How to set or change the default soft or hard limit for the number of user's processes?

Solution Verified - Updated -

Issue

  • The system wide configuration file /etc/security/limits.d/90-nproc.conf (RHEL5, RHEL6), /etc/security/limits.d/20-nproc.conf (RHEL7) specifies the default nproc limits as:

    *            soft    nproc     1024
    root       soft    nproc     unlimited
    
  • However, when logged in as root, the ulimit shows a different value:

    $ ulimit -u
    1024
    
  • Why it is not unlimited in this case?

  • How to set or change the default soft or hard limit for the number of user's processes?

Environment

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

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