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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

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

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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