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I was under the impression that ps -e as root will display every process but several coworkers have claimed that the -ef flag is needed.

The man page seems to indicate that all -f changes is formatting, am I being pranked or is this a widespread myth?

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You are correct.

Running either ps -e or ps -ef as root will show every process. The f flag just does full format listing as the man page states. If you examine the output, you'll see that the f only gives more columns including CMD, TIME, STIME, PPID, and UID.

ps ax will also show every process on the system but just with BSD syntax as the man page states.

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