Process priorities

Jeroen Coumans jeroencoumans at
Sat Mar 15 00:01:48 PST 2003

Frank Gore wrote:
> How can I allow users other than root to set higher priorities on processes? 
> For example, if I wanted to run mpg123 as a normal user but set the priority 
> to -20 by using "nice". Currently, any -n options below 0 give me the 
> following error message:
> nice: cannot set priority: Permission denied
> But it works fine as root.
> Also, is it possible to change the process priority while it's running?
> Frank

Short of setting the uid bit on nice or renice (chmod 4750 && chown 
root.wheel), there's no way. It's even in the manpage that it's supposed 
to run by root.

man nice & man renice

<rant> the next linux kernel (2.5.x) has been greatly tweaked & modified 
so renicing manually isn't necessary anymore. There's a great article at with all the gory details; quite interesting! 
It also explains that renicing a process to a higher priority is 
actually a bad idea (from a developers perspective o/c). Anyway, there 
are some great patches at which you can also try 
for interactivity and latency.</rant>

Jeroen Coumans

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