pmview man page

pmview — performance metrics 3D visualization back-end


pmview [-Cz] [-A align] [-a archive[,archive,...]] [-c configfile] [-h host] [-n pmnsfile] [-O origin] [-p port] [-R logconfig] [-r addconfig] [-S starttime] [-t interval] [-T endtime] [-x version] [-Z timezone] [-geometry geometry] [-display display] [-name name] [-title title] [-xrm "resourceName: value" ...] [other X11-args]


pmview is a generalized 3D performance metrics visualization tool for the Performance Co-Pilot (PCP(1)).

pmview is the base utility behind performance metrics visualization tools such as dkvis(1), mpvis(1), osvis(1) and nfsvis(1), It is also used by a range of related tools that are specific to optional Performance Domain Agents (PMDA) and/or PCP add-on products. pmview may also be used to construct customized 3D performance displays.

pmview displays performance metrics as colored blocks and cylinders arranged on monochrome base planes. Each object may represent a single performance metric, or a stack of several performance metrics.  Since the objects are modulated by the value of the metric they represent, only numerical metrics may be visualized.  Objects representing a single metric may be modulated in terms of height, color, or height and color.  Objects in a stack may only be height modulated, but the stack can be normalized to the maximum height.  Labels may be added to the scene to help identify groups of metrics.

A configuration file (as specified by the -c option, or read from standard input) is used to specify the position, color, maximum value and labels of metrics and metric instances in the scene.  The maximum value acts as a normalization factor and is used to scale the object height and/or color in proportion to the metric values.  Metric values which exceed the associated maximum value are displayed as solid white objects.  If a metric is unavailable, the object will have minimum height and will be colored grey.

Normally, the tool operates in “live” mode where performance metrics are fetched in real-time.  The user can view metrics from any host running pmcd(1). pmview can also replay archives of performance metrics (see pmlogger(1)) and allow the user to interactively control the current replay time and rate using the VCR paradigm.  This is particularly useful for retrospective comparisons and for post-mortem analysis of performance problems where a remote system is not accessible or a performance analyst is not available on-site.

All metrics in the Performance Metrics Name Space (PMNS) with numeric value semantics from any number of hosts or archives may be visualized. pmview examines the semantics of the metrics and where sensible, converts metric  values to a rate before scaling.

Command Line Options

The -S, -T, -O and -A options may be used to define a time window to restrict the samples retrieved, set an initial origin within the time window, or specify a “natural” alignment of the sample times; refer to PCPIntro(1) for a complete description of these options.

The other available options are:

-a archive[,archive,...]]

Specify an archive from which metrics can be obtained for a particular host.   archive is the basename of an archive, or the name of a directory conytaining archives, previously created by pmlogger(1). Multiple sets of archives (separated by commas or in different -a options) from different hosts may be given, but an error will occur if there is more than one set of archives from the same host. Any metrics that are not associated with a specific host or archive in the configuration file will use the first set of archives as their source.


Parse the configuration file and exit before displaying the pmview window.  Any errors in the configuration file are displayed.

-c configfile

Load the configuration from configfile rather than standard input.

-h host

Fetch performance metrics from pmcd(1) on host, rather than the default localhost.  Implies that pmview will run in live mode, so no archives can be specified on the command line or  in the configuration file.  Only one -h option may be given.

-n pmnsfile

Normally pmview operates on the distributed Performance Metrics Name Space (PMNS), however if the -n option is specified an alternative local PMNS is loaded from the file pmnsfile.

-p port

Connect to the time controls (see pmtime(1)) on this port. Used when a tool launches another tool so that they can connect to the same time controls.

-R logconfig

Use logconfig as the pmlogger(1) config when recording.

-r addconfig

Append addconfig onto the pmlogger(1) config generated by pmview when recording.

-t interval

The update interval used to fetch metrics from the live or archive sources. The interval argument follows the syntax described in PCPIntro(1), and in the simplest form may be an unsigned integer (the implied units in this case are seconds). The default is 2.0 seconds.

-x version

Use the specified version of the pmlaunch(5) specification.  The versions currently supported are “1.0” and the default version “2.0”.

-Z timezone

By default, pmview reports the time of day according to the local timezone on the system where pmview is run.  The -Z option changes the default timezone to timezone which should be in the format of the environment variable TZ as described in environ(7).


Change the reporting timezone to the local timezone at the host that is the source of the performance metrics, as identified via either the -h option, or the first -a option.

-geometry geometry
-display display
-name name
-title title
-xrm "resourceName: value"
Most standard X(1) command line arguments may be used.


The pmview window is comprised of a menu bar, time and scale controls, metric and time values, and an “examiner” viewer (see ivview(1)), which displays the 3D scene.

Examiner Viewer

The left, right and bottom edges of the examiner viewer contain a variety of thumb wheels and buttons that can be used to adjust the visualization of the 3D scene.  The Rotx and Roty thumb wheels allow the user to rotate the scene about the x and y axes,  respectively.  The dolly thumb wheel moves the virtual camera closer and further from the scene allowing the user to examine specific parts in detail or view the entire scene.  On the  right edge of the viewer are eight buttons which affect the way the user can  interact with the scene.


Changes the cursor to a pointer which allows blocks to be selected in the scene.  See the Metric Selection section below.


Changes the cursor to a hand which allows the scene to be rotated, translated and dollied using a combination of mouse buttons.  The left mouse button can be used to rotate the scene in the direction of the mouse.  Releasing the left mouse button before the mouse has stopped moving will cause the scene to continue to rotate, which can be stopped by pressing the left mouse button again.  The middle mouse button will “pan” the scene, and both mouse buttons act as a dolly for the virtual camera.

Question Mark

Displays the SGI Help information for the examiner viewer.


Changes the scene back to its original position, unless the home position has been changed by the home pointer button.

Home Pointer

Changes the home position of the scene to be the scene currently in view.


Resizes the scene so that it completely fits into the 3D viewing area.


Moves the object under the cursor to the center of the viewing area, if the hand cursor has been selected.  Pressing the “s” key while the cursor is over an object has the same effect.

Perspective Box

Switches the display between perspective and orthogonal projections.

Pressing the right mouse button within the scene window will bring up a menu  of options which affect how the 3D scene is drawn.  The options include drawing the blocks as wire frames, and turning on stereo viewing.

Metric Selection

When the pointer cursor is active, more information about the 3D scene can  be obtained.  Text describing the metric represented by the block under the  cursor will be displayed in the top text box of the pmview window.  The text contains the source and name of the metric, current value and units, and the percentage of the expected maximum (or normalization) value. The text box is updated whenever the scene is updated with the latest metric values or when the cursor is moved over another block in the scene.  Moving the cursor over a base plane block, text or the surrounding space will clear the text box.

Clicking the left mouse button on a block will bind the text box on that metric instance so that the metric can be monitored while performing other actions with the mouse.  The block will be highlighted with a red wire frame. Clicking the left mouse button on text or the space surrounding the scene will unselect the object, causing the text box to revert to the original behavior of showing the metric underneath the cursor.

Selecting a base plane instead of a modulated block will cause all the blocks on that base plane to be selected.  When more than one object is selected, the text box behaves as if nothing is selected, so the metric displayed is the metric currently under the cursor.  Multiple selections are also possible by pressing the SHIFT key while selecting an object with the left mouse button.

Time Controls

In addition to the menu options for time controls, the current direction of the time controls (see pmtime(1)) is shown in a button in the top-left corner of the pmview window.  Pressing this button will display the time control and is identical  in behavior to Options/Show Time Control.

Scale Controls

Above the examiner window is a thumb wheel and an editable text box which  allow the user to apply a multiplier to all values represented in the scene.   Spinning the wheel to the right and/or increasing the text value for the scale will increase the height of the bars.  Spinning the wheel to the left and/or lowering the text value will decrease the height of the bars.  The button to  the right of the thumb wheel will reset the scale so that the bars appear at the original height for their current value.

Time Information

Beside the scale controls is another text box which displays the time of the fetched metrics.  The time will change with the time controller (see pmtime(1)).


The default face of the 3D font in the pmview window can be altered via PMVIEW_FONT environment variable which can be set to the base name of a Type1 font  file in the default Inventor fonts directory.



default PMNS specification files


menu specification file - provides a mapping between menu item and launched program


individual users menu specification


application resources


icon for pmview


shell procedures for parsing pmview command line options in front end scripts


directory where Inventor normally looks for the outlines of Type1 fonts.

PCP Environment

Environment variables with the prefix PCP_ are used to parameterize the file and directory names used by PCP. On each installation, the file /etc/pcp.conf contains the local values for these variables. The $PCP_CONF variable may be used to specify an alternative configuration file, as described in pcp.conf(5).

See Also

dkvis(1), insight(1), inventor(1), ivview(1), mpvis(1), nfsvis(1), osvis(1), oview(1), pcp(1), PCPIntro(1), pmafm(1), pmcd(1), pmchart(1), pmdumptext(1), pmlogger(1), pmtime(1), pmview(1), X(1), xconfirm(1), xlv_vis(1), pcp.conf(5), pmview(5), environ(7) and pmlaunch(5).

Relevant information is also available from the on-line PCP Tutorial.  Provided the subsystem from the PCP images has been installed, access the URL file:$PCP_DOC_DIR/Tutorial/pmview.html from your web browser.


Are intended to be self-explanatory.  The environment variable PCP_STDERR can be set to force most startup warnings and errors to be sent to the standard error stream rather than posted in a dialog.

Referenced By

mkaf(1), pmafm(1), pmdaweblog(1), pmview(5).

Performance Co-Pilot