Posted inFOSS / LINUX

Visualize Linux or macOS Processes and Package Dependencies and Save The Output as Custom Abstract Wallpapers


Today we’re taking a look at three visualization tools for Linux and macOS. All three are basically aimed at Arch Linux ( and derivates ) but some of them can be installed on other distros.

Even if you don’t need such a tool on your system, you still might find them useful as, at least, two of them can create a pretty nice abstract wallpaper for your devices.

1. Pacwall – least useful but creates a cool wallpaper (Arch Linux )


Pacwall is a shell script that changes your wallpaper to the dependency graph of installed packages. Each package is a node and each edge indicates a dependency between two packages.

And that’s pretty much it. Functionality-wise it offers no real value other than creating some pretty nice looking abstract wallpapers.

1. Install with yay -S pacwall-git


2. Once installed, just run pacwall. This will generate a dependency graph of your installed packages similar to the one seen above.


A mess, but a cool abstract wallpaper. To learn how to customize the output image, DE and pywal integration, as well as how to make pacwall to regenerate a new wallpaper every time a package is removed, added or updated, check out the official project page on Github.




2. PSCircle – useful, creates cool wallpaper ( Linux, macOS )


Pscircle is actually useful when compared to pacwall. It will allow you to visualize Linux and macOS processes in form of a radal tree. It is customizable and it will generate a pretty nice looking wallpaper.

If you’re on an Arch or Arch-based distro, there’s a package available on AUR. If you’re running other distros or macOS, make sure to check out the page linked below to learn how to install it.

1. Install with yay -S pscircle-git (or yay -S pscircle)


2. Once installed run it with pscircle --output=path-of-wallpaper. ( in this example I’ll use pscircle –output=pscircle.png so pscircle will create pscircle.png in ~ )

3. And this is the result.


By default, the resolution of the image created by pscircle is 3200×1800. To set a different screen resolution, as well as learn how to configure the look of the graph and how to install it on other Linux distros and macOS, check out the official project page on Gitlab.



3. PacVis – most useful ( Arch Linux )

Pacvis is the most useful out of the three. It will not create a wallpaper for you ( however, I suppose, you can zoom in and take a screenshot that you can use as a wallpaper ) but it will give you a diagram made up of small circles and arrows in between circles.

A circle represent a package, while an arrow represents a dependency relationship. If you zoom in, you can see the name of the package below the circle.

Hovering your mouse cursor on a package will display more info about that package. If youselect a package, the side panel will open up giving you a more detailed look of that package.

Packages are also color coded. Purple means tha the package was manually installed while orange means the package was installed as a dependency of other packages.

1. Install with yay -S pacvis

2. Once installed, run pacvis --browser.

3. By default, you will probably see something like this in your browser.

4. This does not make any sense. But if you zoom in…

For a live demo, check out this page. To learn more about PacVis, check out this page.