What is a Process ?
When a program is read from disk into memory and its execution begins, the currently executing image is called a process
The process ID is the number between 1 - 32767 by default (Certainly customizable). To set the limit, as root run the following,You can set the value higher (up to 2^22 on 32-bit machines: 4,194,304)
you can instead add a line to your /etc/sysctl.conf. You would do this instead of the above commands. This will be the more natural solution for such systems, but you'll need to reboot the system or use the sysctl program for it to take effect. You need to append the following to your /etc/sysctl.conf:
# echo 4194303 > /proc/sys/kernel/pid_max
#Allow for more PIDs (to reduce rollover problems); may break some programs
kernel.pid_max = 4194303
Each process in linux has a parent. Once the system starts a single process is created, called INIT, whose PID is 1. The INIT process then begins to start the system up, creating processes as needed. These newly created processes may start other processes but the ultimate parent is always INIT.
"ps" command with no option shows:
- Process ID (PID)
- The terminal (TTY)
- The amount of CPU time that the process has accumulated (TIME)
- The command used (CMD)
"ps -f" give more info(full option). It displays the below options in addition to above
- The Parent PID (PPID)
- The process start time (STIME)
- The user ID (UID)
- -u to ps command limit display to users
- -g limits display to groups
- -p limits display to PID
- -t limit display to terminal
Managing process In Linux
Usually 2 ways used to manage the process
1. Using a signaling system - (sending signals to process using commands kill,skill and pkill)
Signals are the software interupts used to communicate status and information amongst processes. The TERM signal can be caught or ignored. The KILL signal "9" is not able to be caught or ignored, and causes immediate termination of the process. Ctrl C sends the INT (2)(Interrupt) signal to the process- this is the reason of Process termination. "Ctrl \" sends quit (3) signal to running process TERM (Terminate)signal (15) is the default signal send to the process while running the kill command.
HUP signal is generated by a modem hangup. It often tell a daemon to reconfigure (restart) itself.
kill -1 (kills the shell and logs out).
2. Using /proc interface
Much of the processess information is available to a user through a special interface known as /proc file system. Every process running in Linux system has an correspondence directory in proc file system. The /proc file system does not exist on disk. It is an interface to the running system and present kernel. It gives kernel and process information in an easy to access manner. Every process that runs on a Linux system has a corresponding directory in /proc named with the PID of the process.
Managing process using /proc:
There is wealth of information about a running proces in its /proc entry. Most of this information is meant for use by programs like ps, So we need to do some pre-processing before we can view it. You can use "tr" command to do it. By translating ASCII NUL characters to LF (Line feed) characters, we can get a meaningful display.
This example shows the details about the process 1233.
# tr '\0' '\n' < /proc/1223/environ
"environ" is the file which contains the environment details of the process.
"cwd" folder shows the current working directory
"fd" contains the links to every file that a process may have opened. This directory called fd (File Descriptor). File Descriptor is a number used by a program to identify an open file. Each process in /proc file system will have a "fd". This is a vital information for a system administrator trying to manage a large and complex system. For instance, a file system may not be unmounted if any process has a file opened in that file system. By checking /proc, and administrator can determine and resolve the problem
This will show what all process opened the file /home
# umount /home
Umount: /home: device us busy
#ls -al /proc/*/fd | grep home
Killing a Job
The % should be added before the job number. This will make shell to replace job number with the process ID
# kill -9 %1
Log Files, Errors and Status
Local0 - Local7
emerg - Emergency condition, such as an imminent system crash, usually broadcast to all users
alert - Condition that should be corrected immediately, such as a corrupted system database
crit - Critical condition, such as a hardware error
err - Ordinary error
warning - Warning
notice - Condition that is not an error, but possibly should be handled in a special way
info - Informational message
debug - Messages that are used when debugging programs
none - Do not send messages from the indicated facility to the selected file. For example, specifying
*.debug;mail.none sends all messages except mail messages to the selected file.
Logrotate keeps 4 weeks of logs before the oldest log is rottated out or deleted. Syslog entries all share a common format. The entry starts with the date and time, followd by the name of the system which logged message.
CORE Error handling:
When unexpected errors occur, the system may create a core file. A core file contains a copy of the memory image of the process at the time that the error occurred. It is named "core" because the mail system emory was originally called core memory, as it was made up of ferrite donuts that were wired together through their holes, or cores.
A core file can be used to autospy a dead pricess. Even if you are not a programmer, and do not have the access to core analysis tools, core files can still be used to find information that may help you to identify the cause if the program's death.
The first thing to do with a "core" file is use the "file" command to determine what program caused the core and what (if any) signal initiated the dumping of core. Core files are normally called core or core.xxxx where "xxxx" is the PID of the process before it died. Using "man 7 signal" will bring up a list of signals. By this mean we can determine the issue and also the author can be notified if there is any kind og bugs (If any Invalid memory reference error occurs).
Strings program displays printable strings from a binary file. Using strings on a core file, you can display all of the strings included in the core image. At the end of the core file will be the process environment. This includes the command used to start program.
This information can give vital clues to the case of death. Looking through the core file for pathnames can also give information about the configuration files and shared libraries required to run the program.
Customizing the Shell
In Bash, there are 4 prompt strings used. All of them are able to customize. These strings are represented by the environment variables PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4. The normal command prompt, which is displayed to indicate the shell is ready for a new command, is found in the PS1 variable. Should a command require more than a single line of input, the secondary prompt string PS2 is displayed. This can be seen when typing in flow control statements interactvely.
The select statement uses PS3 to display the prompt for the generated menu. The default is "#?"
Finally, the PS4 prompt is used when debugging shell scripts. The shell allows an exection trace, showing each command as it is executed. This is enabled by using -x option to the shell, or using "set -x" at the start of the script.
PS3 and PS4 can be set to any text. The text is displayed with no change. There is no way to place variable text within these strings. However, PS1 and PS2 can have test that is evaluated each time the prompt is displayed. This can be done with the $(command) syntax, or with a special set of characters used specifically for the purpose.
Some notes about Linux File System
The structure of a file system determines its use and the manner in which commands and utilities interact with it. This is especially true of management commands that change or effect the file system. Beacause of this we need to explore the structure of a Linux file system before we can look at the file system management commands.
All Linux filesystem have a similar logical structure as far as the user or system commands are concerned. This is achieved by the file system driver logic in the Linux Kernel, regardless of the underlying data layout. "A file system usually consists of a master information table called the superblock, a list of file summary information blocks, called inodes, and the data blocks assosiated with your data.
Every filesystem has its own root directory, which is always identified by inode number 2. This is the first usable inode in a Linux filesystem. This directory is special, in that it can be used to attach the filesystem to the main, or root filesystem. The directory on the root or parent filesystem at which the new filesystem is attached is called the mount point.
A /dev entry looks like any other file except that it does not have a size. Instead it has a major and minor device number, and a block or character designation. The major number identifies which device driver is being used. There are two kind of device drivers: Block and Character, each with their own set of major numbers.
The minor number identifies the sub-device or operation for the device driver. For example, a tape drive may have different minor numbers for operation in compressed and uncompressed mode. There are a number of general-purpose devices as well. The /dev/bull file is also known as the "bit bucket" because it will take anything that is written to it and discard it. It is often used to discard unwanted error messages or to test commands. A similar file is /dev/zero which does the same for writes, but when read will return as many NUL (Hex 00) characters as you ask to read. This is often used to create zero-filled files for testing or for database initialization.
Every file system requires a directory called lost+found in the root directory of the filesystem. This is used by the system when checking and rebuilding a corrupted file system. Files that have inodes, but no directory entry, are moved to the lost+found directory. If there are files in this directory, they will be named with the inode number, as an indication that the file system has suffered some damage.