In "https://stackoverflow.com/questions/13038143/how-to-get-pids-in-one-process-group-in-linux-os" I see all answers mentioning ps and none mentioning /proc.

"ps" seems to be not very portable (Android and Busybox versions expect different arguments), and I want to be able list pids with pgids with simple and portable tools.

In /proc/.../status I see Tgid: (thread group ID), Gid: (group id for security, not for grouping processes together), but not PGid:...

What are other (not using ps) ways of getting pgid from pid?

1 Answer 1


You can look at field 5th in output of /proc/[pid]/stat.

$ ps -ejH | grep firefox
 3043  2683  2683 ?        00:00:21   firefox

$ < /proc/3043/stat sed -n '$s/.*) [^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/p'

From man proc:

              Status information about the process.  This is used by ps(1).  It is defined in /usr/src/linux/fs/proc/array.c.

              The fields, in order, with their proper scanf(3) format specifiers, are:

              pid %d      The process ID.

              comm %s     The filename of the executable, in parentheses.  This is visible whether or not the executable is swapped out.

              state %c    One character from the string "RSDZTW" where R is running, S is sleeping in an interruptible wait, D is waiting in
                          uninterruptible disk sleep, Z is zombie, T is traced or stopped (on a signal), and W is paging.

              ppid %d     The PID of the parent.

              pgrp %d     The process group ID of the process.

              session %d  The session ID of the process.

Note that you cannot use:

awk '{print $5}'

Because that file is not a blank separated list. The second field (the process name may contain blanks or even newline characters). For instance, most of the threads of firefox typically have space characters in their name.

So you need to print the 3rd field after the last occurrence of a ) character in there.

  • Note that awk '{print $5}' is not guaranteed to give you the right answer as the process name (second field) may contain space or newline characters. May 27, 2014 at 15:54
  • How to reliably parse /proc/.../stat ?
    – Vi.
    May 27, 2014 at 15:56
  • 3
    @Vi, see that answer perl -l -0777 -ne '@f = /\(.*\)|\S+/g; print $f[4]' "/proc/$pid/stat" or p=$(cat "/proc/$pid/stat") && set ${p##*')'} && echo "$3" May 27, 2014 at 16:03
  • @StephaneChazelas: Thanks, I have updated my answer!
    – cuonglm
    May 27, 2014 at 16:34
  • It's more process names than file names. The problem will typically occur with processes that change their name (from the one they get from the name of the last file they executed). May 27, 2014 at 16:45

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