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Cross-platform job submission for running jobs with the least impact on other jobs - a single, simpler replacement for both nice and renice (and commands such as npri) on all linux/unix machines without having to learn any options, and it's free. It adjusts the scheduling for new or running processes to the "nicest" possible often by working around "interesting features". i.e. nicer is your best way to use up any CPU time that isn't being used and for best interactive performance. It has support for all major unix platforms. This allows users with a single command to submit batch jobs on any platform. There is no need to set up a queueing system, no learning the often 'intricate' details of a vendors scheduling system, and the variety of built-in and vendor nice/renice syntax. Jobs get submitted (like nice) or rescheduled (like renice) with the same command "nicer" without the need for any flags or job length deadlines. This keeps the user interface constant while getting the highest performance for concurrent interactive and batch jobs for each architecture.

Batch queue-less system

You may not have or want to have a batch queueing system installed on your machines. In this case, you can use nicer as part of a easy to use non-queued batch system with 3 priority levels:

Priority Use without nicer with nicer 1.3with nicer 1.4
1 interactive and short jobs command commandcommand
2 medium term jobs nice command nice commandnicer command/PID
renice* ** PID renice* ** PID
3 long jobs nice*** ** command nicer command/PIDnicer command/PID
renice*** * ** PID
npri*** PID
* renice flags vary (depend on platform and shell) so it's best to submit jobs with nice only
**without nicer, users must use nice and renice with non-default flags. These are dependent on platform and shell.
***without nicer, nice and renice may not be the best way to run jobs - npri and other vendor commands are needed to run jobs at "maximum niceness" i.e. exploiting vendor scheduling enhancements
Because of the simplicity and ease of use of this system, it is hoped that

  1. users can share the CPU resource simply and effectively
  2. no user learning curve for the intricacies of a particular batch queueing system
  3. no relying on a central system group for setting up and maintaining an often politically based batch queueing system
  4. no excuse for interactive users to suffer from non-niced jobs.

Bugfix workarounds

nicer contains workarounds for bugs in vendors systems which would otherwise prevent "maximum niceness".


Open Source (free) software - released under a GNU public licence


The latest version can obtained here nicer latest version


Usage Help

Here's the nicer help screen. You will find that nicer is a drop in replacement for nice and renice without even needing to use any flags.
USAGE: nicer [-nobellsandwhistles] [-nice|-renice] PIDs|job

-nice,-renice      force usage like nice or renice - default is automatic
-nobellsandwhistles turn off any bells and whistles (just use nice values)
-help,--version    show this message

EXAMPLES:    nicer cpueater
             nicer 7345 7346 7348
             nicer 012cpueater
             nicer -nice 012
DESCRIPTION: give me the process id(s) of your running process(es)
             or give me the job you want to run.
             I will use the best method for running long jobs on this machine.
             see man nice and man renice for more info.
PLATFORMS:   Linux 2.x ([10].x)
             IRIX64/IRIX 6.[5432] (6.1 6.0x) 5.3 (5.x) 4.0.5H (4.x)
             OSF1/DU V4.0 V3.2 (V[4321].x)
             Solaris/SunOS 5.5 5.4 (5.[76] 5.5.x 5.x)
             ULTRIX 4.4 ([4321].x)
             ESV 2.3 ([21].x)
VERSION:     1.3
AUTHOR:      feedback to
BUGS:        use -nice if job name is only numerical
             /bin/sh is used to run the job which might not be what you want
             any bells and whistles might do bell and whistley type things


If the argument is a number, then nicer acts like renice, else nicer acts like nice. This process is not backgrounded, which might be annoying for very nice jobs you want to ^Z or ^C. The solution is to background the job yourself immediately, rather than backgrounding later. Note that forcing nice may not!


system admin configurable part


To do

Last modified: 10 Aug CEST 2006 Johnny Weare