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grep processes list avoiding the grep itself

Terminal - grep processes list avoiding the grep itself
ps axu | grep [a]pache2
2012-12-15 19:37:19
User: EBAH
Functions: grep ps
grep processes list avoiding the grep itself

Trick to avoid the form:

grep process | grep - v grep


There are 3 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
ps aux | grep [p]rocess-name
2009-08-13 05:44:45
User: olorin
Functions: grep ps

As an alternative to using an additional grep -v grep you can use a simple regular expression in the search pattern (first letter is something out of the single letter list ;-)) to drop the grep command itself.

pgrep command_name
ps -C command
2009-08-14 15:30:42
User: recursiverse
Functions: ps

preferred way to query ps for a specific process name (not supported with all flavors of ps, but will work on just about any linux afaik)

ps -ef | grep c\\ommand
2011-01-04 11:43:14
User: ioggstream
Functions: grep ps
Tags: grep ps

faster ;) but your idea is really cool

ps -ef | awk '/process-name/ && !/awk/ {print}'
2009-08-19 11:22:09
User: dopeman
Functions: awk ps

This does the same thing as many of the 'grep' based alternatives but allows a more finite control over the output. For example if you only wanted the process ID you could change the command:

ps -ef | awk '/mingetty/ && !/awk/ {print $2}'

If you wanted to kill the returned PID's:

ps -ef | awk '/mingetty/ && !/awk/ {print $2}' | xargs -i kill {}

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

This works:

ps axu | grep apa\\che

double backslash can be anywhere within the pattern

Comment by tedkozma 179 weeks and 3 days ago

I use something like this:

auxer () { ps aux | grep -i "$(echo "$1" | sed "s/^\(.\)\(.*$\)/\[\1\]\2/")" }
Comment by redshadowhero 179 weeks and 2 days ago

Can someone please explain why this works?

Comment by Mikecron 178 weeks and 6 days ago

I found the explanation given by user "leper421" here:


'This works because "[h]ttpd" matches only an "h" followed by "ttpd". The line that is printed by "ps aux" is "[h]ttpd" which includes the brackets, therefor not matching. Clever.'

Comment by Mikecron 178 weeks and 6 days ago

Can also be done with awk:

$ ps axu | awk '/[a]pache2/'

To extract a PID:

$ ps axu | awk '/[a]pache2/ {print $1}'

But wasn't pgrep written to solve this ?

pgrep -l apache2 pgrep apache2
Comment by zlemini 177 weeks and 4 days ago

Hi Mikecron, sorry for late reply, this commands works because of regular expression issues.

When you use square brakets in a regexp it means: a chararcter part of this set.


[a-z]pache: match apache, bpache, cpache, ... , zpache

[a]pache: matches only apache

So when you type the command it filters all the lines containins the word "apache".

If you are able to see the process list (ps -ef) in the exact moment as grep runs you would see a line containing "grep [a]pache".

So why the grep process isn't shown?

Because regexp([a]pache) != string([a]pache)

Hope this is clear. Bye

Comment by EBAH 177 weeks and 3 days ago

Dear zlemini, I admit I didn't know pgrep.

Since I work on a variety of OSes (Linux, Solaris, HP-UX) I tend to be as conservative as possible, so I prefer to use the same command on all the systems instead of variants.

One example above all: one script for all OSes instead of three is easier to maintain.

Anyway I'll have a look to the pgrep, I'm courious.


Comment by EBAH 177 weeks and 3 days ago

Your point of view

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