jobs - Linux


The jobs command in Linux is a shell builtin that lists the status of jobs started in the current session of the shell. It helps by showing the job number, state (such as running, stopped), and command name of background and stopped jobs. This command is mainly used in interactive shells to manage jobs executed in the background or halted temporarily, enabling more efficient multitasking.


The basic syntax for the jobs command is:

jobs [options] [job_id ...]

Where job_id specifies the particular jobs to be reported; without any job identifiers, the status of all jobs is shown.


The jobs command includes several options that alter its output:

  • -l: Lists process IDs in addition to the normal information.
  • -n: Displays information only about jobs that have changed status since the user was last notified of their status.
  • -p: Only the process IDs of the job’s process group leader are listed.
  • -r: Restricts output to running jobs.
  • -s: Lists only stopped jobs.

Each option tailors the command output to fit specific needs, such as monitoring jobs that have changed or only viewing running tasks.


  1. List all jobs:
  2. Show detailed job information with process IDs:
    jobs -l
  3. Display only the process IDs of job leaders:
    jobs -p
  4. Show only the running jobs:
    jobs -r
  5. List information about specific jobs using job IDs:
    jobs %1 %2

Common Issues

  • Trouble identifying job status changes: Using the -n option can help focus on jobs whose status has recently changed, which is useful for troubleshooting.
  • Misunderstanding job IDs: Job IDs should be prefixed with % in commands, not confused with process IDs.


The jobs command can be combined with other shell functionalities to manage job processes effectively:

Example using fg and bg commands:

jobs                              # Lists all current jobs
fg %1                             # Brings job 1 to the foreground
bg %2                             # Sends job 2 to the background

This sequence helps in proper foreground-background task management within a shell session.

  • fg: Brings a job to the foreground.
  • bg: Sends a job to the background.
  • kill: Sends a signal to a job or process.

For more detailed information, you can always check the built-in help by using the help jobs command in the shell or diving into the Bash man page with man bash.

These tools and commands, when used together, form a powerful system for job control and process management in a multitasking operating system like Linux.