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Narcissus - Realtime visualizations of web server hits

Narcissus wastes a bunch of time.

Narcissus wastes a bunch of time.

What is this?

This is narcissus. It is a web application that visualizes web server hits as they happen in real time.


The Story

narcissus was written on April 15th, 2011 at the hackfest hosted by the FOSSBox at Rochester Institute of Technology.

We knew that was cool, fast, and was the site with the heaviest traffic on RIT's entire network, but looking at a mirror frontpage or silently updating your Linux distribution in the background is not very flashy--not something to phone home about. We wanted to make something cool. Something that would show the 'big picture' of the Open Source world. We feel we did that with narcissus.

The RIT FOSSbox is the launch pad for all things Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) at RIT. It is parented both by the Center for Student Innovation (physically) and the Lab for Technological Literacy's FOSS@RIT Initiative (virtually). They have great staff, mentors, and students who all work on amazing stuff. If you read their history you can learn all sorts of neat things about their work on the One Laptop Per Child project.

The narcissus authors got together and got the proof-of-concept (and some bling-bling) working in a single afternoon but really it was the space, time, and environment provided by the FOSSbox that made it possible.

This project could not have happened without the hard work of Remy DeCausemaker, the "FOSSBoss" and backbone of the FOSSbox. He and his students have made countless contributions at cost to self that push the limits in the art of software development and code culture on campus, and should be recognized therefore. Together with Luke Macken, RJ Bean, the power of Moksha, and the support of the Grey Beards, RIT has become a real center of gravity for the FOSS Movement.

Live Demo

You can see narcissus running live at

The Research Computing department at the Rochester Institute of Technology runs that narcissus instance. It is pointed at their very active FOSS mirror. (That site is the highest-traffic site at RIT!)


Get the source from


On your machine that will host narcissus, say,, create ~/.moksha/ctl.conf with the following content:

narcissus_source_location = /home/threebean/narc/narcissus
moksha_source_location = /home/threebean/narc/moksha

Then run the following commands:

$ mkdir narc && cd narc
$ git clone git://
$ git clone git://

$ pushd moksha && git checkout dev && popd

$ pushd narcissus
$ ./ bootstrap
$ ./ rebuild
$ ./ start
$ ./ wtf
$ ./ logs

Finally, on the machine that is being monitored, say,, run the following to setup the narcissus sending script:

$ sudo su -
$ yum install inotail python-qpid

$ mkdir narc && cd narc
$ git clone git://

And to run it and send stuff to your monitoring host:

$ inotail -f /var/log/lighttpd/access.log | \

inotail is faster than tail, btw.


  • Watch out for iptables on ports 9000, 5672, 8080, and 8000.


Try us in #moksha on


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