I've recently installed and started using htop instead of the System Monitor included in default Ubuntu installations and I noticed something weird. I arranged htop to display the processes by memory usage and noticed I have 9 instances of GNOME-Shell running, all with different PID's.

Is this normal for GNOME? I never noticed it before on other Ubuntu installs, but to be fair I've never looked either.

1 Answer 1


They are probably threads. Are they consecutive PIDs, and show up in branches under one gnome-shell process when you run ps fx|grep gnome-shell?

This is quite common when a process fork/execs or uses multiple threads.

  • It looks like most of them are consecutive PID's, there are a couple of them that aren't, one sits about a thousand above the others, and the last one appears and disappears, haha. Working as usual then? Mar 20, 2013 at 22:51
  • If these are threads, why do they a different process id (pid)? Nov 8, 2020 at 18:15
  • @AlikElzin-kilaka well because they are forked/execed child processes, and not pure threads in a single process.
    – dobey
    Nov 17, 2020 at 16:19

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