time - measure how long a command or block takes




time causes fish to measure how long a command takes and print the results afterwards. The command can be a simple fish command or a block. The results can not currently be redirected.

For checking timing after a command has completed, check $CMD_DURATION.

Your system most likely also has a time command. To use that use something like command time, as in command time sleep 10. Because it’s not inside fish, it won’t have access to fish functions and won’t be able to time blocks and such.

How to interpret the output

Time outputs a few different values. Let’s look at an example:

> time string repeat -n 10000000 y\n | command grep y >/dev/null
Executed in  805.98 millis    fish           external
   usr time  798.88 millis  763.88 millis   34.99 millis
   sys time  141.22 millis   40.20 millis  101.02 millis

The time after “Executed in” is what is known as the “wall-clock time”. It is simply a measure of how long it took from the start of the command until it finished. Typically it is reasonably close to CMD_DURATION, except for a slight skew because the two are taken at slightly different times.

The other times are all measures of CPU time. That means they measure how long the CPU was used in this part, and they count multiple cores separately. So a program with four threads using all CPU for a second will have a time of 4 seconds.

The “usr” time is how much CPU time was spent inside the program itself, the “sys” time is how long was spent in the kernel on behalf of that program.

The “fish” time is how much CPU was spent in fish, the “external” time how much was spent in external commands.

So in this example, since string is a builtin, everything that string repeat did is accounted to fish. Any time it spends doing syscalls like write() is accounted for in the fish/sys time.

And grep here is explicitly invoked as an external command, so its times will be counted in the “external” column.

Note that, as in this example, the CPU times can add up to more than the execution time. This is because things can be done in parallel - grep can match while string repeat writes.


(for obvious reasons exact results will vary on your system)

>_ time sleep 1s

Executed in    1,01 secs   fish           external
   usr time    2,32 millis    0,00 micros    2,32 millis
   sys time    0,88 millis  877,00 micros    0,00 millis

>_ time for i in 1 2 3; sleep 1s; end

Executed in    3,01 secs   fish           external
   usr time    9,16 millis    2,94 millis    6,23 millis
   sys time    0,23 millis    0,00 millis    0,23 millis

Inline variable assignments need to follow the time keyword:

>_ time a_moment=1.5m sleep $a_moment

Executed in   90.00 secs      fish           external
   usr time    4.62 millis    4.62 millis    0.00 millis
   sys time    2.35 millis    0.41 millis    1.95 millis