cgroup_namespaces man page

cgroup_namespaces ā€” overview of Linux cgroup namespaces


For an overview of namespaces, see namespaces(7).

Cgroup namespaces virtualize the view of a process's cgroups (see cgroups(7)) as seen via /proc/[pid]/cgroup and /proc/[pid]/mountinfo.

Each cgroup namespace has its own set of cgroup root directories. These root directories are the base points for the relative locations displayed in the corresponding records in the /proc/[pid]/cgroup file. When a process creates a new cgroup namespace using clone(2) or unshare(2) with the CLONE_NEWCGROUP flag, it enters a new cgroup namespace in which its current cgroups directories become the cgroup root directories of the new namespace. (This applies both for the cgroups version 1 hierarchies and the cgroups version 2 unified hierarchy.)

When viewing /proc/[pid]/cgroup, the pathname shown in the third field of each record will be relative to the reading process's root directory for the corresponding cgroup hierarchy. If the cgroup directory of the target process lies outside the root directory of the reading process's cgroup namespace, then the pathname will show ../ entries for each ancestor level in the cgroup hierarchy.

The following shell session demonstrates the effect of creating a new cgroup namespace. First, (as superuser) we create a child cgroup in the freezer hierarchy, and put the shell into that cgroup:

# mkdir -p /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer/sub
# echo $$                      # Show PID of this shell
# sh -c 'echo 30655 > /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer/sub/cgroup.procs'
# cat /proc/self/cgroup | grep freezer

Next, we use unshare(1) to create a process running a new shell in new cgroup and mount namespaces:

# unshare -Cm bash

We then inspect the /proc/[pid]/cgroup files of, respectively, the new shell process started by the unshare(1) command, a process that is in the original cgroup namespace (init, with PID 1), and a process in a sibling cgroup (sub2):

$ cat /proc/self/cgroup | grep freezer
$ cat /proc/1/cgroup | grep freezer
$ cat /proc/20124/cgroup | grep freezer

From the output of the first command, we see that the freezer cgroup membership of the new shell (which is in the same cgroup as the initial shell) is shown defined relative to the freezer cgroup root directory that was established when the new cgroup namespace was created. (In absolute terms, the new shell is in the /sub freezer cgroup, and the root directory of the freezer cgroup hierarchy in the new cgroup namespace is also /sub. Thus, the new shell's cgroup membership is displayed as '/'.)

However, when we look in /proc/self/mountinfo we see the following anomaly:

# cat /proc/self/mountinfo | grep freezer
155 145 0:32 /.. /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer ...

The fourth field of this line (/..) should show the directory in the cgroup filesystem which forms the root of this mount. Since by the definition of cgroup namespaces, the process's current freezer cgroup directory became its root freezer cgroup directory, we should see '/' in this field. The problem here is that we are seeing a mount entry for the cgroup filesystem corresponding to our initial shell process's cgroup namespace (whose cgroup filesystem is indeed rooted in the parent directory of sub). We need to remount the freezer cgroup filesystem inside this cgroup namespace, after which we see the expected results:

# mount --make-rslave /     # Don't propagate mount events
                            # to other namespaces
# umount /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer
# mount -t cgroup -o freezer freezer /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer
# cat /proc/self/mountinfo | grep freezer
155 145 0:32 / /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer rw,relatime ...

Use of cgroup namespaces requires a kernel that is configured with the CONFIG_CGROUPS option.

Conforming to

Namespaces are a Linux-specific feature.


Among the purposes served by the virtualization provided by cgroup namespaces are the following:

See Also

unshare(1), clone(2), setns(2), unshare(2), proc(5), cgroups(7), credentials(7), namespaces(7), user_namespaces(7)


This page is part of release 4.16 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at

Referenced By

cgroups(7), clone(2), namespaces(7), nsenter(1), unshare(1), user_namespaces(7).

2017-09-15 Linux Programmer's Manual