How to get list of dates from an output of ps command to only show those processes beyond 30 days?

My goal is to kill these processes. I can easily do this by killall command.

E.g. killall -u user --older-than 1M

But we have an outdated version of that command to which --older-than is not available so I'm force to find another way.

One thing I'm thinking is to pass the list of processes to kill command but I couldn't figure it out how to only get the processes that are 30 days old and beyond.

If there's something like this:

ps --no-header -u username --sort=start_time -o user,pid,lstart | #get all processes beyond 30 days old | while read -r pid; do kill $pid; done

Edit: We're using procps version 3.2.8


With relatively recent versions of procps, you can use etimes as the elapsed time as a number of seconds:

ps -Ao etimes= -o pid= |
  awk -v n=30 '$1 >= n*86400 {print $2}' |
  xargs -r kill

(here assuming GNU xargs for its -r option)


ps -Ao etimes= -o pid= |
  awk -v n=30 '$1 >= n*86400 {print "kill", $2}' |

With older versions, you can revert to etime:

LC_ALL=C ps -Ao etime= -o pid= |
  awk -v n=30 '$1 ~ /^[[:digit:]]+-/ && 0+$1 >= n {print "kill", $2}' |

(that syntax is POSIX and should work on all POSIX compliant systems).

  • ps -Ao etimes= -o pid= doesn't work. Throws error ERROR: Unknown user-defined format specifier "etimes" – WashichawbachaW Aug 19 '19 at 14:56
  • 1
    @WashichawbachaW, yes like I said, you need a relatively recent version of procps (where your version of ps seems to be coming from) and I gave an alternative for older versions – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 19 '19 at 15:18

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