Operating Systems Linux Determining Values for NIce and Priority items in limits.conf file Post 302776569 by DGPickett on Wednesday 6th of March 2013 01:50:15 PM
Reading the Googled bits, user priority might not be a working facility in all kernels!

Try some modest numbers like +5 and -5. See if it changes the default nice of a new login process (normally 20) or allows nice --5 (permission to raise your priority to nice=15).

Semantically, the - sign haunting nice comes from the use of "nice -19 ....", which does not say set my nice to 19 or -19, but - says option and 19 is what is added to nice. root can go "nice --19" and get a nice=1 child.
 
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NICE(1) 						    BSD General Commands Manual 						   NICE(1)

NAME
nice -- execute a utility with an altered scheduling priority SYNOPSIS
nice [-n increment] utility [argument ...] DESCRIPTION
nice runs utility at an altered scheduling priority. If an increment is given, it is used; otherwise an increment of 10 is assumed. The super-user can run utilities with priorities higher than normal by using a negative increment. The priority can be adjusted over a range of -20 (the highest) to 20 (the lowest). A priority of 19 or 20 will prevent a process from taking any cycles from others at nice 0 or better. Available options: -n increment A positive or negative decimal integer used to modify the system scheduling priority of utility. EXIT STATUS
The nice utility exits with one of the following values: 1-125 An error occurred in the nice utility. 126 The utility was found but could not be invoked. 127 The utility could not be found. Otherwise, the exit status of nice will be that of utility. COMPATIBILITY
The historic -increment option has been deprecated but is still supported in this implementation. SEE ALSO
csh(1), getpriority(2), setpriority(2), renice(8) STANDARDS
The nice utility conforms to IEEE Std 1003.2-1992 (``POSIX.2''). HISTORY
A nice utility appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX. BUGS
nice is built into csh(1) with a slightly different syntax than described here. The form 'nice +10' nices to positive nice, and 'nice -10' can be used by the super-user to give a process more of the processor. BSD
June 6, 1993 BSD

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