Argus: The Linux Commander

Published November 27, 2020, 9:49 AM

by Professor Rom Feria

If you are like me who uses a Mac to manage Linux servers, then you may find this little menu bar tool a little nifty. Argus, currently on version 1.3, is a free download from Argus already supports Big Sur and the new Apple Silicon M1 SoC.

Installing Argus is just like any other MacOS application — drag and drop. Since this is a monitoring tool for remote Linux servers, you will need to add basic server information so Argus can set it up and gather the data from it. Argus creates an SSH tunnel to the server, so it requires SSH credentials (of course this means that the remote server has SSH properly configured). You can use your username-password pair, but I’d advise that you set up your certificates first to make it more secure (and easier).

Once you have provided the server information and SSH credentials, Argus will connect to it and start downloading the Argus daemon. Installing the daemon will require root privileges, so make sure that you have sudo access, as your password will be asked during the install. 

Configure all the other remote servers that you wish to monitor through the Preferences pane. 

Once you have added all the servers, then you are good to go. Just hit the icon on your menu bar and viola! You get the basic telemetry from your remote servers.

You have the CPU load, memory, the root partition utilization and the network traffic. Some basic information that you need for basic monitoring.

When I first ran Argus, it reflected the WiFi interface on the Raspberry Pi, ApplePi, which I configured as a back-up to the wired eth0 connection. However, after rebooting the Mac (the next day), Argus is now reporting from eth0. 

Argus is a new application and rapidly evolving. I hope that there is more leeway to configure the data that it can collect from the server and expose to the app — for example, selecting which network interface to monitor and which partitions to monitor, as starters. It may also be a good idea to configure how often it samples the servers for data. I have not pushed it through its limits, like perhaps monitoring several dozens of servers to see how the menu bar interface will look like — perhaps adding tabs to group servers together may be nice. Anyway, Argus is lightweight, fast and free, so why don’t you download it and try it out?