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GNU::Time - Provides an easy interface for the GNU time command on Linux and OSX hosts (usually installed as '/bin/time' or '/usr/bin/time') to time user commands.

NOTE: This module replaces the time-related routines in module Proc::More (which is now deprecated).

Of course one can use the Raku now routine before and after a command to achieve calculating the total wall clock time, but sometimes one may be interested in the actual process time without including the times of other processes on the host computer.


use GNU::Time;
# get the proces times (in seconds) for a system command:
say time-command "locate lib"; # OUTPUT: «real 0.23␤user 0.22␤sys 0.01␤»


Raku module GNU::Time provides the time-command subroutine for easy access to the GNU time command on Linux and OSX hosts. The default is to return the same output format as running the following command at the host's command line interface:

$ /bin/time -p locate lib 1>/tmp/stdout
real 0.23
user 0.22
sys 0.01

Note the TIME environment variable format, if defined, is ignored.


First, ensure the GNU time command is installed on your host. If required, you may install it from source.

Getting the time command

On Debian and other Linux hosts the time command may not be installed by default, but it is available in package time. It can also be built from source available at the Free Software Foundation's git site. Clone the source repository:

    $ git clone https://git.savannah.gnu.org/git/time.git

The build and install instructions are in the repository along with the source code. Details of the GNU time command may be seen by executing man 1 time at the command line.

Unfortunately, there is no equivalent command available for Windows unless you install Cygwin or an equivalent system. (The author has seen Windows command scripts posted on Stack Overflow but has not tried any himself.)

sub time-command

Purpose : Collect the process times for a system or user command (using the GNU time command). Runs the input command using the Raku run routine and returns the process times shown below (all times are in seconds):


sub time-command(Str:D $cmd,
                 :$typ where { !$typ.defined || $typ ~~ &typ },
                 :$fmt where { !$fmt.defined || $fmt ~~ &fmt },
                 :$rtn where { !$rtn.defined || $rtn ~~ &rtn },
                ) is export {...}


The typ, fmt, and rtn tokens:

Note the user should either use the single-character form of the token or at least two characters of the multi-character form to ensure proper disambiguation of the desired token. For example, the character 'u' alone is taken to be the 'user' type while 'u+' is the "sum" type. In all cases, the canonical name of each token is the single-character shown for each token.

my token typ { ^ :i
    # the desired time(s) to return:
              # [default: all are returned]
    r|real|   # show real (wall clock) time only
    u|user|   # show the user time only
    s|sys|    # show the system time only
    '+'|'u+s' # show sum of user and system time
$ }

my token fmt { ^ :i
    # the desired format for the time(s)
                # [default: raw seconds]
    s|seconds|  # time in seconds with an appended
                #   's': "30.42s"
    h|hms|      # time in hms format: "0h00m30.42s"
    ':'|'h:m:s' # time in h:m:s format: "0:00:30.42"
$ }

my token rtn { ^ :i
    # the desired type of return:
    # [default: string]
$ }

Returns one of:

All returned time values are in the default or the selected format.

GNU_Time_Format environment variable

The user may set the desired default type, format, and return type by setting the GNU_Time_Format environment variable as in the following example

export GNU_Time_Format='typ(u)' # returns the user time in seconds

where 'typ()', 'fmt()', and 'rtn()' are "tokens" with values within their trailing parentheses. The values within parentheses are expected to be the appropriate ones for the signature tokens. Multiple tokens may be separated by semicolons, whitespace, or commas. Whitespace is ignored. Missing values and tokens are ignored as are malformed or unrecognized tokens or values.


Tom Browder tbrowder@cpan.org


Copyright © 2021 Tom Browder

This library is free software; you may redistribute or modify it under the Artistic License 2.0.