Kill Runaway Linux Processes
This is a brief explanation of how to find and kill processes in Linux using Thunderbird as an example.
Thunderbird has locked up and refuses to time. Force quitting the application using the Force Quit menu applet in Ubuntu (or whatever) appears to close program, but when you attempt to relaunch Thunderbird you are told it is already running. Somewhere you have a runaway process.
Get Your Numeric User Id
This will return a string containing all your user and group information. You are looking for the number from this part:
It should be at the very beginning.
List the Processes You are Running
ps -u $(whoami) -f
This will probably return a large unwieldy list. It might be more manageable if you pipe it to
or even narrow the results with
Make Output More Manageable With Less
ps -u $(whoami) -f | less
Narrow it Down With Grep
Since in this case we know the binary's name involves the word thunderbird, we'll just grep for that.
ps -u $(whoami) -f | grep thunderbird
This will return a result something like this:
username 3404 1 1 10:48 ? 00:00:32 /usr/lib/thunderbird-3.1.12/thunderbird-bin username 3681 3367 0 11:22 pts/2 00:00:00 grep --color=auto thunderbird #
The second column is the pid, which is the number we want to pass to kill.
Kill the Process
Note that the pid won't always be 3404. 3404 is just what it happened to be in the case of this example. It nearly always be a different number each time.
In our example there are two processes returned: 3404 and 3681. We're not worried about 3681 because that's just the grep command we ran to filter our results. There's no need to kill that, it's already done.
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