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Manual Pages  — GETPRIORITY


getpriority, setpriority – get/set program scheduling priority



Standard C Library (libc, -lc)


#include <sys/time.h>
#include <sys/resource.h>

getpriority(int which, int who);

setpriority(int which, int who, int prio);


The scheduling priority of the process, process group, or user, as indicated by which and who is obtained with the getpriority() system call and set with the setpriority() system call. The which argument is one of PRIO_PROCESS, PRIO_PGRP, or PRIO_USER, and who is interpreted relative to which (a process identifier for PRIO_PROCESS, process group identifier for PRIO_PGRP, and a user ID for PRIO_USER). A zero value of who denotes the current process, process group, or user. The prio argument is a value in the range -20 to 20. The default priority is 0; lower priorities cause more favorable scheduling.

The getpriority() system call returns the highest priority (lowest numerical value) enjoyed by any of the specified processes. The setpriority() system call sets the priorities of all of the specified processes to the specified value. Only the super-user may lower priorities.


Since getpriority() can legitimately return the value -1, it is necessary to clear the external variable errno prior to the call, then check it afterward to determine if a -1 is an error or a legitimate value.

The setpriority function returns the value 0 if successful; otherwise the value -1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the error.


The getpriority() and setpriority() system calls will fail if:
  No process was located using the which and who values specified.
  The which argument was not one of PRIO_PROCESS, PRIO_PGRP, or PRIO_USER.

In addition to the errors indicated above, setpriority() will fail if:
  A process was located, but neither its effective nor real user ID matched the effective user ID of the caller.
  A non super-user attempted to lower a process priority.


nice(1), fork(2), renice(8)


The getpriority() system call appeared in BSD 4.2 .

GETPRIORITY (2) June 4, 1993

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