were executed num times or fewer and await a reply from the terminal. If the response begins with y, add the command to the **junk** group.
It really doesn't make any sense to me that the stock version of sa separates statistics for a particular executable depending on whether or not that command forked. Therefore, GNU sa lumps this information together unless this option is specified.
Sort the output by the "real time" (elapsed time) for each command.
Print verbose internal information.
Print sa's version number.
Print sa's usage string and default locations of system files to standard output.

Note: if more than one sorting option is specified, the list will be sorted by the one specified last on the command line.


I haven't been able to test this on many different machines because the data files grow so big in a short time; our sysadmin would rather save the disk space.

Most versions of sa that I've tested don't pay attention to flags like --print-seconds and --sort-num-calls when printing out commands when combined with the --user-summary or --print-users flags. GNU sa pays attention to these flags if they are applicable.

mips sa

The average memory use is stored as a short rather than a double, so we suffer from round-off errors. GNU sa uses double the whole way through.

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