Concept

Kill (command)

Summary
In computing, kill is a command that is used in several popular operating systems to send signals to running processes. In Unix and Unix-like operating systems, kill is a command used to send a signal to a process. By default, the message sent is the termination signal, which requests that the process exit. But kill is something of a misnomer; the signal sent may have nothing to do with process killing. The kill command is a wrapper around the kill() system call, which sends signals to processes or process groups on the system, referenced by their numeric process IDs (PIDs) or process group IDs (PGIDs). kill is always provided as a standalone utility as defined by the POSIX standard. However, most shells have built-in kill commands that may slightly differ from it. There are many different signals that can be sent (see signal for a full list), although the signals in which users are generally most interested are SIGTERM ("terminate") and SIGKILL ("kill"). The default signal sent is SIGTERM. Programs that handle this signal can do useful cleanup operations (such as saving configuration information to a file) before quitting. However, many programs do not implement a special handler for this signal, and so a default signal handler is called instead. Other times, even a process that has a special handler has gone awry in a way that prevents it from properly handling the signal. All signals except for SIGKILL and SIGSTOP ("stop") can be "intercepted" by the process, meaning that a special function can be called when the program receives those signals. The two exceptions SIGKILL and SIGSTOP are only seen by the host system's kernel, providing reliable ways of controlling the execution of processes. SIGKILL kills the process, and SIGSTOP pauses it until a SIGCONT ("continue") is received. Unix provides security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized users from killing other processes. Essentially, for a process to send a signal to another, the owner of the signaling process must be the same as the owner of the receiving process or be the superuser.
About this result
This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.
Related publications

Loading

Related people

Loading

Related units

Loading

Related concepts

Loading

Related courses

Loading

Related lectures

Loading

Related MOOCs

Loading