Check Java processes on Linux with the jps command |

Check Java processes on Linux with the jps command

With many processes running on a system, it's useful to have a quick way to identify only Java with the jps command.

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On Linux, there are commands to view processes running on your system. A process is any ongoing event being managed by the kernel. A process is spawned when you launch an application, but there are also many other processes running in the background of your computer, including programs to keep your system time accurate, to monitor for new filesystems, to index files, and more. The utilities, such as those included in the procps-ng package, that monitor these processes tend to be intentionally generic. They look at all processes on your computer so you can filter the list based on what you need to know.

On Linux, you can view processes with the ps command. It is the simplest way to view the running processes on your system.

$ ps
    PID TTY          TIME CMD
   4486 pts/0    00:00:00 bash
  66930 pts/0    00:00:00 ps

You can use the ps command to view running Java processes on a system also by piping output to grep.

$ ps ax |grep java
  67604 pts/1    Sl+    0:18 /usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk- -D[Standalone] -server -Xms64m -Xmx512m -XX:MetaspaceSize=96M -XX:MaxMetaspaceSize=256m -Djboss.modules.system.pkgs=org.jboss.byteman -Djava.awt.headless=true --add-exports=java.desktop/sun.awt=ALL-UNNAMED --add-exports=java.naming/com.sun.jndi.ldap=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.lang=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.lang.invoke=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/ --add-opens=java.base/ --add-opens=java.base/java.util=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.naming/javax.naming=ALL-UNNAMED -Dorg.jboss.boot.log.file=/home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1/standalone/log/server.log -Dlogging.configuration=file:/home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1/standalone/configuration/ -jar /home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1/jboss-modules.jar -mp /home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1/modules -Djboss.home.dir=/home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1 -Djboss.server.base.dir=/home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1/standalone

OpenJDK, however, has its very own specific process monitor. The Java Virtual Machine Process Status (jps) tool allows you to scan for each running instance of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) on your system.

To view a similar output as seen in the ps command, use the -v option. This is useful, partly because it requires less typing.

$ jps -v
67604 jboss-modules.jar -D[Standalone] -Xms64m -Xmx512m -XX:MetaspaceSize=96M -XX:MaxMetaspaceSize=256m -Djboss.modules.system.pkgs=org.jboss.byteman -Djava.awt.headless=true --add-exports=java.desktop/sun.awt=ALL-UNNAMED --add-exports=java.naming/com.sun.jndi.ldap=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.lang=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.lang.invoke=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/ --add-opens=java.base/ --add-opens=java.base/java.util=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.naming/javax.naming=ALL-UNNAMED -Dorg.jboss.boot.log.file=/home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1/standalone/log/server.log -Dlogging.configuration=file:/home/alan/wildfly/24.0.1/standalone/configuration/

The default jps output provides the process identifier and the class name or Jar file name of each detected instance.

$ jps
67604 jboss-modules.jar
69430 Jps

Note: The man page for jps states that it is experimental and unsupported. Still, it's a nice-to-have option because often many processes are running on a system, and having a quick way to identify only Java is useful.

Because Java is still a popular language today, being familiar with the Java Development Kit and Runtime Environment remains important. They contain many tools applicable to the development and maintenance of Java applications.

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Manual installation provides the user with the highest level of control over the Java runtime environment.


About the author

Alan Formy-Duval - Alan has 20 years of IT experience, mostly in the Government and Financial sectors. He started as a Value Added Reseller before moving into Systems Engineering. Alan's background is in high-availability clustered apps. He wrote the 'Users and Groups' and 'Apache and the Web Stack' chapters in the Oracle Press/McGraw Hill 'Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration' book. He earned his Master of Science in Information Systems from George Mason University. Alan is a long-time proponent of Open...