bob@alchemy2:~$ ps -A
PID TTY TIME CMD
1 ? 00:00:01 init
4995 ? 00:00:00 gnome-power-man
Sure the Gnome Power Man is a great process but other examples don't work so well. ;) So together we checked out the source (
apt-get source procps) and had a crack at it.
Holy crap it is an obscure mess. I have previously found a bug in mount and it was a mission to track it down - that code is appalling too. Why is this old "base" code so crap?
Eventually I found out how the columns were generated in 'ps' and found the column is hard-coded to be of length 15. You could change it to be bigger but the columns can be ordered in any way so if you wanted a complex output it would be too wide. It looked like the column was supposed to expand if it the last one but I couldn't get the damn thing to work. The data is copied so many times through global variables it is too much of a mission.
So I gave up still not sure where the actual printf is...