NICE(2) System Calls NICE(2)

nice - change priority of a process

#include <unistd.h>
int nice(int incr);

The nice() function allows a process to change its priority. The invoking process must be in a scheduling class that supports the nice().

The nice() function adds the value of incr to the nice value of the calling process. A process's nice value is a non-negative number for which a greater positive value results in lower CPU priority.

A maximum nice value of (2 * NZERO) −1 and a minimum nice value of 0 are imposed by the system. NZERO is defined in <limits.h> with a default value of 20. Requests for values above or below these limits result in the nice value being set to the corresponding limit. A nice value of 40 is treated as 39.

Calling the nice() function has no effect on the priority of processes or threads with policy SCHED_FIFO or SCHED_RR.

Only a process with the {PRIV_PROC_PRIOCNTL} privilege can lower the nice value.

Upon successful completion, nice() returns the new nice value minus NZERO. Otherwise, −1 is returned, the process's nice value is not changed, and errno is set to indicate the error.

The nice() function will fail if:


The nice() function is called by a process in a scheduling class other than time-sharing or fixed-priority.


The incr argument is negative or greater than 40 and the {PRIV_PROC_PRIOCNTL} privilege is not asserted in the effective set of the calling process.

The priocntl(2) function is a more general interface to scheduler functions.

Since −1 is a permissible return value in a successful situation, an application wishing to check for error situations should set errno to 0, then call nice(), and if it returns −1, check to see if errno is non-zero.

See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface Stability Standard
MT-Level Async-Signal-Safe

nice(1), exec(2), priocntl(2), getpriority(3C), attributes(7), privileges(7), standards(7)

April 1, 2004 OmniOS