Section 10.9. Processes


10.9. Processes

At the heart of Unix lies the concept of a process. Understanding this concept will help you keep control of your login session as a user. If you are also a system administrator, the concept is even more important.

A process is an independently running program that has its own set of resources. For instance, we showed in an earlier section how you could direct the output of a program to a file while your shell continued to direct output to your screen. The reason that the shell and the other program can send output to different places is that they are separate processes .

On Unix, the finite resources of the system, such as the memory and the disks, are managed by one all-powerful program called the kernel. Everything else on the system is a process.

Thus, before you log in, your terminal is monitored by a getty process. After you log in, the getty process dies (a new one is started by the kernel when you log out) and your terminal is managed by your shell, which is a different process. The shell then creates a new process each time you enter a command. The creation of a new process is called forking because one process splits into two.

If you are using the X Window System , each process starts up one or more windows. Thus, the window in which you are typing commands is owned by an xterm process or a reloaded terminal program. That process forks a shell to run within the window. And that shell forks yet more processes as you enter commands.

To see the processes you are running, enter the command ps. Figure 10-2 shows some typical output and what each field means. You may be surprised how many processes you are running, especially if you are using X. One of the processes is the ps command itself, which of course dies as soon as the output is displayed.

Figure 10-2. Output of ps command


The first field in the ps output is a unique identifier for the process. If you have a runaway process that you can't get rid of through Ctrl-C or other means, you can kill it by going to a different virtual console or X window and entering:

     $ kill  process-id 

The TTY field shows which terminal the process is running on, if any. (Everything run from a shell uses a terminal, of course, but background daemons don't have a terminal.)

The STAT field shows what state the process is in. The shell is currently suspended, so this field shows an S. An Emacs editing session is running, but it's suspended using Ctrl-Z. This is shown by the T in its STAT field. The last process shown is the ps that is generating all this input; its state, of course, is R because it is running.

The TIME field shows how much CPU time the processes have used. Because both bash and Emacs are interactive, they actually don't use much of the CPU.

You aren't restricted to seeing your own processes. Look for a minute at all the processes on the system. The a option stands for all processes, while the x option includes processes that have no controlling terminal (such as daemons started at runtime):

     $ ps ax | more

Now you can see the daemons that we mentioned in the previous section.

Recent versions of the ps command have a nice additional option. If you are looking for a certain process whose name (or at least parts of it) you know, you can use the option -C, followed by the name to see only the processes whose names match the name you specify:

     $ ps -C httpd

And here, with a breathtaking view of the entire Linux system at work, we end our discussion of processes (the lines are cut off at column 76; if you want to see the command lines in their full glory, add the option -w to the ps command):

     kalle@owl:~ > ps aux     USER       PID %CPU %MEM   VSZ  RSS TTY      STAT START   TIME COMMAND     root         1  0.0  0.0   588  240 ?        S    14:49   0:05 init [3]     root         2  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [migration/0]     root         3  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        SN   14:49   0:00 [ksoftirqd/0]     root         4  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [migration/1]     root         5  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        SN   14:49   0:00 [ksoftirqd/1]     root         6  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [events/0]     root         7  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [events/1]     root         8  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [kacpid]     root         9  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [kblockd/0]     root        10  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [kblockd/1]     root        11  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [kirqd]     root        14  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [khelper]     root        15  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [pdflush]     root        16  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [pdflush]     root        17  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [kswapd0]     root        18  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [aio/0]     root        19  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   14:49   0:00 [aio/1]     root       689  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [kseriod]     root       966  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [scsi_eh_0]     root      1138  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [kjournald]     root      1584  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [kjournald]     root      1585  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [kjournald]     root      1586  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [kjournald]     root      2466  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [khubd]     root      2958  0.0  0.0  1412  436 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [hwscand]     root      3759  0.0  0.0  1436  612 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /sbin/syslogd -a     root      3798  0.0  0.1  2352 1516 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /sbin/klogd -c 1     bin       3858  0.0  0.0  1420  492 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /sbin/portmap     root      3868  0.0  0.0  1588  652 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /sbin/resmgrd     root      3892  0.0  0.0  1396  544 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 hcid: processing     root      3898  0.0  0.0  1420  528 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /usr/sbin/sdpd     root      4356  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [usb-storage]     root      4357  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    14:49   0:00 [scsi_eh_1]     root      4368  0.0  0.1  4708 1804 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /usr/sbin/sshd -o     root      4715  0.0  0.1  2600 1240 ?        S    14:49   0:00 /usr/sbin/powersa     lp        4905  0.0  0.3  6416 3392 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /usr/sbin/cupsd     root      5103  0.0  0.1  4176 1432 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /usr/lib/postfix/     postfix   5193  0.0  0.1  4252 1512 ?        S    14:49   0:00 qmgr -l -t fifo -     root      5219  0.0  0.0  1584  704 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /usr/sbin/cron     root      5222  0.0  0.0 42624  784 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 /usr/sbin/nscd     root      5537  0.0  0.1  2264 1216 ?        Ss   14:49   0:00 login -- kalle     root      5538  0.0  0.0  1608  608 tty2     Ss+  14:49   0:00 /sbin/mingetty tt     root      5539  0.0  0.0  1608  608 tty3     Ss+  14:49   0:00 /sbin/mingetty tt     root      5540  0.0  0.0  1608  608 tty4     Ss+  14:49   0:00 /sbin/mingetty tt     root      5541  0.0  0.0  1608  608 tty5     Ss+  14:49   0:00 /sbin/mingetty tt     root      5542  0.0  0.0  1608  608 tty6     Ss+  14:49   0:00 /sbin/mingetty tt     kalle     5556  0.0  0.1  4180 1996 tty1     Ss   14:50   0:00 -zsh     kalle     5572  0.0  0.0  3012  816 ?        Ss   14:50   0:00 gpg-agent --daemo     kalle     5574  0.0  0.1  4296 1332 ?        Ss   14:50   0:00 ssh-agent     kalle     5579  0.0  0.1  3708 1248 tty1     S+   14:50   0:00 /bin/sh /usr/X11R     kalle     5580  0.0  0.0  2504  564 tty1     S+   14:50   0:00 tee /home/kalle/.     kalle     5592  0.0  0.0  2384  652 tty1     S+   14:50   0:00 xinit /home/kalle     root      5593  3.4  4.5 106948 46744 ?      S    14:50   7:12 X :0 -auth /home/     kalle     5619  0.0  0.1  3704 1288 tty1     S    14:50   0:00 /bin/sh /usr/X11R     kalle     5658  0.0  1.0 24252 10412 ?       Ss   14:50   0:00 kdeinit Running..     kalle     5661  0.0  0.8 22876 8976 ?        S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: dcopserv     kalle     5663  0.0  1.0 25340 10916 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: klaunche     akalle     5666  0.0  1.7 31316 18540 ?       S    14:50   0:05 kdeinit: kded     kalle     5673  0.0  1.3 26480 14292 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: kxkb     kalle     5677  0.0  0.5  9820 5736 ?        S    14:50   0:00 /opt/kde3/bin/art     kalle     5679  0.0  0.0  1372  336 tty1     S    14:50   0:00 kwrapper ksmserve     kalle     5681  0.0  1.1 24800 12116 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: ksmserve     kalle     5683  0.0  1.4 27464 15512 ?       S    14:50   0:09 kdeinit: kwin -se     kalle     5686  0.0  1.8 30160 18920 ?       S    14:50   0:05 kdeinit: kdesktop     kalle     5688  0.1  1.8 31748 19460 ?       S    14:50   0:19 kdeinit: kicker     kalle     5689  0.0  1.0 25856 11360 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: kio_file     kalle     5692  0.0  1.3 26324 14304 ?       S    14:50   0:02 kdeinit: klipper     kalle     5693  0.0  0.7 21144 7908 ?        S    14:50   0:00 kpowersave     kalle     5698  0.0  1.3 25840 13804 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kamix     kalle     5701  0.0  1.2 24764 12668 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kpowersave     kalle     5705  0.0  1.4 29260 15260 ?       S    14:50   0:01 suseplugger -capt     kalle     5706  0.0  1.2 24720 13376 ?       S    14:50   0:00 susewatcher -capt     kalle     5707  0.0  1.6 28476 16564 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kgpg     kalle     5713  0.0  1.2 25088 12468 ?       S    14:50   0:02 kdeinit: khotkeys     kalle     5715  0.0  1.9 30296 19920 ?       S    14:50   0:08 oooqs -caption Op     kalle     5717  0.0  1.5 28452 15716 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: kio_uise     kalle     5740  0.0  1.0 26040 11260 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: kio_file     kalle     5748  0.0  1.6 30084 16928 ?       S    14:50   0:05 kdeinit: konsole     kalle     5750  1.8  4.0 57404 42244 ?       S    14:50   3:48 kontact -session     kalle     5751  0.0  1.6 29968 16632 ?       S    14:50   0:00 kdeinit: konsole     kalle     5754  0.0  0.5 14968 5976 ?        S    14:50   0:00 /opt/kde3/bin/kde     kalle     5757  0.0  0.1  4188 1920 pts/2    Ss+  14:50   0:00 /bin/zsh     kalle     5759  0.0  0.1  4188 1944 pts/3    Ss   14:50   0:00 /bin/zsh     kalle     5761  0.0  0.2  4684 2572 pts/4    Ss+  14:50   0:00 /bin/zsh     kalle     5800  0.0  0.9 24484 9988 ?        S    14:50   0:00 kalarmd --login     kalle     5803  0.0  2.6 36264 27472 ?       S    14:50   0:05 xemacs     kalle     5826  0.0  0.1  3704 1172 pts/3    S+   14:51   0:00 sh ./sshtunnel     kalle     5827  0.0  0.2  4956 2348 pts/3    S+   14:51   0:02 ssh -X -L 23456:1     kalle     5829  0.1  1.9 31008 20204 ?       S    14:51   0:20 kdeinit: ksirc -i     kalle     6086  0.0  0.1  3444 1244 ?        S    15:07   0:00 /bin/sh /home/kal     kalle     6107  0.0  0.1  3704 1264 ?        S    15:07   0:00 /bin/sh /home/kal     kalle     6115  0.7  4.2 71184 43512 ?       S    15:07   1:29 /home/kalle/firef     kalle     6118  0.0  0.3  6460 3612 ?        S    15:07   0:00 /opt/gnome/lib/GC     kalle     6137  0.0  0.5  8232 5616 ?        S    15:08   0:03 perl /opt/kde3/bi     kalle     6186  0.0  2.9 42300 30384 ?       S    15:10   0:03 kdeinit: konquero     kalle     6497  0.1  1.6 30592 17424 ?       R    15:20   0:11 kdeinit: konsole     kalle     6498  0.0  0.2  4724 2624 pts/1    Ss+  15:20   0:00 /bin/zsh     kalle     6511  0.9  3.0 39932 31456 pts/1   S    15:20   1:37 xemacs     kalle     6720  0.0  0.2  4584 2500 pts/5    Ss   15:32   0:00 /bin/zsh     root      6740  0.0  0.1  3480 1264 pts/5    S    15:32   0:00 su     root      6741  0.0  0.1  3608 1732 pts/5    S    15:32   0:00 bash     kalle     6818  0.0  1.6 30152 17316 ?       S    15:39   0:00 kdeinit: konsole     kalle     6819  0.0  0.2  4492 2396 pts/6    Ss+  15:39   0:00 /bin/zsh     kalle     6948  0.0  1.6 29872 16564 ?       S    15:48   0:00 kdeinit: konsole     kalle     6949  0.0  0.1  4188 2040 pts/7    Ss   15:48   0:00 /bin/zsh     kalle     6982  0.0  0.1  4556 1908 pts/7    S+   15:50   0:00 ssh cvs.kdab.net     at        8106  0.0  0.0  1432  536 ?        Ss   17:24   0:00 /usr/sbin/atd     postfix   8672  0.0  0.1  4220 1448 ?        S    18:09   0:00 pickup -l -t fifo     postfix   8779  0.0  0.1  4208 1396 ?        S    18:15   0:00 proxymap -t unix     postfix   8796  0.0  0.1  4744 1784 ?        S    18:17   0:00 trivial-rewrite -     postfix   8797  0.0  0.1  4904 1848 ?        S    18:17   0:00 cleanup -z -t uni     postfix   8798  0.0  0.1  4376 1768 ?        S    18:17   0:00 local -t unix     root      8807  0.0  0.0  1584  700 ?        S    18:19   0:00 /USR/SBIN/CRON     kalle     8808  0.0  0.1  3112 1144 ?        Ss   18:19   0:00 fetchmail     root      8822  0.0  0.0  2164  688 pts/5    R+   18:20   0:00 ps aux



Running Linux
Running Linux
ISBN: 0596007604
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 220

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