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On Debian and Ubuntu (probably on other GNU systems too), when ps lists a process' user, it normally resolves its name, but when a process is running as a user which has a dash in its name, the user's numeric ID is shown instead. I think this is very annoying.

Is there a reason for this behavior or is this a bug and needs to be reported?

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I can't say I've ever noticed this, are you talking about the UID column ? –  Iain Apr 13 '12 at 11:38
    
@lain yes, for example in ps au or ps -ef –  aef Apr 13 '12 at 11:53
    
I don't see this. For example: www-data 20183 27367 0 Feb28 ? 00:02:45 nginx: worker process www-data 20184 27367 0 Feb28 ? 00:02:58 nginx: worker process www-data 20185 27367 0 Feb28 ? 00:02:50 nginx: worker process www-data 20186 27367 0 Feb28 ? 00:02:48 nginx: worker process –  cjc Apr 13 '12 at 11:54
    
Do you have some weird alias or format option set? –  cjc Apr 13 '12 at 11:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"ps" displays the UID number if the user name is too long for the display, On Debian systems which include the "Debian-exim" user it is common to see this as the UID instead. This is probably what you're seeing. The presence of a '-' is a red herring here, and it happens everywhere that uses procps, not just Debian and Ubuntu:

http://procps.sourceforge.net/faq.html

"Why do long usernames get printed as numbers?"

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This had actually nothing to do with the dashes but with the length of the user names. Thanks for the information. –  aef Aug 7 '12 at 13:51

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