ps showing [appname] for some things -- how to get whole thing?

Chuck Swiger cswiger at
Wed Mar 7 18:34:15 UTC 2007

On Mar 7, 2007, at 2:49 AM, Chad Leigh -- Shire.Net LLC wrote:
> On my 6.1 system I have a script that launches some java programs  
> [jdk142] and when I do a "ps -auxwww" I get the whole java command  
> line that was used in launching.
> On my 6.2 system with jdk15 teh scame scripts launch the same java  
> programs but I just get [java] in the ps output.  Nothing in the ps  
> manpage jumped out at me.  I would like to be able to get the whole  
> commandline when I do the ps

 From the manpage:

      When printing using the command keyword, a process that has  
exited and
      has a parent that has not yet waited for the process (in other  
words, a
      zombie) is listed as ``<defunct>'', and a process which is  
blocked while
      trying to exit is listed as ``<exiting>''.  If the command  
vector cannot
      be located (usually because it has not been set, as is the case  
of system
      processes and/or kernel threads) the command name is printed  
      square brackets.  The ps utility makes an educated guess as to  
the file
      name and arguments given when the process was created by  
examining memory
      or the swap area.  The method is inherently somewhat unreliable  
and in
      any event a process is entitled to destroy this information, so  
the names
      cannot be depended on too much.  The ucomm (accounting) keyword  
can, how-
      ever, be depended on.

In other words, the process is allowed to over-write the environment  
(aka, the command line args & exported env variables) and that will  
prevent ps from reliably returning that info.  All you can be sure of  
it getting argv[0], which is used for accounting in the ucomm  


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