Chapter 31. Displaying the priority for a process

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You can display information about the priority of a process and information about the scheduling policy for a process using the sched_getattr attribute.


  • You have administrator privileges.

31.1. The chrt utility

The chrt utility checks and adjusts scheduler policies and priorities. It can start new processes with the desired properties or change the properties of a running process.

Additional resources

  • chrt(1) man page

31.2. Displaying the process priority using the chrt utility

You can display the current scheduling policy and scheduling priority for a specified process.


  • Run the chrt utility with the -p option, specifying a running process.

    # chrt -p 468
    pid 468's current scheduling policy: SCHED_FIFO
    pid 468's current scheduling priority: 85
    # chrt -p 476
    pid 476's current scheduling policy: SCHED_OTHER
    pid 476's current scheduling priority: 0

31.3. Displaying the process priority using sched_getscheduler()

Real-time processes use a set of functions to control policy and priority. You can use the sched_getscheduler() function to display the scheduler policy for a specified process.


  1. Create the get_sched.c source file and open it in a text editor.

    $ {EDITOR} get_sched.c
  2. Add the following lines into the file.

    #include <sched.h>
    #include <unistd.h>
    #include <stdio.h>
    int main()
      int policy;
      pid_t pid = getpid();
      policy = sched_getscheduler(pid);
      printf("Policy for pid %ld is %i.\n", (long) pid, policy);
      return 0;

    The policy variable holds the scheduler policy for the specified process.

  3. Compile the program.

    $ gcc get_sched.c -o get_sched
  4. Run the program with varying policies.

    $ chrt -o 0 ./get_sched
    Policy for pid 27240 is 0.
    $ chrt -r 10 ./get_sched
    Policy for pid 27243 is 2.
    $ chrt -f 10 ./get_sched
    Policy for pid 27245 is 1.

Additional resources

  • sched_getscheduler(2) man page

31.4. Displaying the valid range for a scheduler policy

You can use the sched_get_priority_min() and sched_get_priority_max() functions to check the valid priority range for a given scheduler policy.


  1. Create the sched_get.c source file and open it in a text editor.

    $ {EDITOR} sched_get.c
  2. Enter the following into the file:

    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <unistd.h>
    #include <sched.h>
    int main()
      printf("Valid priority range for SCHED_OTHER: %d - %d\n",
      printf("Valid priority range for SCHED_FIFO: %d - %d\n",
      printf("Valid priority range for SCHED_RR: %d - %d\n",
      return 0;

    If the specified scheduler policy is not known by the system, the function returns -1 and errno is set to EINVAL.


    Both SCHED_FIFO and SCHED_RR can be any number within the range of 1 to 99. POSIX is not guaranteed to honor this range, however, and portable programs should use these functions.

  3. Save the file and exit the editor.
  4. Compile the program.

    $ gcc sched_get.c -o msched_get

The sched_get program is now ready and can be run from the directory in which it is saved.

Additional resources

  • sched_get_priority_min(2) man page
  • sched_get_priority_max(2) man page

31.5. Displaying the timeslice for a process

The SCHED_RR (round-robin) policy differs slightly from the SCHED_FIFO (first-in, first-out) policy. SCHED_RR allocates concurrent processes that have the same priority in a round-robin rotation. In this way, each process is assigned a timeslice. The sched_rr_get_interval() function reports the timeslice allocated to each process.


Though POSIX requires that this function must work only with processes that are configured to run with the SCHED_RR scheduler policy, the sched_rr_get_interval() function can retrieve the timeslice length of any process on Linux.

Timeslice information is returned as a timespec. This is the number of seconds and nanoseconds since the base time of 00:00:00 GMT, 1 January 1970:

struct timespec {
  time_t tv_sec;  /* seconds / long tv_nsec; / nanoseconds */


  1. Create the sched_timeslice.c source file and open it in a text editor.

    $ {EDITOR} sched_timeslice.c
  2. Add the following lines to the sched_timeslice.c file.

    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <sched.h>
    int main()
       struct timespec ts;
       int ret;
       /* real apps must check return values */
       ret = sched_rr_get_interval(0, &ts);
       printf("Timeslice: %lu.%lu\n", ts.tv_sec, ts.tv_nsec);
       return 0;
  3. Save the file and exit the editor.
  4. Compile the program.

    $ gcc sched_timeslice.c -o sched_timeslice
  5. Run the program with varying policies and priorities.

    $ chrt -o 0 ./sched_timeslice
    Timeslice: 0.38994072
    $ chrt -r 10 ./sched_timeslice
    Timeslice: 0.99984800
    $ chrt -f 10 ./sched_timeslice
    Timeslice: 0.0

Additional resources

  • nice(2) man page
  • getpriority(2) man page
  • setpriority(2) man page

31.6. Displaying the scheduling policy and associated attributes for a process

The sched_getattr() function queries the scheduling policy currently applied to the specified process, identified by PID. If PID equals to zero, the policy of the calling process is retrieved.

The size argument should reflect the size of the sched_attr structure as known to userspace. The kernel fills out sched_attr::size to the size of its sched_attr structure.

If the input structure is smaller, the kernel returns values outside the provided space. As a result, the system call fails with an E2BIG error. The other sched_attr fields are filled out as described in The sched_attr structure.


  1. Create the sched_timeslice.c source file and open it in a text editor.

    $ {EDITOR} sched_timeslice.c
  2. Add the following lines to the sched_timeslice.c file.

    #define _GNU_SOURCE
    #include <unistd.h>
    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <stdlib.h>
    #include <string.h>
    #include <time.h>
    #include <linux/unistd.h>
    #include <linux/kernel.h>
    #include <linux/types.h>
    #include <sys/syscall.h>
    #include <pthread.h>
    #define gettid() syscall(__NR_gettid)
    #define SCHED_DEADLINE    6
    /* XXX use the proper syscall numbers */
    #ifdef __x86_64__
    #define __NR_sched_setattr        314
    #define __NR_sched_getattr        315
    struct sched_attr {
         __u32 size;
         __u32 sched_policy;
         __u64 sched_flags;
         __s32 sched_nice;
         /* SCHED_FIFO, SCHED_RR */
         __u32 sched_priority;
         /* SCHED_DEADLINE (nsec) */
         __u64 sched_runtime;
         __u64 sched_deadline;
         __u64 sched_period;
    int sched_getattr(pid_t pid,
               struct sched_attr *attr,
               unsigned int size,
               unsigned int flags)
         return syscall(__NR_sched_getattr, pid, attr, size, flags);
    int main (int argc, char **argv)
         struct sched_attr attr;
         unsigned int flags = 0;
         int ret;
         ret = sched_getattr(0, &attr, sizeof(attr), flags);
         if (ret < 0) {
         printf("main thread pid=%ld\n", gettid());
         printf("main thread policy=%ld\n", attr.sched_policy);
         printf("main thread nice=%ld\n", attr.sched_nice);
         printf("main thread priority=%ld\n", attr.sched_priority);
         printf("main thread runtime=%ld\n", attr.sched_runtime);
         printf("main thread deadline=%ld\n", attr.sched_deadline);
         printf("main thread period=%ld\n", attr.sched_period);
         return 0;
  3. Compile the sched_timeslice.c file.

    $ gcc sched_timeslice.c -o sched_timeslice
  4. Check the output of the sched_timeslice program.

    $ ./sched_timeslice
    main thread pid=321716
    main thread policy=6
    main thread nice=0
    main thread priority=0
    main thread runtime=1000000
    main thread deadline=9000000
    main thread period=10000000

31.7. The sched_attr structure

The sched_attr structure contains or defines a scheduling policy and its associated attributes for a specified thread. The sched_attr structure has the following form:

    struct sched_attr {
     u32 size;
     u32 sched_policy
     u64 sched_flags
     s32 sched_nice
     u32 sched_priority

     /* SCHED_DEADLINE fields */
               u64 sched_runtime
               u64 sched_deadline
               u64 sched_period

sched_attr data structure


The thread size in bytes. If the size of the structure is smaller than the kernel structure, additional fields are then assumed to be 0. If the size is larger than the kernel structure, the kernel verifies all additional fields as 0.


The sched_setattr() function fails with E2BIG error when sched_attr structure is larger than the kernel structure and updates size to contain the size of the kernel structure.

The scheduling policy

Helps control scheduling behavior when a process forks using the fork() function. The calling process is referred to as the parent process, and the new process is referred to as the child process. Valid values:

  • 0: The child process inherits the scheduling policy from the parent process.
  • SCHED_FLAG_RESET_ON_FORK: fork(): The child process does not inherit the scheduling policy from the parent process. Instead, it is set to the default scheduling policy (struct sched_attr){ .sched_policy = SCHED_OTHER, }.
Specifies the nice value to be set when using SCHED_OTHER or SCHED_BATCH scheduling policies. The nice value is a number in a range from -20 (high priority) to +19 (low priority).
Specifies the static priority to be set when scheduling SCHED_FIFO or SCHED_RR. For other policies, specify priority as 0.

SCHED_DEADLINE fields must be specified only for deadline scheduling:

  • sched_runtime: Specifies the runtime parameter for deadline scheduling. The value is expressed in nanoseconds.
  • sched_deadline: Specifies the deadline parameter for deadline scheduling. The value is expressed in nanoseconds.
  • sched_period: Specifies the period parameter for deadline scheduling. The value is expressed in nanoseconds.
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