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I am running various programs on Unix in the background. Each program is outputting into a different file, e.g.:

python > logfile &
python > log1 &

Now say I want to kill the process that outputs to the file log1, but I no longer remember what its pid is. Is there a way I can retrieve that info?

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migrated from Feb 14 '13 at 23:33

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4 Answers 4

Check the jobs command will print the currently running jobs.


After you get the process id, you can use fg or kill.

You can also use a combination of ps and grep, or pgrep (if available):


Note: This isn't really programming related and might be better answered at

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so using jobs, nothing comes up. I am using bash and I get nothing, however on a sever that I am connected to uses tcsh and I get what I want using jobs...why? Isn't bash Unix? – guy_without_a_name Feb 14 '13 at 21:30
bash (and tcsh) is a shell that is commonly on unix systems, but it is not unix. jobs should work on both if you have a background process. – gpojd Feb 14 '13 at 21:32
Thanks for clarification – guy_without_a_name Feb 14 '13 at 21:33

You should be able to see the full command line using ps(1):

ps auxwww | grep '[l]og1'

The PID will be in the second column.

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For some reason, it gives different pid – guy_without_a_name Feb 14 '13 at 21:39
A different PID to what? – Johnsyweb Feb 14 '13 at 21:50
say the pid for python is 722, when i use that command, i get a pid of 1532 – guy_without_a_name Feb 14 '13 at 21:52
I thought you didn't know the PID? Are you sure 722 isn't the PID of another instance of python grep '[l]og1' was specifically to find instances writing to that particular file. – Johnsyweb Feb 14 '13 at 21:58

try this command:

ps aux | grep '' | awk '{print $2,$11,$12}'

the output is:

1595 python

1595 is the pid number

and now:

kill <pid-number>

and the proccess will terminate

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I would also like to see the output file – guy_without_a_name Feb 14 '13 at 21:38
Why use grep and not ps aux | awk '/ {print $2,$11,$12}'? – Johnsyweb Feb 14 '13 at 21:50
Johnsyweb because i'm learn about awk script ;) – user2047676 Feb 14 '13 at 22:06

I found a way around: kill -STOP [pid] provides a confirmation that shows what I am looking for. Thanks for the help!

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