How do I install the perf monitoring tool?

  • 2
    What exactly do you want to monitor?
    – ddeimeke
    Jun 23, 2011 at 7:31
  • 9
    @ddeimeke that seems like an irrelevant question.
    – abcd
    Oct 16, 2015 at 17:20
  • @ddeimeke it doesn't matter
    – SmallChess
    Jul 28, 2018 at 0:47

12 Answers 12


On Ubuntu I had to install three packages:

apt-get install linux-tools-common linux-tools-generic linux-tools-`uname -r`
  • 7
    When I tried it, just using sudo apt-get install linux-tools-common linux-tools-generic (skipping the part, which depends on the kernel version) was sufficient.
    – Martin R.
    Jun 29, 2015 at 22:17
  • 7
    @Martin-R linux-tools-generic always points at the tools for the most up to date kernel version. When running an older kernel (e.g. a server with a couple months uptime) if you want perf without rebooting to the newer kernel you have to explicitly install the tools paired with that kernel (hence the uname -r shell expansion).
    – notpeter
    Jun 30, 2015 at 6:09
  • sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get -y install linux-tools-common linux-tools-generic linux-tools-uname -r
    – dylanninin
    Jun 19, 2016 at 3:10
  • 4
    sudo apt install linux-tools-generic on ubuntu 18.04
    – huangli
    Feb 3, 2020 at 9:17
  • 1
    E: Unable to locate package linux-tools-5.5.* what can be done to run perf on kernel 5.5?
    – txs
    Feb 5, 2022 at 1:04

The perf utility can be found in the linux-tools package.

  • 16
    You also probably want to install linux-tools-generic since it includes kernel modules that perf interacts with.
    – Allen
    Sep 6, 2014 at 21:59
  • 1
    Yep @Allen linux-tools-generic was what I needed!
    – jerome
    Mar 24, 2016 at 15:00
  • Also, if (like me) you have HWE installed, you'll need to install linux-tools-generic-hwe-$version (linux-tools-generic-hwe-20.04 is what I have currently). Mar 8, 2022 at 2:15

Make sure you are installing this tool for the right Kernel release. If you just type:

sudo apt-get install linux-tools

It will install it for the latest Linux release in your machine and in case you are booting a previous version (say for stability reason), it will err. In my case it installed for .45 instead of .43 and I had to use the following command to install it:

sudo apt-get install linux-tools-

You can find your Kernel release by typing : uname -r

To make sure it's working right you can try this: perf record /bin/ls


To get the latest version of perf irrespective of the kernel version (perf version is independent of the kernel version):

git clone --depth 1 https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git
cd linux/tools/perf
cp perf /usr/bin

perf --version to check the current version

  • 3
    Build deps for reference apt-get install build-essential git flex bison Aug 24, 2021 at 11:01
  • 2
    This is the right answer if your using a newer kenel. All the answer referring to using dpkg, and apt downloads are dependent on if dpkg repos have access to perf based on your kernel version. Running the latest Ubuntu image 21.04 with a kernel of 5.11, perf does "install" after using dpkg to download, however when trying to run perf -h you will be prompted with WARNING: perf not found for kernel 5.11.0-41 (or which ever newer kernel you have that perf is not apart of). Had to literally compile the tool from linux-tools manually.
    – Dave
    Feb 8, 2022 at 15:26
  • that worked to install - but it seems to be installing a different version - it doesn't support perf trace
    – stason
    Apr 4 at 5:10
  • @stason what is the expected version, what is it installing ?
    – bodha
    Apr 4 at 10:00
  • it's installing 6.3.x as of this writing. it looks like v6 dropped trace, it's there in v5. I also very much doubt that v6 perf would work on kernel 5.x. may be could add to your answer to suggest to check that the same major version is used as the actual kernel?
    – stason
    Apr 4 at 17:02


sudo apt install linux-tools-common



sudo apt install linux-perf



In 14.04, the linux-tools package does not exist unqualified:

$ sudo apt-get install linux-tools
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package linux-tools is a virtual package provided by:
You should explicitly select one to install.

E: Package 'linux-tools' has no installation candidate

Instead, you can install one of the packages listed, depending upon the kernel you have installed. Most users will want linux-tools-generic.

  • For Ubuntu 22.04, this is the correct answer. It will bring in linux-tools-common and the specific package for your current kernel version automatically.
    – davidA
    Mar 16 at 23:12

On ubuntu "perf" is a shell script that calls a kernel specific perf binary.

But that's not actually needed, perf is compatible. Just remove the wrapper from /usr/bin and copy any of the perf binaries from ./lib/linux-tools* to it.

  • that worked - thank you! You could call directly sudo /usr/lib/linux-tools-5.15.0-67/perf trace date - try locate /lib/linux-tools | grep perf to find which version you may have.
    – stason
    Apr 4 at 5:07

I installed Linux 3.17.2 on my machine and tried

sudo apt-get install linux-tools-3.17.2

it showed that linux-tools is not present. In this case, download the required linux kernel version, go to linux->tools->perf :

cd linux/tools/perf

and then run make command :


and then run make install command:

make install

and then reboot. You just installed perf manually.

  • Reboot is not necessary. Also, if you are to compile from the source code; linux-tools-3.17.2 should not be necessary Oct 19, 2016 at 10:03

Running the following two commands will do it!

sudo apt-get install linux-tools-common 
sudo apt-get install linux-tools
  • Doesn't work. I'm using 12.04. I get the error perf not found for kernel 3.2.0-60. You may need to install linux-tools-3.2.0-60-generic
    – Rishi Dua
    Mar 10, 2014 at 18:54
  • This doesn't look working.
    – SmallChess
    Jul 28, 2018 at 0:52

Here's how it worked for me On Ubuntu 18.04:

After Command 'perf' not found, it suggested to install with sudo apt install linux-tools-common. Doing so and trying to run perf afterward still resulted in:

WARNING: perf not found for kernel 4.15.0-39

  You may need to install the following packages for this specific kernel:

  You may also want to install one of the following packages to keep up to date:

I decided for sudo apt-get install linux-tools-generic and this was enough.

In case you run into permission-error when trying to use perf as non-root, look here:

Run perf without root-rights

  • I got the same warning. But then I ran the command you suggested and I still get the same warning. Mar 20, 2019 at 21:40
  • linux-tools-oem seems to have been enough. Mar 20, 2019 at 21:42
  • 1
    @6005 Thx for the feedback, I don't have an idea why you experienced a different behaviour, though.
    – Darkonaut
    Mar 20, 2019 at 21:47
  • This happens because the package your are downloading from the dpkg repo was never compiled for your newer kernel version. So the logic builds a binary that just runs this output. You must do what @bodha suggested. Even after compiling, you need to remove or move these binaries where ever they are based on your path, and replace with the compiled binary you made. You will need to do a lot of which perf to find out where they all are.
    – Dave
    Feb 8, 2022 at 15:28

For debian 9.11 (Stretch)

sudo apt-get install linux-perf-4.9


You might need to do an

apt-get update


sudo apt-get install linux-tools-virtual
  • 1
    this answer is useless without any hint of the approach targeted
    – cmks
    Mar 15, 2016 at 16:05

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