Improving Performance by Modifying Process Priorities

When two programs both want to use the CPU simultaneously, the Linux kernel mediates this dispute, rationing CPU time. One critical question in this rationing system is how much CPU time to give to each process. Linux decides this question by associating a priority with each process. By default, Linux launches programs with a priority of 0. You can, however, change those priorities in one of two ways: You can launch programs with altered priorities or you can change the priority of an already-running process. The two programs that accomplish these tasks most simply are nice and renice, although other tools, including top and the GUI process management tools, can also do this job.

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