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GL-Z – A tool to monitor Vulkan and OpenGL on Linux, Windows and macOS


With the growing number of games in the Linux world, especially after more frequent implementations of Vulkan, there has been a demand for tests, benchmarks and forms of analysis to measure performance on platforms. Today you will discover a very useful tool for monitoring your CPU and GPU on multiple platforms.

There are many monitoring tools for Linux, however, it is less common to find one that groups several functionalities into “one thing” and on top of that it works in exactly the same way in other operating systems to facilitate comparison. That is why the GL-Z is so interesting.

When talking about Vulkan, the API itself includes some options for viewing the FPS rate, among other things, in this respect, even Steam itself has an FPS counter, but the number of frames on the screen is just one of the factors that you may want to monitor, even though for OpenGL there is the GLXOSD project, GL-Z becomes more interesting because, in addition to monitoring OpenGL, it can also monitor the Vulkan on all platforms.

GL-Z Capabilities

GL-Z Linux settings

The GL-Z is a little weird. The main way of working with the application consists of a window that allows the creation of several other smaller windows, each responsible for monitoring something different, such as the CPU or GPU. It works in exactly the same way on any system, however, there are variations, you can run smaller windows to monitor specific things, for example:

Monitoring OpenGL with GL-Z

GL-Z features include:

  • Multiplatform support, being Windows and Linux 64-bit, macOS and Raspberry Pi;
  • OpenGL information, with data in general, extensions, usage and memory;
  • Information about Vulkan, such as data in general and extensions (as in OpenGL) for each connected Vulkan device;
  • CPU monitoring, showing usage on Linux and Windows;
  • GPU monitoring, displaying usage, temperature on Linux and Windows, with the possibility of exporting the data to a plain text file;
  • CPU and GPU data can be captured and exported to a cvs file for easy analysis.

GL-Z is also open source and has configuration files very simple to understand and modify, for example, changing the image that appears at the bottom of the window, adding any of your desire consists of just modifying a file inside a folder called «date».

The application also has a minimal impact on your hardware, making it ideal for monitoring, consuming only 16 MB of RAM and practically not being present for the use of the processor and the video card.

Downloading and using GL-Z

Download to any platform can be done on the official website, the version of Linux comes compressed in tar.gz format, just extract, as you would with any file of the type.

Inside the folder where the files were extracted you will find the following files:

Linux Executables

GL-Z works as a portable application, not needing to be installed, which is very cool.

The circled item is the executable binary, just double-click it to open the main application, if you have any problems running it that way, check the file properties if it has the execution option checked.

There are some “.sh” files (Shell Scripts) that can also be run with two clicks, these are marked with arrows in the image above, just check if your file manager is configured to open this type of file, with it you can open variations of GL-Z, like the one in the image above where we show the software monitoring only OpenGL.


– You can use the GL-Z running while you play and activate the log capture via the “tools” menu;

– If you want to see a monitor while playing, just click with the right button on the edge of the window and ask for it to be «always on top»;

– All the data capture logs you make will be inside the program folder with the name “log” somewhere in the file.

If you want to display the FPS overlapping the game, similar to what FRAPS does on Windows, use a simple parameter when starting the game, as we show in this article.

To the next!