Is there any magic command to track down which process is starting this perl task that is eating 100% of CPU time? I have this problem on several machines where JBoss AS is installed.

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  • Does freebsd know the renice command? You could at least make it run a bit slower. – ott-- Jul 19 '13 at 9:41
  • With what uid is that process running? The same as apache? – ott-- Jul 20 '13 at 18:01

You can use procstat on FreeBSD.

procstat $PID

gives you the an overview of the process for example

 PID  PPID  PGID   SID  TSID THR LOGIN    WCHAN     EMUL          COMM        
8898  8894  1977  1977     0   6 tant     usem      FreeBSD ELF64 chrome

The PPID is the ID of the parrent process which might have started the process.


procstat -f $PID

you get the files opened by the $PID

procstat -c $PID

gives the arguments of that process.

The process looks suspicious. There is no /usr/bin/javad you should check if this process really opens this file or if the program has overwritten the first argument.

  • procstat says that this perl process (PID 38181 in this example) PPID is 1 which is /sbin/init. procstat -f shows that none file is open by this process. procstat -c shows this argument: /usr/bin/javad. – Mark Zakred Jul 19 '13 at 11:37
  • @MarkZakred OK ether the program was started with as a background process or the starting process has finished. Could you give the whole out put of procstat -c? – Raphael Ahrens Jul 19 '13 at 11:39
  • @MarkZakred Also add the output of procstat -f. – Raphael Ahrens Jul 19 '13 at 11:52
  • Here you go: ideone.com/lq3EPw – Mark Zakred Jul 19 '13 at 12:29
  • Mhh this looks really fishy! – Raphael Ahrens Jul 19 '13 at 12:31

You can see more information about the command by running

ps l 39181

This will show the command's arguments, which will usually include the name of the script that is being run.

If you wish to stay in top, you can press f and select the information fields that you would like to see. Look for the PPID. This is the ID of the process that spawned the perl process.

  • ps l 39181 gives me /usr/bin/javad (perl5.16.2) and ls -la /usr/bin/javad says that ls: /usr/bin/javad: No such file or directory. – Mark Zakred Jul 19 '13 at 6:23
  • also, freebsd's top doesn't have f switch: freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=top&sektion=1 I'd appreciate if you could point me to which one is equivalent to GNU's f in top. Thanks. – Mark Zakred Jul 19 '13 at 6:29
  • @MarkZakred mhhh there shoukld not be a javad in /usr/bin/. – Raphael Ahrens Jul 19 '13 at 10:34

You can do a ps -fp processid to see the parent process. Use ps -fjp pid to see the progress group id and the group id will give you the hierarchy of processes.

Edit: As noted by comments below (and I don't have comment privileges yet), this only works in Linux.

  • The FreeBSD version of ps has a different interpretation of -f here the man page entry: "Show commandline and environment information about swapped out processes. This option is honored only if the UID of the user is 0." – Raphael Ahrens Jul 19 '13 at 12:29
  • ps -jp: ideone.com/MpyIid – Mark Zakred Jul 19 '13 at 12:35

top is the beautiful command which will list all the processes running, % of CPU utilization, % of memory utilization along with all other important information.

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