Determining hardware components and software parameters

At a Glance

© Lead Image © Tatiana Venkova, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Tatiana Venkova, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 164/2014
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The inxi command-line tool provides useful information from the depths of the system.

Almost every major distribution provides a tool with a graphical user interface that gives you an overview of the hardware. The inxi tool lets you retrieve even more detailed information at the command line.

If you are looking to discover meaningful details about hardware components and software parameters, the inxi tool is definitely worth exploring. You'll find inxi in the repositories of almost all major distributions, which means you can install it on your system with a few easy mouse clicks.

If your choice of distribution does not include inxi in its package archives, you will find detailed installation instructions on the web [1]. After installing, you can launch the tool by typing inxi at the command line. Because inxi operates in user space, you do not need root privileges.

At Your Command

Inxi provides a great deal of information about the system, and it offers many options. The parameters help you select groups of components and filter the information so that it remains clear. The inxi -h command gives you an overview of all the parameters (Figure 1). Note that to browse the long list of parameters a page at a time, you can use the command sequence inxi -h | less in the terminal window.

Figure 1: To use inxi correctly, first take a look at the list of control parameters.

The syntax follows a simple pattern: Uppercase letters typically indicate the most important information about a component, and lowercase letters list details. Because you can combine the parameters arbitrarily, you can extract exactly the information you need.

Some parameters provide additional benchmark results, which allows a direct comparison of speeds between individual components. Finally, inxi provides some parameters specifically for developers, which are primarily used for logging results and configurations.

Colorful

Inxi always outputs its results in two colors. On modern flat screens with LED backlighting in particular, the dark shades can be quite pale, which affects the readability of certain color combinations. To resolve this, the program offers the -c parameter, followed by a numeric combination to let you change the display color scheme.

However, the help function does not tell you which combinations hide behind the individual schemes; the only way is to try them all and find the best possible setup. The numbers must be between 0 and 32. Alternatively, you can look at the A_COLOR_SCHEMES variable in the source code [2].

Verbose

The situation is similar with the accuracy of the information provided by inxi. Besides the option of including certain components in the list, you have the option of defining the level of detail. This is done with the -v switch followed by a number between 0 and 7. You can enter several numbers in succession, together with the -v parameter to request information on as many components as possible.

In this way, you will also receive information about benchmarks, drivers, ID numbers for different chipsets, serial numbers for various components, data on the geometry of the storage devices, and information about optical drives or RAID arrays (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Inxi gives a wealth of information that you can restrict, if needed, using options to display the desired data.

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