How to get the pid of the last executed command that was sent to the background in a bash shell

Recently we came to the need of writing a bash script that needed periodically to check if a specific process, that was started by the script, had ended and restart it (something like watchdog but with not so many features).

To achieve this, we used the one of the shell special parameters, the $!. Like all other special parameters $! may only be referenced and the user cannot make an assignment to it.

($!) Expands to the process ID of the job most recently placed into the background, whether executed as an asynchronous command or using the bg builtin command.


Example of Usage

In this example we wanted to get the PID of the application called server to be used later on in the script.

server &
echo $!; #This will print the process ID of the 'server' application

C/C++: Set Affinity to process thread – Example Code 1

The following code sets the affinity of the process thread to a specific CPU core.
In this example, we define the CPU core id using the variable core_id.

Full source code available here affinity.c (compressed) (246 downloads)

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#define __USE_GNU
#include <sched.h>
#include <errno.h>
#include <unistd.h>

// The <errno.h> header file defines the integer variable errno, which is set by system calls and some library functions in the event of an error to indicate what went wrong.
#define print_error_then_terminate(en, msg) \
  do { errno = en; perror(msg); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); } while (0)

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {

  // We want to camp on the 2nd CPU. The ID of that core is #1.
  const int core_id = 1;
  const pid_t pid = getpid();

  // cpu_set_t: This data set is a bitset where each bit represents a CPU.
  cpu_set_t cpuset;
  // CPU_ZERO: This macro initializes the CPU set set to be the empty set.
  // CPU_SET: This macro adds cpu to the CPU set set.
  CPU_SET(core_id, &cpuset);

  // sched_setaffinity: This function installs the cpusetsize bytes long affinity mask pointed to by cpuset for the process or thread with the ID pid. If successful the function returns zero and the scheduler will in future take the affinity information into account. 
  const int set_result = sched_setaffinity(pid, sizeof(cpu_set_t), &cpuset);
  if (set_result != 0) {

    print_error_then_terminate(set_result, "sched_setaffinity");

  // Check what is the actual affinity mask that was assigned to the thread.
  // sched_getaffinity: This functions stores the CPU affinity mask for the process or thread with the ID pid in the cpusetsize bytes long bitmap pointed to by cpuset. If successful, the function always initializes all bits in the cpu_set_t object and returns zero.
  const int get_affinity = sched_getaffinity(pid, sizeof(cpu_set_t), &cpuset);
  if (get_affinity != 0) {

    print_error_then_terminate(get_affinity, "sched_getaffinity");

  // CPU_ISSET: This macro returns a nonzero value (true) if cpu is a member of the CPU set set, and zero (false) otherwise. 
  if (CPU_ISSET(core_id, &cpuset)) {

    fprintf(stdout, "Successfully set thread %d to affinity to CPU %d\n", pid, core_id);
  } else {

    fprintf(stderr, "Failed to set thread %d to affinity to CPU %d\n", pid, core_id);

  return 0;

To compile we used the following command

gcc -Wall affinity.c -o affinity;

Full source code available here affinity.c (compressed) (246 downloads)

For a full pthread example please visit this link.