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About 25% of my CPU usage is attributed to "nice" which is all coming from one process.

The process in question was not started with nice(1) nor was it adjusted with renice(1) -- at least not manually.

OS is Debian Squeeze. How can I find out what is causing this? Is there some auto-nice mechanism?

Edit: I should add, the process is not calling nice(2) itself either.

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ps auxwwf should be able to tell you where the nice process is coming from. nice really shouldn't be taking 25% of your CPU though, so I'm wondering if you've got some "nasty" program on your computer calling itself "nice". What does ls -l /proc/[nice's pid]/exe point to? – DerfK Nov 3 '11 at 20:40

Was the process set into background using a '&'? some shells will nice things down

Was the process spawned using cron? There at least used to be some parameters that specified how much "niceness" cron jobs were run at?

For a process that is already niced, its sub-processes will take on the parents' nicenicess when fork/exec'd.

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