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.TH ionice "1" "August 2005" ionice
ionice \- get/set program io scheduling class and priority
.B ionice
[\fI-c\fR] \fI[-n\fR] [\fI-p\fR] [COMMAND [ARG...]]
This program sets the io scheduling class and priority for a program. As of
this writing, Linux supports 3 scheduling classes:
A program running with idle io priority will only get disk time when no other
program has asked for disk io for a defined grace period. The impact of idle
io processes on normal system activity should be zero. This scheduling
class does not take a priority argument. This scheduling class is not
permitted for an ordinary (i.e., non-root) user.
\fBBest effort\fR.
This is the default scheduling class for any process that hasn't asked for
a specific io priority. Programs inherit the CPU nice setting for io
priorities. This class takes a priority argument from \fI0-7\fR, with lower
number being higher priority. Programs running at the same best effort
priority are served in a round-robin fashion.
\fBReal time\fR.
The RT scheduling class is given first access to the disk, regardless of
what else is going on in the system. Thus the RT class needs to be used with
some care, as it can starve other processes. As with the best effort class,
8 priority levels are defined denoting how big a time slice a given process
will receive on each scheduling window. This scheduling class is not
permitted for an ordinary (i.e., non-root) user.
If no arguments or just \fI-p\fR is given, \fIionice\fR will query the
current io scheduling class and priority for that process.
.TP 7
The scheduling class. 1 for real time, 2 for best-effort, 3 for idle.
.TP 7
The scheduling class data. This defines the class data, if the class
accepts an argument. For real time and best-effort, \fI0-7\fR is valid
.TP 7
Pass in a process pid to change an already running process. If this argument
is not given, \fBionice\fP will run the listed program with the given
.TP 7
# \fBionice\fP -c3 -p89
.TP 7
Sets process with PID 89 as an idle io process.
.TP 7
# \fBionice\fP -c2 -n0 bash
.TP 7
Runs 'bash' as a best-effort program with highest priority.
.TP 7
# \fBionice\fP -p89
.TP 7
Returns the class and priority of the process with PID 89.
Linux supports io scheduling priorities and classes since 2.6.13 with the CFQ
io scheduler.
Jens Axboe <>
The ionice command is part of the util-linux-ng package and is available from