I am logging into a solaris server, switching to bash, then switching to another user "sruser" and switching to bash.

/home/batch/sruser/ is the home directory of the user "sruser".

The issue is ps is not giving any output when run in the home directory -

# pwd
# ps
# cd dir1
# ps 
 17867 pts/1789 0:00 bash
 17165 pts/1789 0:00 ksh
 20435 pts/1789 0:00 ps

Don't know what could be the issue. Don't even know where to start looking for whatever could be the issue.

  • 3
    Maybe the sruser has . (cwd) in $PATH and a ps executable in his home directory?
    – guido
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 12:22
  • 3
    try type ps or which ps to see what is being executed
    – phunehehe
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 13:05
  • 1
    Hope you didn't run that as root? But how would . end up in root's PATH? Hope you didn't add it there yourself.
    – alex
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 14:31
  • 1
    If type ps shows that /usr/bin/ps is being executed, run truss ps to see what's going on. (But . in $PATH is the most obvious explanation.) Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 21:11
  • @guido Thanks for the answer. @phunehehe @Gilles Thanks to you guys, TIL 3 new commands (I'm a UNIX newb)
    – Srikanth
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


$PATH has .(cwd) and there is a file ps with executable permissions in the home directory.

# ls -lrt *ps*
-rwxrw-r--   1 sruser  batch          0 Jun 2 2010 ps
# type ps
ps is hashed (./ps)
# which ps

Hence the command was not giving any output.

  • "ps" has no executable permission bits set in your ls output. It should then be ignored by the shell while exploring your PATH.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 23, 2011 at 4:46
  • @jlliagre thanks for correcting me. i copied the wrong snippet. it does have a executable permission.
    – Srikanth
    Commented Feb 23, 2011 at 16:54
  • 5
    In any case, having . in your PATH as root is a poor practice but having it before the standard /bin, /usr/bin, sbin directories is quite suicidal.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 23, 2011 at 20:26
  • 4
    Note that the more traditional way to include the current directory in $PATH is with the empty string. PATH=/bin: has the current directory last and PATH=:/bin:/usr/bin has it first. Incidentally, that latter one is the default $PATH (!) on GNU/Linux systems (for execvp, env...) when PATH is unset. Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 22:22

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