I have few java processes running like below,

java -jar /my/path/to/app/myapp.jar

java -jar /my/path/to/app/prodapp.jar

java -jar /my/path/to/app/testapp.jar

java -jar /my/path/to/app/myapp_v.01.jar

Now I can kill a particular process by pkill -f myapp.jar which is working as expected. how do I kill myapp_v.01.jar using a regex, I tried pkill -f myapp_*.jar. What is wrong with this regex ?

I am not looking for an alternative for pkill, I wanted to know why is the regex not working.

  • What's the point of using a regex? If you want to kill myapp_v.01.jar, just kill myapp_v.01.jar. Using a regex only introduces the risk of matching something unwanted, with no added value at all. – kos Oct 7 '15 at 10:29

You need to understand the basics of regular expressions for this. The * modifier does not mean 'anything' as it is often assumed. The asterisk has this meaning in the shell but that's something different, not a regex. * means: take the previous character (or group of characters if preceeded by a [] group) and try to match it between zero and unlimited number of occurrences.

So what you're actually checking with myapp_*.jar is whether any of the following are present in the process list:


See what I mean? It does not match 'myapp_v.01.jar' in any way. If you want to match any character, you're going to need .. So your regex for pkill could be: myapp_*.*.jar


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