What does ps do?

ps is process status 

-r only returns running processes 
-a processes with a tty 
-x processes without controlling ttys 
-f generates a full listing

a = show processes for all users
u = display the process’s user/owner
x = also show processes not attached to a terminal

ps aux seems to conveniently list all processes and their status and resource usage

 

Example

$ ps aux | head -10
USER       PID %CPU %MEM    VSZ   RSS TTY      STAT START   TIME COMMAND
root         1  0.0  0.0  51120  2796 ?        Ss   Dec22   0:09 /usr/lib/systemd/systemd --system --deserialize 22
root         2  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        S    Dec22   0:00 [kthreadd]
root         3  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        S    Dec22   0:04 [ksoftirqd/0]
root         5  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        S<   Dec22   0:00 [kworker/0:0H]
root         7  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        S    Dec22   0:15 [migration/0]
root         8  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        S    Dec22   0:00 [rcu_bh]
root         9  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        S    Dec22   2:47 [rcu_sched]
...
saml      3015  0.0  0.0 117756   596 pts/2    Ss   Dec22   0:00 bash
saml      3093  0.9  4.1 1539436 330796 ?      Sl   Dec22  70:16 /usr/lib64/thunderbird/thunderbird
saml      3873  0.0  0.1 1482432 8628 ?        Sl   Dec22   0:02 gvim -f
root      5675  0.0  0.0 124096   412 ?        Ss   Dec22   0:02 /usr/sbin/crond -n
root      5777  0.0  0.0  51132  1068 ?        Ss   Dec22   0:08 /usr/sbin/wpa_supplicant -u -f /var/log/wpa_supplica
saml      5987  0.7  1.5 1237740 119876 ?      Sl   Dec26  14:05 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=renderer --lang=en-
root      6115  0.0  0.0      0     0 ?        S    Dec27   0:06 [kworker/0:2]
...

With the above switches you’ll get output regarding your processes like above.

The switches aux will show you:

  • all the users’ processes
  • show you the process listed in a user oriented fashion (by user names)
  • show you all processes, not just ones attached to a terminal. This will include processes such as services like crond, upowerd, etc.