Linux Commands Examples

A great documentation place for Linux commands


- find the process ID of a running program.

see also : shutdown - init - halt - reboot - killall5


pidof [-s] [-c] [-n] [-x] [-o omitpid[,omitpid..]] [-o omitpid[,omitpid..]..] program [program..]

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pidof $PROCESS_NAME | xargs kill -9
function running () {
pidof "$@" &>/dev/null
pidof () { ps -C $1 -o pid= }
scanmem $(pidof $1)
pid=`pidof java`
kill -9 $pid
pid=`pidof mysqld`
kill -9 $pid


Pidof finds the process id’s (pids) of the named programs. It prints those id’s on the standard output. This program is on some systems used in run-level change scripts, especially when the system has a System-V like rc structure. In that case these scripts are located in /etc/rc?.d, where ? is the runlevel. If the system has a start-stop-daemon (8) program that should be used instead.



Single shot - this instructs the program to only return one pid.


Only return process ids that are running with the same root directory. This option is ignored for non-root users, as they will be unable to check the current root directory of processes they do not own.


Avoid stat(2) system function call on all binaries which are located on network based file systems like NFS. Instead of using this option the the variable PIDOF_NETFS may be set and exported.


Scripts too - this causes the program to also return process id’s of shells running the named scripts.

-o omitpid

Tells pidof to omit processes with that process id. The special pid %PPID can be used to name the parent process of the pidof program, in other words the calling shell or shell script.

exit status


At least one program was found with the requested name.


No program was found with the requested name.


pidof is actually the same program as killall5; the program behaves according to the name under which it is called.

When pidof is invoked with a full pathname to the program it should find the pid of, it is reasonably safe. Otherwise it is possible that it returns pids of running programs that happen to have the same name as the program you’re after but are actually other programs. Note that that the executable name of running processes is calculated with readlink(2), so symbolic links to executables will also match.

see also

shutdown , init , halt , reboot , killall5


Miquel van Smoorenburg, miquels[:at:]cistron[:dot:]nl

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