|NICE(1P)||POSIX Programmer's Manual||NICE(1P)|
nice [-n increment] utility [argument...]
The following option is supported:
- -n increment
- A positive or negative decimal integer which shall have the same effect on the execution of the utility as if the utility had called the nice() function with the numeric value of the increment option-argument.
- The name of a utility that is to be invoked. If the utility operand names any of the special built-in utilities in Section 2.14, Special Built-In Utilities, the results are undefined.
- Any string to be supplied as an argument when invoking the utility named by the utility operand.
- Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Section 8.2, Internationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)
- If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.
- Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments).
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.
- Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES.
- Determine the search path used to locate the utility to be invoked. See the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Chapter 8, Environment Variables.
- An error occurred in the nice utility.
- The utility specified by utility was found but could not be invoked.
- The utility specified by utility could not be found.
The following sections are informative.
- nice utility
Run utility with the default higher or equal nice value.
- nice -n <positive integer> utility
Run utility with a higher nice value.
On some implementations they have no discernible effect on the invoked utility and on some others they are exactly equivalent.
Historical systems have frequently supported the <positive integer> up to 20. Since there is no error penalty associated with guessing a number that is too high, users without access to the system conformance document (to see what limits are actually in place) could use the historical 1 to 20 range or attempt to use very large numbers if the job should be truly low priority.
The nice value of a process can be displayed using the command:
ps -o nice
The command, env, nice, nohup, time, and xargs utilities have been specified to use exit code 127 if an error occurs so that applications can distinguish ``failure to find a utility'' from ``invoked utility exited with an error indication''. The value 127 was chosen because it is not commonly used for other meanings; most utilities use small values for ``normal error conditions'' and the values above 128 can be confused with termination due to receipt of a signal. The value 126 was chosen in a similar manner to indicate that the utility could be found, but not invoked. Some scripts produce meaningful error messages differentiating the 126 and 127 cases. The distinction between exit codes 126 and 127 is based on KornShell practice that uses 127 when all attempts to exec the utility fail with [ENOENT], and uses 126 when any attempt to exec the utility fails for any other reason.
When a user without appropriate privileges gives a negative increment, System V treats it like the command nice -0 utility, while 4.3 BSD writes a ``permission denied'' message and does not run the utility. The standard specifies the System V behavior together with an optional BSD-style ``permission denied'' message.
The C shell has a built-in version of nice that has a different interface from the one described in this volume of POSIX.1‐2017.
The term ``utility'' is used, rather than ``command'', to highlight the fact that shell compound commands, pipelines, and so on, cannot be used. Special built-ins also cannot be used. However, ``utility'' includes user application programs and shell scripts, not just utilities defined in this volume of POSIX.1‐2017.
Historical implementations of nice provide a nice value range of 40 or 41 discrete steps, with the default nice value being the midpoint of that range. By default, they raise the nice value of the executed utility by 10.
Some historical documentation states that the increment value must be within a fixed range. This is misleading; the valid increment values on any invocation are determined by the current process nice value, which is not always the default.
The definition of nice value is not intended to suggest that all processes in a system have priorities that are comparable. Scheduling policy extensions such as the realtime priorities in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2017 make the notion of a single underlying priority for all scheduling policies problematic. Some implementations may implement the nice-related features to affect all processes on the system, others to affect just the general time-sharing activities implied by this volume of POSIX.1‐2017, and others may have no effect at all. Because of the use of ``implementation-defined'' in nice and renice, a wide range of implementation strategies are possible.
Earlier versions of this standard allowed a -increment option. This form is no longer specified by POSIX.1‐2008 but may be present in some implementations.
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Section 3.244, Nice Value, Chapter 8, Environment Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines
The System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2017, nice()
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|2017||IEEE/The Open Group|