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Old 03-09-2002, 10:42 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2002
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I have on my PC Red Hat 7.1. Iím in process learning Linux now. I have one question. Command top shows the current processes that running and all info about it. However, I donít understand the meaning of two technical words NI and zombie. Does someone can explain to me what that mean?

Old 03-09-2002, 11:56 PM   #2
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A zombie is a process that has ended but has not been cleaned up and removed form the process table. It is possible that it is waiting for a child, sibling or parent to end as well. Still sometimes zombies fail to ever get celaned up.

NI is the processes 'nice' value. A processes nice value dictates how it competes for CPU time. Processes can have a nice value from -19 to 19. Only root can assign a nice value below 0.

If you want a process to run without causing other processes to slow down you can start it with 'nice process'. This will give the process a high nice value, thus giving it CPU time that processes with a lower nice value don't need.

On the other hand, if you don't want your mp3 music to skip on a loaded system you may issue the command as root: 'nice -m -19 mpg123'

Take a look at man nice.


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