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Timing Linux Bash Commands

Adam Kammeyer
Mar 26, 2017

While updating some Vagrant config files, I was curious how long it was taking for a box to build from scratch. I tried dumping out timestamps directly in the Vagrantfile, but ultimately decided to look for a Bash-specific method that would be more universal and let me time some other Linux commands. Here's what I came up with.

Open your .bashrc in your favorite text editor.

$ vim ~/.bashrc

Add this function to the end of the file

function how-long-is()
{
    SECONDS=0
    "$@"
    duration=$SECONDS
    echo "$(($duration / 60)) minutes and $(($duration % 60)) seconds elapsed."
}

Save the file and return to the command line. Reload your .bashrc file.

$ source ~/.bashrc

Now you can test out the new function.

$ how-long-is sleep 2

You should see output similar to:

$ how-long-is sleep 2
0 minutes and 2 seconds elapsed.

Enjoy timing your Bash commands! :)