Utilizing strace and lsof: Advanced Process and Resource Monitoring


Effective process and resource monitoring is crucial for maintaining the health and performance of Linux systems. In this article, we explore two powerful tools, strace and lsof, which are essential for any Linux administrator’s toolkit. Understanding and utilizing these tools can greatly enhance your ability to diagnose and resolve system issues.

Understanding strace

strace is a powerful command-line tool used to trace system calls and signals. It’s invaluable for debugging and troubleshooting running processes in Linux. strace provides insights into how applications interact with the system, offering a window into the system’s inner workings.

Mastering lsof

lsof, short for ‘list open files’, is another essential tool. It provides detailed information about files opened by processes. An open file in Linux can be a regular file, a directory, a block device, or a network socket, making lsof incredibly versatile for monitoring system resources.

Practical Guide to Using strace

Here, we delve into practical usage of strace. For example, to trace the system calls of a running process, use strace -p [PID]. This section includes examples and interpretations of common outputs, helping you to understand and diagnose process behaviors.

Exploring lsof in Depth

lsof is explored with practical examples. For instance, to list all open files by a specific process, you can use lsof -p [PID]. This section guides you through various flags and filters to use with lsof, enhancing your monitoring capabilities.

Advanced Techniques and Tips

Combining strace and lsof can provide a comprehensive view of system activity. This section offers advanced tips, like using strace in conjunction with grep for filtering output, or integrating lsof with other monitoring tools for expanded diagnostics.

Common Issues and Solutions

Even experienced users can encounter challenges with strace and lsof. This section addresses common pitfalls and provides practical solutions, ensuring smoother monitoring experiences.


strace and lsof are powerful allies in the arsenal of a Linux administrator. By mastering these tools, you can gain deeper insights into your system’s behavior and resolve complex issues more effectively. Continual practice and exploration of these tools will enhance your skills as a Linux professional.


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