Strange as it seems, I can't find information how I can set a default nice value for a program (not for a user or a group!). I would like to start all chrome and firefox instances with a nice value of 10. What would be the most appropriate solution?

3 Answers 3


Instead of messing up your /usr/bin and getting hosed every update, why not use a ~/.local/bin ?

## one-time setup
mkdir -p ~/.local/bin
# prepend new path to PATH to give it priority
echo 'PATH=$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
# then open new terminal or
source ~/.bashrc

## create a wrapper script
# $@ is there to passthrough args.
echo 'nice -10' `which firefox` '$@' > ~/.local/bin/firefox
# make it executable
chmod +x ~/.local/bin/firefox

# check sanity
which firefox
cat `which firefox`

You have to work around a bit.

First get the full path of the firefox binary:

which firefox

Now, move that to, for example, firefox-original:

mv /usr/bin/firefox /usr/bin/firefox-original

Now, create a small handler script called /usr/bin/firefox that will be called instead of the original firefox binary:

cat /usr/bin/firefox

exec nice -n 10 /usr/bin/firefox-original "$@"

Finally make the script executable:

chmod 755 /usr/bin/firefox

Now every time Firefox is started, that script executes the binary with a nice value of 10. The $@ just means to pass all the arguments of the script to the binary.

  • This should work. But what happens when I upgrade my firefox package (deb in my case)?
    – helcim
    Apr 17, 2015 at 9:09
  • Yes, thats the problem you have to write the script again in that case, it doesn't survive a package update.
    – chaos
    Apr 17, 2015 at 9:10
  • @helcim another attempt whould be to edit the file /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop: the Exec= line. But that only works when you start firefox in a gui. That whould survive an update.
    – chaos
    Apr 17, 2015 at 9:12
  • 1
    @helcim: For Debian (and derivatives), you should use dpkg-divert to have the package manager put the packaged version elsewhere. Apr 17, 2015 at 9:23
  • 2
    @CameronKerr Good point, didn't think of that. It could be made by dpkg-divert --local --rename --add /usr/bin/firefox --divert /usr/bin/firefox-original. Then the package software places all new versions of the file to /usr/bin/firefox-original, so the problem of an update would be solved.
    – chaos
    Apr 17, 2015 at 9:33

Create a keyboard short-cut that will execute the following command:

nohup firefox & renice +15 $(pgrep firefox)

This should work regardless of whether you upgrade.


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