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jps output not correct

A nagios alert checking for some java processes started firing because it couldn't find those processes. This check used 'jps' to look for those processes.
% sudo /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_04/bin/jps
15071 Jps
% ps -u root | grep -c java
I espected lots of output from jps, but there was only the jps process itself. Confusing. What does jps use to track java processes?

Your old strace (truss, whatever) friend will help you here:

# Always use 'strace -f' on java processes as they spawn new processes/threads
% sudo strace -f /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_04/bin/jps |& grep -F '("/' \
  | fex '"2/{1:2}' | sort | uniq -c | sort -n | tail -5
      5 proc/self 
      5 proc/stat 
     12 usr 
     17 tmp/hsperfdata_root 
    283 usr/java 
It referenced /tmp/hsperfdata_root multiple times. Weird, checking it out:
% ls /tmp/hsperfdata_root | wc -l
This directory is empty. Looking further around the strace and confirming by looking at the classes jps invokes (sun.jvmstat.perfdata.monitor.protocol.local.MonitoredHostProvider) shows that /tmp/hsperfdata_<user> is used by each jvm instance. It stores a file named by processes' pid.

So the question is, why is this directory empty?

Of the hosts I know run java, it only seems like long-running instances of java are disappearing from jps, making me think we have a cron job removing files from /tmp. I found this while looking through cron jobs:

% cat /etc/cron.daily/tmpwatch 
/usr/sbin/tmpwatch -x /tmp/.X11-unix -x /tmp/.XIM-unix -x /tmp/.font-unix \
        -x /tmp/.ICE-unix -x /tmp/.Test-unix 240 /tmp
/usr/sbin/tmpwatch 720 /var/tmp
for d in /var/{cache/man,catman}/{cat?,X11R6/cat?,local/cat?}; do
    if [ -d "$d" ]; then
        /usr/sbin/tmpwatch -f 720 "$d"
This file comes from the tmpwatch rpm, which appears to come base installed on CentOS. This means that for every file in /tmp (except those specified by '-x dir') are being deleted if they are older than 240 hours (10 days). As an FYI, the default time value inspected is the file's atime, so if you mount noatime, the accesstime is not reliable.

Ultimately, we need to add a new set of flags to the cronjob that excludes /tmp/hsperfdata_*. This should keep me from being paged when a java process lives for more than 10 days ;)

Additionally, it makes me think that the people who use CentOS don't use Java or don't monitor their java processes with jps.