SETPROCTITLE(3) BSD Library Functions Manual SETPROCTITLE(3)
setproctitle -- set process title
setproctitle(const char *fmt, ...);
The setproctitle() library routine sets the process title that appears on the ps(1) command.
The title is set from the executable's name, followed by the result of a printf(3) style
expansion of the arguments as specified by the fmt argument. If the fmt argument begins
with a ``-'' character, the executable's name is skipped.
If fmt is NULL, the process title is restored.
To set the title on a daemon to indicate its activity:
setproctitle("talking to %s", inet_ntoa(addr));
ps(1), w(1), kvm(3), kvm_getargv(3), printf(3)
The setproctitle() function is implicitly non-standard. Other methods of causing the ps(1)
command line to change, including copying over the argv string are also implicitly non-
portable. It is preferable to use an operating system supplied setproctitle() if present.
Unfortunately, it is possible that there are other calling conventions to other versions of
setproctitle(), although none have been found by the author as yet. This is believed to be
the predominant convention.
It is thought that the implementation is compatible with other systems, including NetBSD and
The setproctitle() function first appeared in FreeBSD 2.2. Other operating systems have
Peter Wemm <peter@FreeBSD.org> stole the idea from the Sendmail 8.7.3 source code by Eric
Never pass a string with user-supplied data as a format without using '%s'. An attacker can
put format specifiers in the string to mangle your stack, leading to a possible security
hole. This holds true even if the string was built using a function like snprintf(), as the
resulting string may still contain user-supplied conversion specifiers for later interpola-
tion by setproctitle().
Always use the proper secure idiom:
BSD December 16, 1995 BSD