PS(1) General Commands Manual PS(1)

ps
process status

ps [
-AaCcdehjlmrSsTuvwx
] [
-k key
] [
-M core
] [
-N system
] [
-O fmt
] [
-o fmt
] [
-p pid
] [
-t tty
] [
-U user
] [
-W swap
]

ps -L

ps displays a header line followed by lines containing information about running processes. By default, the display includes only processes that have controlling terminals and are owned by your uid. The default sort order of controlling terminal and (among processes with the same controlling terminal) process ID may be changed using the -k, -m, or -r options.
The information displayed for each process is selected based on a set of keywords (see the -L, -O, and -o options). The default output format includes, for each process, the process' ID, controlling terminal, CPU time (including both user and system time), state, and associated command.
The options are as follows:
 
 
Display information about all processes. This is equivalent to -a -x.
 
 
Display information about other users' processes as well as your own. Note that this does not display information about processes without controlling terminals.
 
 
Change the way the CPU percentage is calculated by using a “raw” CPU calculation that ignores “resident” time (this normally has no effect).
 
 
Do not display full command with arguments, but only the executable name. This may be somewhat confusing; for example, all sh(1) scripts will show as “sh”.
 
 
Arrange processes into descendancy order and prefix each command with indentation text showing sibling and parent/child relationships. If either of the -m and -r options are also used, they control how sibling processes are sorted relative to each other.
 
 
Display the environment as well. The environment for other users' processes can only be displayed by the super-user.
 
 
Repeat the information header as often as necessary to guarantee one header per page of information.
 
 
Print information associated with the following keywords: user, pid, ppid, pgid, sess, jobc, state, tt, time, and command.
 
 
key
Sort the output using the space or comma separated list of keywords. Multiple sort keys may be specified, using any of the -k, -m, or -r options. The default sort order is equivalent to -k tdev,pid.
 
 
List the set of available keywords.
 
 
Display information associated with the following keywords: uid, pid, ppid, cpu, pri, nice, vsz, rss, wchan, state, tt, time, and command.
 
 
core
Extract values from the specified core file instead of the running system.
 
 
Sort by memory usage. This is equivalent to -k vsz.
 
 
system
Extract the name list from the specified system instead of the default, “/netbsd”. Ignored unless -M is specified.
 
 
fmt
Display information associated with the space or comma separated list of keywords specified. The -O option does not suppress the default display; it inserts additional keywords just after the pid keyword in the default display, or after the pid keyword (if any) in a non-default display specified before the first use of the -O flag. Keywords inserted by multiple -O options will be adjacent.
An equals sign (“=”) followed by a customised header string may be appended to a keyword, as described in more detail under the -o option.
 
 
fmt
Display information associated with the space or comma separated list of keywords specified. Use of the -o option suppresses the set of keywords that would be displayed by default, or appends to the set of keywords specified by other options.
An equals sign (“=”) followed by a customised header string may be appended to a keyword. This causes the printed header to use the specified string instead of the default header associated with the keyword.
Everything after the first equals sign is part of the customised header text, and this may include embedded spaces (“ ”), commas (“,”), or equals signs (“=”). To specify multiple keywords with customised headers, use multiple -o or -O options.
If all the keywords to be displayed have customised headers, and all the customised headers are entirely empty, then the header line is not printed at all.
 
 
pid
Display information associated with the specified process ID.
 
 
Sort by current CPU usage. This is equivalent to -k %cpu.
 
 
Change the way the process time is calculated by summing all exited children to their parent process.
 
 
Display one line for each LWP, rather than one line for each process, and display information associated with the following keywords: uid, pid, ppid, cpu, lid, nlwp, pri, nice, vsz, rss, wchan, lstate, tt, time, and command.
 
 
Display information about processes attached to the device associated with the standard input.
 
 
tty
Display information about processes attached to the specified terminal device. Use a question mark (“?”) for processes not attached to a terminal device and a minus sign (“-”) for processes that have been revoked from their terminal device.
 
 
user
Display processes belonging to the specified user, given either as a user name or a uid.
 
 
Display information associated with the following keywords: user, pid, %cpu, %mem, vsz, rss, tt, state, start, time, and command. The -u option implies the -r option.
 
 
Display information associated with the following keywords: pid, state, time, sl, re, pagein, vsz, rss, lim, tsiz, %cpu, %mem, and command. The -v option implies the -m option.
 
 
swap
Extract swap information from the specified file instead of the default, “/dev/drum”. Ignored unless -M is specified.
 
 
Use 132 columns to display information instead of the default, which is your window size. If the -w option is specified more than once, ps will use as many columns as necessary without regard to your window size.
 
 
Also display information about processes without controlling terminals.
A complete list of the available keywords are listed below. Some of these keywords are further specified as follows:
 
 
%cpu
The CPU utilization of the process; this is a decaying average over up to a minute of previous (real) time. Since the time base over which this is computed varies (since processes may be very young) it is possible for the sum of all %CPU fields to exceed 100%.
 
 
%mem
The percentage of real memory used by this process.
 
 
flags
The flags (in hexadecimal) associated with the process as in the include file <sys/proc.h>:
process may hold a POSIX advisory lock
process has a controlling terminal
no SIGCHLD when children stop
parent is waiting for child to exec/exit
process has started profiling
selecting; wakeup/waiting danger
sleep is interruptible
process had set id privileges since last exec
system process: no sigs or stats
timing out during sleep
process is being traced
debugging process has waited for child
working on exiting
process called execve(2)
owe process an addupc() call at next ast
no zombies when children die
32-bit process (used on 64-bit kernels)
process needs kernel ``big lock'' to run
process is exec'ing and cannot be traced
 
 
lim
The soft limit on memory used, specified via a call to setrlimit(2).
 
 
lstart
The exact time the command started, using the “%c” format described in strftime(3).
 
 
maxrss
the maxiumum resident set size of the process (in 1024 byte units).
 
 
nice
The process scheduling increment (see setpriority(2)).
 
 
rss
the real memory (resident set) size of the process (in 1024 byte units).
 
 
start
The time the command started. If the command started less than 24 hours ago, the start time is displayed using the “%l:%M%p” format described in strftime(3). If the command started less than 7 days ago, the start time is displayed using the “%a%p” format. Otherwise, the start time is displayed using the “%e%b%y” format.
 
 
state
The state is given by a sequence of letters, for example, “RNs”. The first letter indicates the run state of the process:
D
Marks a process in device or other short term, uninterruptible wait.
I
Marks a process that is idle (sleeping interruptibly for longer than about MAXSLP (default 20) seconds).
O
Marks a process running on a processor.
R
Marks a runnable process, or one that is in the process of creation.
S
Marks a process that is sleeping interruptibly for less than about MAXSLP (default 20) seconds.
T
Marks a stopped process.
U
Marks a suspended process.
Z
Marks a dead process that has exited, but not been waited for (a “zombie”).
Additional characters after these, if any, indicate additional state information:
+
The process is in the foreground process group of its control terminal.
-
The LWP is detached (can't be waited for).
<
The process has raised CPU scheduling priority.
a
The process is using scheduler activations (deprecated).
E
The process is in the process of exiting.
K
The process is a kernel thread or system process.
l
The process has multiple LWPs.
N
The process is niced (has reduced CPU scheduling priority) (see setpriority(2)).
s
The process is a session leader.
V
The process is suspended during a vfork(2).
X
The process is being traced or debugged.
 
 
tt
An abbreviation for the pathname of the controlling terminal, if any. The abbreviation consists of the two letters following “/dev/tty” or, for the console, “co”. This is followed by a “-” if the process can no longer reach that controlling terminal (i.e., it has been revoked).
 
 
wchan
The event (an address in the system) on which a process waits. When printed numerically, the initial part of the address is trimmed off and the result is printed in hex, for example, 0x80324000 prints as 324000.
When printing using the command keyword, a process that has exited and has a parent that has not yet waited for the process (in other words, a zombie) is listed as “⟨defunct⟩”, and a process which is blocked while trying to exit is listed as “⟨exiting⟩”.
ps will try to locate the processes' argument vector from the user area in order to print the command name and arguments. This method is not reliable because a process is allowed to destroy this information. The ucomm (accounting) keyword will always contain the real command name as contained in the process structure's p_comm field.
If the command vector cannot be located (usually because it has not been set, as is the case of system processes and/or kernel threads) the command name is printed within square brackets.
To indicate that the argument vector has been tampered with, ps will append the real command name to the output within parentheses if the basename of the first argument in the argument vector does not match the contents of the real command name.
In addition, ps checks for the following two situations and does not append the real command name parenthesized:
 
 
-shellname
The login process traditionally adds a ‘-’ in front of the shell name to indicate a login shell. ps will not append parenthesized the command name if it matches with the name in the first argument of the argument vector, skipping the leading ‘-’.
 
 
daemonname: current-activity
Daemon processes frequently report their current activity by setting their name to be like “daemonname: current-activity”. ps will not append parenthesized the command name, if the string preceding the ‘:’ in the first argument of the argument vector matches the command name.

The following is a complete list of the available keywords and their meanings. Several of them have aliases (keywords which are synonyms).
%cpu
percentage CPU usage (alias pcpu)
%mem
percentage memory usage (alias pmem)
acflag
accounting flag (alias acflg)
comm
command (the argv[0] value)
command
command and arguments (alias args)
cpu
short-term CPU usage factor (for scheduling)
cpuid
CPU number the current process or lwp is running on.
ctime
accumulated CPU time of all children that have exited
egid
effective group id
egroup
group name (from egid)
emul
emulation name
etime
elapsed time since the process was started, in the form [[dd-]hh:]mm:ss
euid
effective user id
euser
user name (from euid)
flags
the process flags, in hexadecimal (alias f)
gid
effective group id
group
group name (from gid)
groupnames
group names (from group access list)
groups
group access list
idrss
integral unshared data
isrss
integral unshared stack
ixrss
integral shared memory size
inblk
total blocks read (alias inblock)
jobc
job control count
ktrace
tracing flags
ktracep
tracing vnode
laddr
kernel virtual address of the struct lwp belonging to the LWP.
lid
ID of the LWP
lim
memory use limit
lname
descriptive name of the LWP
logname
login name of user who started the process (alias login)
lstart
time started
lstate
symbolic LWP state
ltime
CPU time of the LWP
majflt
total page faults
maxrss
maximum resident set size
minflt
total page reclaims
msgrcv
total messages received (reads from pipes/sockets)
msgsnd
total messages sent (writes on pipes/sockets)
nice
nice value (alias ni)
nivcsw
total involuntary context switches
nlwp
number of LWPs in the process
nsigs
total signals taken (alias nsignals)
nvcsw
total voluntary context switches
nwchan
wait channel (as an address)
oublk
total blocks written (alias oublock)
p_ru
resource usage pointer (valid only for zombie)
paddr
kernel virtual address of the struct proc belonging to the process.
pagein
pageins (same as majflt)
pgid
process group number
pid
process ID
ppid
parent process ID
pri
scheduling priority
re
core residency time (in seconds; 127 = infinity)
rgid
real group ID
rlink
reverse link on run queue, or 0
rlwp
number of LWPs on a processor or run queue
rss
resident set size
rsz
resident set size + (text size / text use count) (alias rssize)
ruid
real user ID
ruser
user name (from ruid)
sess
session pointer
sid
session ID
sig
pending signals (alias pending)
sigcatch
caught signals (alias caught)
sigignore
ignored signals (alias ignored)
sigmask
blocked signals (alias blocked)
sl
sleep time (in seconds; 127 = infinity)
start
time started
state
symbolic process state (alias stat)
stime
accumulated system CPU time
svgid
saved gid from a setgid executable
svgroup
group name (from svgid)
svuid
saved uid from a setuid executable
svuser
user name (from svuid)
tdev
control terminal device number
time
accumulated CPU time, user + system (alias cputime)
tpgid
control terminal process group ID
tsess
control terminal session pointer
tsiz
text size (in Kbytes)
tt
control terminal name (two letter abbreviation)
tty
full name of control terminal
uaddr
kernel virtual address of the struct user belonging to the LWP.
ucomm
name to be used for accounting
uid
effective user ID
upr
scheduling priority on return from system call (alias usrpri)
user
user name (from uid)
utime
accumulated user CPU time
vsz
virtual size in Kbytes (alias vsize)
wchan
wait channel (as a symbolic name)
xstat
exit or stop status (valid only for stopped or zombie process)

/dev
special files and device names
/dev/drum
default swap device
/var/run/dev.cdb
/dev name database
/var/db/kvm.db
system name list database
/netbsd
default system name list

kill(1), pgrep(1), pkill(1), sh(1), w(1), kvm(3), strftime(3), dev_mkdb(8), pstat(8)

A ps utility appeared in Version 3 AT&T UNIX in section 8 of the manual.

Since ps cannot run faster than the system and is run as any other scheduled process, the information it displays can never be exact.
August 6, 2019 NetBSD-current