The system accounting utilities are a set of tools
that collect data on system usage
(by CPU usage, users, and processes)
and organize this data into summary files and reports.
By using these tools to
keep track of connect sessions and disk usage, you can
charge for usage
troubleshoot performance problems
tune the performance of applications
manage installation security
Once the accounting system has been set up as
``Setting Up Accounting'',
it runs, for the most part, automatically.
Between system startup and shutdown, it collects (in accounting files)
raw data about system use, such as records of the logins used,
processes run, and data stored.
Once a day, cron invokes the runacct
program, which does three tasks: (1) it
processes the various accounting files;
(2) it produces both cumulative summary files
and daily accounting reports; and (3) it prints the
daily reports (via the prdaily program).