Process Status Output Explained

ps faux:

PS: The command itself is used for listing processes. f: Displays a tree-like view (process tree) that shows the hierarchical relationship between parent and child processes. a: Lists processes from all users. u: Displays detailed information about the user who owns the process. x: Includes processes not attached to a terminal.

Vocabulary and Additional Information

user: Typically, the username or the user ID of the user who initiated or owns the process. 

PID (Process ID): The Process ID is a unique numerical identifier assigned to each system-running process. The OS uses it to monitor, allocate resources, or terminate the process.

%CPU: The Percentage of the CPU’s processing power that the process is currently consuming.

%MEM: Represents the percentage of physical memory that a process is currently using.

RSS (Resident Set Size): Represents the amount of physical memory that is actively being used by the process but does not include memory that could be swapped out to disk.

VSZ (Virtual Memory Size): Represents the total virtual memory allocated by a process. (Includes physical memory and any memory that has been swapped out to disk.)

How can this command be useful?

  • Process Monitoring and management: Trouble Shooting, for example, to help identify what process is consuming excessive CPU or memory resources. (Ell’s humorous note: It’s chrome, it’s always chrome.)

  • Security Analysis: Identify suspicious activity, such as processes using higher-than-normal resources.
    (Ell’s personal experience.Why is apache2 running on a RedHat box? [In a RedHat environment, Apache Web Server would run as httpd].)