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why would you send jobs to the background?
For example, I understand that
nano & would send nano to the background, but why would you want to do this?
Thank you in advance!
Alex KoumparosPython Development Techdegree Student 36,862 Points
We need to distinguish between appending
& as you describe, which sends an active job to the background (i.e., it carries on running) and pressing CTRL-z to
stop (pause) an active job.
Nano is probably not the best example for illustrating why you would send something active to the background with
&, since you would expect to use it interactively (i.e., in the foreground). Instead, think of something that would be typically non-interactive, like a service that runs continuously but unattended (e.g., a server) or a task that once started will take a while to finish and you want to get on with something else until it finishes without it blocking your terminal session (e.g., a large file transfer). For what it's worth,
top was a bit of an odd choice to demo
top automatically pauses when loaded with
However, nano might be a candidate for using
CTRL-z to temporarily pause a job you're working on. You might be in the middle of typing up a file in your nano editor and you realise that you just need to check something, like 'what were the permissions on that file I was writing about?' You could quickly
CTRL-z to get back out to the console (sending nano to the background), check the file, e.g. with
ls -l, then type
fg to go right back to where you were in nano.
Hope that helps,