ps - report process status
ps [-adeflPx] [-g grplist] [-p proclist] [-R prmgrplist] [-t termlist]
ps [-aAcdefHjlPx] [-C cmdlist] [-g grplist] [-G gidlist] [-n namelist]
[-o format] [-p proclist] [-R prmgrplist] [-s sidlist] [-t termlist]
[-u uidlist] [-U uidlist]
ps prints information about selected processes. Use options to
specify which processes to select and what information to print about
Process Selection Options
Use the following options to choose which processes should be
NOTE: If an option is used in both the default (standard HP-UX) and
XPG4 environments, the description provided here documents the default
behavior. Refer to the UNIX95 variable under EXTERNAL INFLUENCES for
additional information on XPG4 behavior.
(none) Select those processes associated with the current
-A (XPG4 Only.) Select all processes. (Synonym for
-a Select all processes except process group leaders
and processes not associated with a terminal.
-C cmdlist (XPG4 Only.) Select processes executing a command
with a basename given in cmdlist.
-d Select all processes except process group leaders.
-e Select all processes.
-g grplist Select processes whose process group leaders are
given in grplist.
-G gidlist (XPG4 Only.) Select processes whose real group ID
numbers or group names are given in gidlist.
-n namelist (XPG4 Only.) This option is ignored; its presence
is allowed for standards compliance.
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-p proclist Select processes whose process ID numbers are
given in proclist.
-R prmgrplist Select processes belonging to PRM process resource
groups whose names or ID numbers are given in
prmgrplist. See DEPENDENCIES.
-s sidlist (XPG4 Only.) Select processes whose session
leaders are given in sidlist. (Synonym for -g).
-t termlist Select processes associated with the terminals
given in termlist. Terminal identifiers can be
specified in one of two forms: the device's file
name (such as tty04) or if the device's file name
starts with tty, just the rest of it (such as 04).
If the device's file is in a directory other than
/dev or /dev/pty, the terminal identifier must
include the name of the directory under /dev that
contains the device file (such as pts/5).
-u uidlist Select processes whose effective user ID numbers
or login names are given in uidlist.
-U uidlist (XPG4 Only.) Select processes whose real user ID
numbers or login names are given in uidlist.
If any of the -a, -A, -d, or -e options is specified, the -C, -g, -G,
-p, -R, -t, -u, and -U options are ignored.
If more than one of -a, -A, -d, and -e are specified, the least
restrictive option takes effect.
If more than one of the -C, -g, -G, -p, -R, -t, -u, and -U options are
specified, processes will be selected if they match any of the options
The lists used as arguments to the -C, -g, -G, -p, -R, -t, -u, and -U
options can be specified in one of two forms:
+ A list of identifiers separated from one another by a comma.
+ A list of identifiers enclosed in quotation marks (") and
separated from one another by a comma and/or one or more
Output Format Options
Use the following options to control which columns of data are
included in the output listing. The options are cumulative.
(none) The default columns are: pid, tty, time, and comm,
in that order.
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-f Show columns user, pid, ppid, cpu, stime, tty,
time, and args, in that order.
-l Show columns flags, state, uid, pid, ppid, cpu,
intpri, nice, addr, sz, wchan, tty, time, and
comm, in that order.
-fl Show columns flags, state, user, pid, ppid, cpu,
intpri, nice, addr, sz, wchan, stime, tty, time,
and args, in that order.
-c (XPG4 Only.) Remove columns cpu and nice; replace
column intpri with columns cls and pri.
-j (XPG4 Only.) Add columns pgid and sid after
column ppid (or pid, if ppid is not being
-P Add column prmid (for -l) or prmgrp (for -f or
-fl) immediately before column pid. See
-o format (XPG4 Only.) format is a comma- or space-separated
list of the columns to display, in the order they
should be displayed. (Valid column names are
listed below.) A column name can optionally be
followed by an equals sign (=) and a string to use
as the heading for that column. (Any commas or
spaces after the equals sign will be taken as a
part of the column heading; if more columns are
desired, they must be specified with additional -o
options.) The width of the column will be the
greater of the width of the data to be displayed
and the width of the column heading. If an empty
column heading is specified for every heading, no
heading line will be printed. This option
overrides options -c, -f, -j, -l, and -P; if they
are specified, they are ignored.
-H (XPG4 Only.) Shows the process hierarchy. Each
process is displayed under its parent, and the
contents of the args or comm column for that
process is indented from that of its parent. Note
that this option is expensive in both memory and
-x Shows the command line in extended format.
The column names and their meanings are given below. Except where
noted, the default heading for each column is the uppercase form of
the column name.
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addr The memory address of the process, if resident;
otherwise, the disk address.
args The command line given when the process was
created. This column should be the last one
specified, if it is desired. Only a subset of the
command line is saved by the kernel; as much of
the command line will be displayed as is
available. The output in this column may contain
spaces. The default heading for this column is
COMMAND if -o is specified and CMD otherwise.
cls Process scheduling class, see rtsched(1).
comm The command name. The output in this column may
contain spaces. The default heading for this
column is COMMAND if -o is specified and CMD
cpu Processor utilization for scheduling. The default
heading for this column is C.
etime Elapsed time of the process. The default heading
for this column is ELAPSED.
flags Flags (octal and additive) associated with the
1 In core
2 System process
4 Locked in core (e.g., for physical I/O)
10 Being traced by another process
20 Another tracing flag
The default heading for this column is F.
intpri The priority of the process as it is stored
internally by the kernel. This column is provided
for backward compatibility and its use is not
gid The group ID number of the effective process
group The group name of the effective process owner.
nice Nice value; used in priority computation (see
nice(1)). The default heading for this column is
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pcpu The percentage of CPU time used by this process
during the last scheduling interval. The default
heading for this column is %CPU.
pgid The process group ID number of the process group
to which this process belongs.
pid The process ID number of the process.
ppid The process ID number of the parent process.
pri The priority of the process. The meaning of the
value depends on the process scheduling class; see
cls, above, and rtsched(1).
prmid The PRM process resource group ID number.
prmgrp The PRM process resource group name.
rgid The group ID number of the real process owner.
rgroup The group name of the real process owner.
ruid The user ID number of the real process owner.
ruser The login name of the real process owner.
sid The session ID number of the session to which this
state The state of the process:
The default heading for this column is S.
stime Starting time of the process. If the elapsed time
is greater than 24 hours, the starting date is
sz The size in physical pages of the core image of
the process, including text, data, and stack
space. Physical page size is defined by
_SC_PAGE_SIZE in the header file <<<<unistd.h>>>> (see
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sysconf(2) and unistd(5)).
time The cumulative execution time for the process.
tty The controlling terminal for the process. The
default heading for this column is TT if -o is
specified and TTY otherwise.
uid The user ID number of the effective process owner.
user The login name of the effective process owner.
vsz The size in kilobytes (1024 byte units) of the
core image of the process. See column sz, above.
wchan The event for which the process is waiting or
sleeping; if there is none, a hyphen (-) is
ps prints the command name and arguments given at the time of the
process was created. If the process changes its arguments while
running (by writing to its argv array), these changes are not
displayed by ps.
A process that has exited and has a parent, but has not yet been
waited for by the parent, is marked <<<<defunct>>>> (see zombie process in
The time printed in the stime column, and used in computing the value
for the etime column, is the time when the process was forked, not the
time when it was modified by exec().
To make the ps output safer to display and easier to read, all control
characters in the comm and args columns are displayed as "visible"
equivalents in the customary control character format, ^x.
UNIX95 specifies to use the XPG4 behavior for this command. The
changes for XPG4 include support for the entire option set specified
above and include the following behavioral changes:
+ The TIME column format changes from mmmm:ss to [dd-]hh:mm:ss.
+ When the comm, args, user, and prmgrp fields are included by
default or the -f or -l flags are used, the column headings of
those fields change to CMD, CMD, USER, and PRMGRP,
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+ -a, -d, and -g will select processes based on session rather
than on process group.
+ The uid or user column displayed by -f or -l will display
effective user rather than real user.
+ The -u option will select users based on effective UID rather
than real UID.
+ The -C and -H options, while they are not part of the XPG4
standard, are enabled.
LC_TIME determines the format and contents of date and time strings.
If it is not specified or is null, it defaults to the value of LANG.
If LANG is not specified or is null, it defaults to C (see lang(5)).
If any internationalization variable contains an invalid setting, all
internationalization variables default to C (see environ(5)).
International Code Set Support
Single-byte character code sets are supported.
Generate a full listing of all processes currently running on your
To see if a certain process exists on the machine, such as the cron
clock daemon, check the far right column for the command name, cron,
ps -f -C cron
Things can change while ps is running; the picture it gives is only a
snapshot in time. Some data printed for defunct processes is
If two special files for terminals are located at the same select
code, that terminal may be reported with either name. The user can
select processes with that terminal using either name.
Users of ps must not rely on the exact field widths and spacing of its
output, as these will vary depending on the system, the release of
HP-UX, and the data to be displayed.
HP Process Resource Manager
The -P and -R options require the optional HP Process Resource Manager
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(PRM) software to be installed and configured. See prmconfig(1) for a
description of how to configure HP PRM, and prmconf(4) for the
definition of "process resource group."
If HP PRM is not installed and configured and -P or -R is specified, a
warning message is displayed and (for -P) hyphens (-) are displayed in
the prmid and prmgrp columns.
/dev Directory of terminal device files
/etc/passwd User ID information
/var/adm/ps_data Internal data structure
kill(1), nice(1), acctcom(1M), exec(2), exit(2), fork(2), sysconf(2),
HP Process Resource Manager: prmconfig(1), prmconf(4) in HP Process
Resource Manager User's Guide.
ps: SVID2, XPG2, XPG3, XPG4
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