[sf-lug] shell tip: ps ... | grep ... | grep -v grep

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Fri Jul 4 12:04:53 PDT 2008

While typical Linux distributions have pidof, for greater (e.g. 
UNIX/BSD) portability, often something like:
ps args | grep 'pattern' | grep -v grep    
is rather commonly used ... e.g. to find the PID(s) running a particular 

Well, a bit more efficient approach would typically be:
ps args | grep '[p]attern'

How does it work?  Well, the RE [p]attern will match pattern, but the ps
line with grep won't match RE [p]attern, as it will have literal
argument [p]attern, and thus won't match RE [p]attern.

Hans Peter Verne, Daniel Robbins

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