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I have a program that spawns multiple threads, all of which do fairly intensive IO, running on the background. I want to set the scheduling class to idle so that it doesn't clog up the system; however, ionice -c3 -p <PID>, where <PID> is the process ID, does not have the desired effect. Although the scheduling class for process <PID> is changed, when I launched iotop, all the threads it had spawned still had the default priority (best-effort level 4).

How do I change the IO priority of a program and all the threads or processes it has spawned on Linux?

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ionice can take a process group ID as an argument (-P switch), which, obviously, affects all processes (and threads) in the given process group. Once can find the process group ID by looking at the 5th field of /proc/<PID>/stat (or using ps). This setting is a bit more coarse than what I really wanted, but works well enough.

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