I know what it does, but what does the name mean? Is it a acronym? In one sentence, how would you explain vcgencmd to someone new to Linux?

  • 2
    Note that vcgencmd isn't a linux artifact. It is specific to the Pi (and perhaps other devices with Broadcom VideoCore processors).
    – goldilocks
    Jun 25, 2018 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


vc stands for VideoCore. gen might stand for general. cmd for command.

As guessed from this comment

/* Initialise general command service. Returns it's interface number.     
This initialises the host side of the interface, it does not send 
anything to VideoCore. */

found in vcgencmd.h as seen here and the fact that this tool is used to issue a broad range of general commands to the VideoCore.


A more friendly link vcgencmd

The following are commands I find useful

vcgencmd get_config int
vcgencmd get_config str

for src in arm core h264 isp v3d uart pwm emmc pixel vec hdmi dpi ; do \
    echo -e "$src:\t$(vcgencmd measure_clock $src)" ; \

for id in core sdram_c sdram_i sdram_p ; do \
    echo -e "$id:\t$(vcgencmd measure_volts $id)" ; \

vcgencmd get_mem arm && vcgencmd get_mem gpu

vcgencmd display_power

vcgencmd get_throttled

See https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=147781&start=50#p972790 for interpretation of get_throttled

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