Ctrl-Alt-Delete Task Manager

One of the things I really missed when I moved to Linux was hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete and bringing up the Task Manager. Okay, maybe I didn’t miss it so much, programs don’t hang anywhere near as often on Linux, but when they did I found hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete brought up the log out message on my distro.

If all you are looking for is the Task Manager, then open the System Monitor. You can end processes from there.  If you want to know a little bit more, read on…

What is a process? A process is the execution of a command by the Linux kernel. The parent process is called init. Type pstree in the terminal and you’ll see something like the following:

You’re more likely to use the ps command to see processes.

Typing ps in its own will show the processes associated with the user in the current terminal.

Here the only processes running are terminal and the ps command itself.  Notice each process has a PID or Process Identification number associated with it.

ps -e will show every process running. This will produce a long list, so you’ll probably want to use grep to find the process you’re looking for.  Suppose you were looking for nautilus –

ps -e | grep naut
2103   ?   00:00:04     nautilus

You can see from above that the nautilus PID is 2103.  Suppose you want to kill the process.  A little research might suggest that

kill 2103

will kill the process.  Actually, it won’t.  The kill command doesn’t kill a process: it sends a SIGTERM signal to the process asking it to terminate itself.  This gives the process time to clear up behind itself before it goes.

kill -9 2103
will send a SIGKILL signal, terminating the process immediately.

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