The module contains several groups of functionality for handling OS processes:

  • Low-level property introspection and management of the current process, like Process.argv0,;

  • Low-level introspection of other processes, like Process.getpgid, Process.getpriority;

  • Management of the current process: Process.abort, Process.exit, Process.daemon, etc. (for convenience, most of those are also available as global functions and module functions of Kernel);

  • Creation and management of child processes: Process.fork, Process.spawn, and related methods;

  • Management of low-level system clock: Process.times and Process.clock_gettime, which could be important for proper benchmarking and other elapsed time measurement tasks.

Process Reference


Many operating systems allow signals to be sent to running processes. Some signals have a defined effect on the process, while others may be trapped at the code level and acted upon. For example, your process may trap the USR1 signal and use it to toggle debugging, and may use TERM to initiate a controlled shutdown.

pid = fork do
  Signal.trap("USR1") do
    $debug = !$debug
    puts "Debug now: #$debug"
  Signal.trap("TERM") do
    puts "Terminating..."
  # . . . do some work . . .


# Controlling program:
Process.kill("USR1", pid)
# ...
Process.kill("USR1", pid)
# ...
Process.kill("TERM", pid)

produces: Debug now: true Debug now: false Terminating…

The list of available signal names and their interpretation is system dependent. Signal delivery semantics may also vary between systems; in particular signal delivery may not always be reliable.

Signal Reference