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PKILL(1) NetBSD General Commands Manual PKILL(1)
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pkill, pgrep, prenice -- find or signal processes by name
pgrep [-filnvx] [-d delim] [-G gid] [-g pgrp] [-P ppid] [-s sid] [-t tty]
[-U uid] [-u euid] pattern ...
pkill [-signal] [-filnvx] [-G gid] [-g pgrp] [-P ppid] [-s sid] [-t tty]
[-U uid] [-u euid] pattern ...
prenice [-l] priority pattern ...
The pgrep command searches the process table on the running system and
prints the process IDs of all processes that match the criteria given on
the command line.
The pkill command searches the process table on the running system and
signals all processes that match the criteria given on the command line.
The prenice command searches the process table on the running system and
sets the priority of all processes that match the criteria given on the
By default, matching applies to any substring of the command name
(argv), but options may be used to change this. Patterns are speci-
fied using extended regular expressions (see re_format(7)).
The following options are available for pkill and pgrep:
-d delim Specify a delimiter to be printed between each process ID. The
default is a newline. This option can only be used with the
-f Match against full argument lists. The default is to match
against process names.
-G gid Restrict matches to processes with a real group ID in the
comma-separated list gid.
-g pgrp Restrict matches to processes with a process group ID in the
comma-separated list pgrp. The value zero is taken to mean the
process group ID of the running pgrep or pkill command.
-i Ignore case distinctions in both the process table and the sup-
-l Long output. Print the process name in addition to the process
ID for each matching process. If used in conjunction with -f,
print the process ID and the full argument list for each match-
-n Match only the most recently created process, if any.
-P ppid Restrict matches to processes with a parent process ID in the
comma-separated list ppid.
-s sid Restrict matches to processes with a session ID in the comma-
separated list sid. The value zero is taken to mean the ses-
sion ID of the running pgrep or pkill command.
-t tty Restrict matches to processes associated with a terminal in the
comma-separated list tty. Terminal names may be specified as a
fully qualified path, in the form `ttyXX', or `pts/N', (where
XX is any pair of letters, and N is a number), or the shortened
forms `XX' or `N'. A single dash (`-') matches processes not
associated with a terminal.
-U uid Restrict matches to processes with a real user ID in the comma-
separated list uid.
-u euid Restrict matches to processes with an effective user ID in the
comma-separated list euid.
-v Reverse the sense of the matching; display processes that do
not match the given criteria.
-x Require an exact match of the process name, or argument list if
-f is given. The default is to match any substring.
-signal A non-negative decimal number or symbolic signal name specify-
ing the signal to be sent instead of the default TERM. This
option is valid only when given as the first argument to pkill.
The -l flag is also available for prenice.
Note that a running pgrep, pkill, or prenice process will never consider
itself or system processes (kernel threads) as a potential match.
The Sun Solaris implemenation utilised procfs to obtain process informa-
tion. This implementation utilises kvm(3) instead.
pgrep, pkill, and prenice return one of the following values upon exit:
0 One or more processes were matched.
1 No processes were matched.
2 Invalid options were specified on the command line.
3 An internal error occurred.
grep(1), kill(1), ps(1), kill(2), sigaction(2), kvm(3), re_format(7),
pkill and pgrep first appeared in NetBSD 1.6. They are modelled after
utilities of the same name that appeared in Sun Solaris 7.
prenice was introduced in NetBSD 6.0.
Andrew Doran <ad@NetBSD.org>.
NetBSD 9.99 December 3, 2018 NetBSD 9.99
Modified for NetBSD
by Kimmo Suominen