I used the command 'top' to show running processes, and I noticed the first and second line look like this:

top - 00:30:31 up  5:41,  3 users, load average: 0.14, 0.16, 0.27
top - 00:31:25 up  5:42,  3 users,  load average: 0.38, 0.20, 0.28

When I first noticed it, it said 4 users. My question is what does it mean by "3 users" or "4" users?


How many users are currently logged on.

First off that top line is 'load adverage' you can enable and disable/hide it by pressing 'l' which toggles the line on and off

$ top


$ uptime

Next: and to the point of your question, it is the number of active terminal's on the system. Run the 'who' command and view its output.

$ who

If you

$ man uptime

it tells you that 'users' is how many users are currently logged on.


That means the number of active users in the system. You can use the command w to see those users.

e.g: (Only first line of top output shown)

saji@sajilap:~$ top
top - 11:54:23 up  2:17,  2 users,  load average: 1.53, 1.67, 1.70

saji@sajilap:~$ w
11:51:32 up  2:14,  2 users,  load average: 1.71, 1.61, 1.68
USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU WHAT
saji     tty7                      09:38    2:19m  4:42   0.29s gnome-session --session=ubuntu
saji     pts/2    :0.0             11:45    0.00s  0.24s  0.00s w

Courtesy: http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=243440

As for the 3 or 4 users shown, it might be because you have 2 or 3 terminals open respectively.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.