Python clone of Unix watch command with paging support à la the less command.
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Latest release: version 0.2.0 - 12 July 2013

watchless is a Python clone of the standard Unix watch command with the addition of paging support along the lines of another standard Unix command, less.


  • Python 2.4 or greater with the curses module available (should be present on Unix-based systems; Windows has no support by default, although some Cygwin builds may have it and there are third-party libraries claim to implement it -- your mileage may vary).


./ [options] <command>


  • -v, --version - show program's version number and exit
  • -h, --help - show a help message and exit
  • -n <seconds>, --interval=<seconds> - time to wait between updates [default: 2.0s]
  • -p, --precise - rather than waiting interval seconds between one run finishing and the next starting, try to time it so there are interval seconds between each run starting. If the command takes longer than interval seconds to run, then it will be run as often as possible.
  • -d, --differences - highlight the differences in the output of sequential runs of the command. If you want to highlight all the positions that have ever changed (i.e., a 'sticky' highlight), use --differences=cumulative. Note you cannot use -d cumulative as this leads to an ambiguity (is cumulative an argument or the command to execute?) since the argument is optional.
  • -c, --color - interpret ANSI foreground colour sequences in the output.
  • -b, --beep - beep if the command exits with a non-zero return code.
  • -e, --errexit - exit if the command exits with a non-zero return code.
  • -t, --no-title - do not show the header with the command and last execution time.
  • -r, --no-return-code - do not show the last return code in the header at the top of the screen.

Bug reports

File any bug reports or feature requests in the project's GitHub issue tracker at


watchless is copyright (c) 2012, 2013 Blair Bonnett


watchless is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

watchless is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with watchless. If not, see