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Linux in a Nutshell

This directory of Linux commands is from Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.

Click on any of the 687 commands below to get a description and list of available options. All links in the command summaries point to the online version of the book on Safari Bookshelf.

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killall [options] names

Kill processes by command name. If more than one process is running the specified command, kill all of them. Treats command names that contain a / as files; kill all processes that are executing that file.



Send signal to process (default is TERM). signal may be a name or a number. The most commonly used signal is 9, which terminates processes no matter what.


Require an exact match to kill very long names (i.e., longer than 15 characters). Normally, killall kills everything that matches within the first 15 characters. With -e, such entries are skipped. (Use -v to print a message for each skipped entry.)


Kill the process group to which the process belongs.


Prompt for confirmation before killing processes.


List known signal names.


Quiet; do not complain of processes not killed.


Verbose; after killing process, report success and process ID.


Print version information.


Wait for all killed processes to die. Note that killall may wait forever if the signal was ignored or had no effect, or if the process stays in zombie state.

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