I am looking to get time/jiffie stats on the state of a daemon process. The states I'm referring to are mentioned in the Linux Kernel Proc Filesystem document. Running, Sleeping, uninterruptible sleep, Zombie, Traced/stopped.

Table 1-4 mentions jiffie time counters for user, kernel, user w/childs, and kernel w/childs, but no mention of jiffies in state.

Are there standard counters that track time spent in these states?


in /proc/[pid]/stat there are user (utime), kernel (stime), and guest(gtime) counters measured in jiffies.

Do process counters exist for time spent in states: [R]unning, [S]leeping, [D]eep sleeping in an uninterruptible wait, [Z]ombie, [T]raced or stopped measured in jiffies?

  • When you ask if there are standard counters, I'm assuming you mean on a per process basis right? Not just the cpu counter jiffies, in /proc/stat?
    – slm
    Apr 23, 2013 at 3:59
  • Not sure if this info helps or not but it seemed relevant to the question: link1 & link2
    – slm
    Apr 23, 2013 at 4:02
  • What exactly do you want to know, and what for? Also note that the zombie state means that the process finished, but the parent hasn't retrieved its exit status yet. It isn't attributable to the process, but to its parent.
    – vonbrand
    Apr 23, 2013 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


Having though more about my question I think I can answer my question.

[R]unning state is tracked as user mode(utime) and kernel mode(stime) as it requires cycles. Sleep/idle time can (sort of) be calculated by subtracting calculated running time in jiffies from start_time, time process started after reboot. This isn't all that reliable assuming the clock frequency is scaling dynamically.

Jiffies are a non-absolute time unit (a tick) depending on clock interrupt frequency. Jiffies are time spent doing something.

I can not find any counter or epoch date reference of when a process enters a non-running state, or the times a state has changed to said non-running state.

  • The counters are in include/linux/sched.h in struct task_struct. They are utime, stime, utimescaled and stimescaled. If kernel is configured for task acct you also have acct_timexpd = stime + utime. You could not find other counters because there aren't any others. The counters are update each clock tick only for the process that was interrupted by the clock tick. Nothing is incremented when a process is swapped out, only the state variables are changed. Apr 24, 2013 at 21:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.