being able to get results of shell command

I am trying to figure out how to find out if a program is already
running before starting it up.  I start a number of programs from my
.sawfishrc and on a restart of sawfish I don't want to start them up

Is there someway to tell if the new start is the result of a restart or

Is there a way to get the results back from something like a call to:

ps -A|grep -i <process name>

Or a way to see the system processes as opposed to only the ones
controlled by sawfish.

I have been reading the process section of info, but have not completely
got my head around how to put this to practical use.

Thanks for any help.


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