I'm using the following command to gather the information of child-PID:

top -b -n1 -p 719011,719012,719013,719014,719015,719016,719017 | sed -e 's/USER/----/' -e 's/root/----/' -e 's/PR/--/' -e 's/20/--/' -e 's/VIRT/----/' -e 's/538m/----/' -e 's/RES/---/' -e 's/12m/---/' -e 's/SHR/---/' -e 's/1348/----/' -e 's/NI/--/' -e 's/S/-/' | tail -9 > file1

It works just fine, but is a little long winded! I want to know if there is anyway to gather the information just by using the pPID? Thus saving having to type every child process ID. I don't want the full answer just a pointer in the right direction so I can figure it out myself!

Okay, so I have tidied up the command to:

ps -o pid= --ppid 719008 | top -b -n4 | awk '{print $1,$9,$10,$12}' | tail -9 > file

But instead of giving the output for the child processes I get the output for every process on the system! What am I missing?

$ pstree -p 719008

And the output of pgrep is:

pgrep: option requires an argument -- 'd'
Usage: pgrep [-flvx] [-d DELIM] [-n|-o] [-P PPIDLIST] [-g PGRPLIST] [-s SIDLIST]
  • top doesn't read PIDs from stdin. That's why I use -p $(...) in my answer. – muru Aug 24 '17 at 11:25
  • Please excuse my ignorance, I'm really very new to all this. if I,m understanding correctly the command should be thus : top -p $(pgrep -P 719008 -d,) | awk '{print $1,$9,$10,$12}' | tail -9 > file Or am I taking you to literally? – SimplySimplified Aug 24 '17 at 11:37
  • Yes, plus any additional options you want to give to top: top -b -p $(pgrep -P 719008 -d,) -n4 | awk .... – muru Aug 24 '17 at 11:39
  • When I run top -p with -n4 after the pgrep the result is 'bad pid -n4' and without -n4 the result is '-p argument missing' – SimplySimplified Aug 24 '17 at 11:47
  • So, again: the output of the pgrep and pstree commands you executed, please. – muru Aug 24 '17 at 11:49

You can obtain the direct children of a process using pgrep:

-P, --parent ppid,...
      Only match processes whose parent process ID is listed.


-d, --delimiter delimiter
      Sets  the  string  used to delimit each process ID in the output
      (by default a newline).  (pgrep only.)


top ... -p $(pgrep -P <PPID> -d,) | ...
  • When I use pgrep along with the top command I get error bad pid? Driving me mad!!!! – SimplySimplified Aug 23 '17 at 11:58
  • @SimplySimplified run the pgrep command by itself to see what output it gives. Have you used the correct parent PID? – muru Aug 23 '17 at 11:59
  • I get no output when running both pgrep and ps command you gave below. The ppid is correct, because when I run say a standard pstree -p PID it then brings up the process and it's tree! – SimplySimplified Aug 23 '17 at 12:09
  • @SimplySimplified which version of Ubuntu? – muru Aug 23 '17 at 12:16
  • I'm running 16.04 – SimplySimplified Aug 23 '17 at 12:21

You can use ps to display a list of processes. It understands the --ppid PPIDLIST argument which allows you to filter the processes by a comma-separated list of parent process IDs.

From man ps:

--ppid pidlist

Select by parent process ID. This selects the processes with a parent process ID in pidlist. 
That is, it selects processes that are children of those listed in pidlist. 

So probably you should try something like

ps aux --ppid 12345
  • ps -o pid= --ppid 12345, more like – muru Aug 23 '17 at 8:55

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