GETPRIORITY(2) Linux Programmers Manual GETPRIORITY(2)
getpriority, setpriority - get/set program scheduling priority
int getpriority(int which, int who);
int setpriority(int which, int who, int prio);
The scheduling priority of the process, process group, or user, as
indicated by which and who is obtained with the getpriority() call and
set with the setpriority() call.
The value which is one of PRIO_PROCESS, PRIO_PGRP, or PRIO_USER, and
who is interpreted relative to which (a process identifier for
PRIO_PROCESS, process group identifier for PRIO_PGRP, and a user ID for
PRIO_USER). A zero value for who denotes (respectively) the calling
process, the process group of the calling process, or the real user ID
of the calling process. Prio is a value in the range -20 to 19 (but
see the Notes below). The default priority is 0; lower priorities
cause more favorable scheduling.
The getpriority() call returns the highest priority (lowest numerical
value) enjoyed by any of the specified processes. The setpriority()
call sets the priorities of all of the specified processes to the spec
ified value. Only the superuser may lower priorities.
Since getpriority() can legitimately return the value -1, it is neces
sary to clear the external variable errno prior to the call, then check
it afterwards to determine if -1 is an error or a legitimate value.
The setpriority() call returns 0 if there is no error, or -1 if there
EINVAL which was not one of PRIO_PROCESS, PRIO_PGRP, or PRIO_USER.
ESRCH No process was located using the which and who values specified.
In addition to the errors indicated above, setpriority() may fail if:
EACCES The caller attempted to lower a process priority, but did not
have the required privilege (on Linux: did not have the
CAP_SYS_NICE capability). Since Linux 2.6.12, this error only
occurs if the caller attempts to set a process priority outside
the range of the RLIMIT_NICE soft resource limit of the target
process; see getrlimit(2) for details.
EPERM A process was located, but its effective user ID did not match
either the effective or the real user ID of the caller, and was
not privileged (on Linux: did not have the CAP_SYS_NICE capabil
ity). But see NOTES below.
SVr4, 4.4BSD (these function calls first appeared in 4.2BSD),
A child created by fork(2) inherits its parents nice value. The nice
value is preserved across execve(2).
The degree to which their relative nice value affects the scheduling of
processes varies across Unix systems, and, on Linux, across kernel ver
sions. Starting with kernel 2.6.23, Linux adopted an algorithm that
causes relative differences in nice values to have a much stronger
effect. This causes very low nice values (+19) to truly provide little
CPU to a process whenever there is any other higher priority load on
the system, and makes high nice values (-20) deliver most of the CPU to
applications that require it (e.g., some audio applications).
The details on the condition for EPERM depend on the system. The above
description is what POSIX.1-2001 says, and seems to be followed on all
System V-like systems. Linux kernels before 2.6.12 required the real
or effective user ID of the caller to match the real user of the pro
cess who (instead of its effective user ID). Linux 2.6.12 and later
require the effective user ID of the caller to match the real or effec
tive user ID of the process who. All BSD-like systems (SunOS 4.1.3,
Ultrix 4.2, 4.3BSD, FreeBSD 4.3, OpenBSD-2.5, ...) behave in the same
manner as Linux 2.6.12 and later.
The actual priority range varies between kernel versions. Linux before
1.3.36 had -infinity..15. Since kernel 1.3.43 Linux has the range
-20..19. Within the kernel, nice values are actually represented using
the corresponding range 40..1 (since negative numbers are error codes)
and these are the values employed by the setpriority() and getprior
ity() system calls. The glibc wrapper functions for these system calls
handle the translations between the user-land and kernel representa
tions of the nice value according to the formula unice = 20 - knice.
On some systems, the range of nice values is -20..20.
Including is not required these days, but increases porta
bility. (Indeed, defines the rusage structure with
fields of type struct timeval defined in .)
nice(1), fork(2), capabilities(7), renice(8)
Documentation/scheduler/sched-nice-design.txt in the kernel source tree
(since Linux 2.6.23).
This page is part of release 3.05 of the Linux man-pages project. A
description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.
Linux 2008-05-29 GETPRIORITY(2)