etherape - Man Page

graphical network traffic browser


etherape [ -d ] [ -f filter ] [ --final-export outfile ] [ --glade-file interfacefile ] [ -i interface ] [ -l maxnodes ] [ -m operating mode ] [ --max-delay delay ] [ --min-delay delay ] [ -n ] [ -P column file ] [ -q ] [ -r inputfile ] [ -s ] [ --signal-export outfile ] [ -Z user ]


EtherApe is a network traffic browser. It displays network activity graphically. It uses GNOME libraries as its user interface, and libpcap, a packet capture and filtering library.


These options can be supplied to the command:

-d,  --diagram-only

don't display any node text identification

-f,  --filter <capture filter>

set capture filter

--final-export <export file name>

when replaying, export to named file at end of replay

--glade-file <filename>

loads interface definitions from the specified GtkBuilder file instead of the default one.

-i,  --interface <interface name>

set interface to listen to

-l,  --node-limit <number>

sets the maximum number of node visible

-m,  --mode <link|ip|tcp>

set mode of operation (default is ip)

--max-delay <delay in ms>

caps timestamps to the provided delay when replaying a capture file.

--min-delay <delay in ms>

provides a minimum to inter-packet delay when replaying a capture file.

-n,  --numeric

don't convert addresses to names, disables name resolution.

-P,  --positionfile with list of nodes and columns

Activate column positioning with the named file. Manually position nodes in virtual columns using the named file content. See Column Positioning.


disables informational messages.

-r,  --replay-file <file name>

sets input file to replay


Place nodes using an alternate algorithm. Deprecated.

--signal-export <export file name>

if specified, enables signal USR1 handling. On receiving USR1, EtherApe will dump its state to the named XML file.

Beware! the file will be overwritten without asking!

-Z,  --relinquish-privileges <user>

run everything but privileged packet-capture operations under the user ID and group ID of the given user.

-?,  --help

show a brief help message

Column Positioning

With option -P|--position EtherApe reads a file specifying positions of some nodes. The input file takes the format of:        1     2     2
 172.16.2.[0-9]*          1
 .*          1
 ff02:.*                  2
 fe80:.*                  1

The first column is a regex of either the FQDN or the IP address.

The second column is a number indicating the "column" that the node will be positioned in the display with column 1 being on the far left. Up to 1000 columns are permitted.

Instead of being arranged in a circle the nodes are displayed in columns.  This is quite useful for arranging nodes so that you can see nodes on the "inside" of your network on the left and the public internet nodes (anything not specified in the config file) on the right.

The input file above will cause 3 columns to display. Nodes with FQDN containing, those in the subnet, and link local IPv6 addresses will be in the left column.  2 "routers", and IPv6 multicast will be in the center column and everything else will be in the right column.

Column locations are determined by the first match while searching from the top of the input.  Overlapping regex's can be used with the understanding that the first match will determine the location.  The broadest regex's should be near the bottom of the position specification.



on receipt of signal USR1, and if enabled with --signal-export, EtherApe will dump its state to the chosen xml file.

Beware! the file will be overwritten without asking!

Environment Variables


controls debug output verbosity. Debug information are printed on standard output.


Etherape will use /etc/ethers if there is one to convert MAC addresses to names and /etc/services to associate TCP/UDP port numbers to protocol names.

See Also

The EtherApe webpage at


Juan Toledo <>

Riccardo Ghetta <>


EtherApe Manual Page