The value of status may be 0, EXIT_SUCCESS, EXIT_FAILURE, or any other value, though only the least significant 8 bits (that is, status & 0377) shall be available to a waiting parent process.
The _Exit() and _exit() functions shall be functionally equivalent.
The _Exit() and _exit() functions shall not call functions registered with atexit() nor any registered signal handlers. Open streams shall not be flushed. Whether open streams are closed (without flushing) is implementation-defined. Finally, the calling process shall be terminated with the consequences described below.
Process termination caused by any reason shall have the following consequences:
The semantics of the waitid() function shall be equivalent to wait().
The semantics of the waitid() function shall be equivalent to wait().
If the implementation supports the SIGCHLD signal, a SIGCHLD shall be sent to the parent process.
If the parent process has set its SA_NOCLDWAIT flag, or set SIGCHLD to SIG_IGN, the status shall be discarded, and the lifetime of the calling process shall end immediately. If SA_NOCLDWAIT is set, it is implementation-defined whether a SIGCHLD signal is sent to the parent process.
Early proposals drew a distinction between normal and abnormal process termination. Abnormal termination was caused only by certain signals and resulted in implementation-defined ``actions'', as discussed below. Subsequent proposals distinguished three types of termination: normal termination (as in the current specification), simple abnormal termination, and abnormal termination with actions. Again the distinction between the two types of abnormal termination was that they were caused by different signals and that implementation-defined actions would result in the latter case. Given that these actions were completely implementation-defined, the early proposals were only saying when the actions could occur and how their occurrence could be detected, but not what they were. This was of little or no use to conforming applications, and thus the distinction is not made in this volume of POSIX.1-2008.
The implementation-defined actions usually include, in most historical implementations, the creation of a file named core in the current working directory of the process. This file contains an image of the memory of the process, together with descriptive information about the process, perhaps sufficient to reconstruct the state of the process at the receipt of the signal.
There is a potential security problem in creating a core file if the process was set-user-ID and the current user is not the owner of the program, if the process was set-group-ID and none of the user's groups match the group of the program, or if the user does not have permission to write in the current directory. In this situation, an implementation either should not create a core file or should make it unreadable by the user.
Despite the silence of this volume of POSIX.1-2008 on this feature, applications are advised not to create files named core because of potential conflicts in many implementations. Some implementations use a name other than core for the file; for example, by appending the process ID to the filename.
It is important that the consequences of process termination as described occur regardless of whether the process called _exit() (perhaps indirectly through exit()) or instead was terminated due to a signal or for some other reason. Note that in the specific case of exit() this means that the status argument to exit() is treated in the same way as the status argument to _exit().
A language other than C may have other termination primitives than the C-language exit() function, and programs written in such a language should use its native termination primitives, but those should have as part of their function the behavior of _exit() as described. Implementations in languages other than C are outside the scope of this version of this volume of POSIX.1-2008, however.
As required by the ISO C standard, using return from main() has the same behavior (other than with respect to language scope issues) as calling exit() with the returned value. Reaching the end of the main() function has the same behavior as calling exit(0).
A value of zero (or EXIT_SUCCESS, which is required to be zero) for the argument status conventionally indicates successful termination. This corresponds to the specification for exit() in the ISO C standard. The convention is followed by utilities such as make and various shells, which interpret a zero status from a child process as success. For this reason, applications should not call exit(0) or _exit(0) when they terminate unsuccessfully; for example, in signal-catching functions.
Historically, the implementation-defined process that inherits children whose parents have terminated without waiting on them is called init and has a process ID of 1.
The sending of a SIGHUP to the foreground process group when a controlling process terminates corresponds to somewhat different historical implementations. In System V, the kernel sends a SIGHUP on termination of (essentially) a controlling process. In 4.2 BSD, the kernel does not send SIGHUP in a case like this, but the termination of a controlling process is usually noticed by a system daemon, which arranges to send a SIGHUP to the foreground process group with the vhangup() function. However, in 4.2 BSD, due to the behavior of the shells that support job control, the controlling process is usually a shell with no other processes in its process group. Thus, a change to make _exit() behave this way in such systems should not cause problems with existing applications.
The termination of a process may cause a process group to become orphaned in either of two ways. The connection of a process group to its parent(s) outside of the group depends on both the parents and their children. Thus, a process group may be orphaned by the termination of the last connecting parent process outside of the group or by the termination of the last direct descendant of the parent process(es). In either case, if the termination of a process causes a process group to become orphaned, processes within the group are disconnected from their job control shell, which no longer has any information on the existence of the process group. Stopped processes within the group would languish forever. In order to avoid this problem, newly orphaned process groups that contain stopped processes are sent a SIGHUP signal and a SIGCONT signal to indicate that they have been disconnected from their session. The SIGHUP signal causes the process group members to terminate unless they are catching or ignoring SIGHUP. Under most circumstances, all of the members of the process group are stopped if any of them are stopped.
The action of sending a SIGHUP and a SIGCONT signal to members of a newly orphaned process group is similar to the action of 4.2 BSD, which sends SIGHUP and SIGCONT to each stopped child of an exiting process. If such children exit in response to the SIGHUP, any additional descendants receive similar treatment at that time. In this volume of POSIX.1-2008, the signals are sent to the entire process group at the same time. Also, in this volume of POSIX.1-2008, but not in 4.2 BSD, stopped processes may be orphaned, but may be members of a process group that is not orphaned; therefore, the action taken at _exit() must consider processes other than child processes.
It is possible for a process group to be orphaned by a call to setpgid() or setsid(), as well as by process termination. This volume of POSIX.1-2008 does not require sending SIGHUP and SIGCONT in those cases, because, unlike process termination, those cases are not caused accidentally by applications that are unaware of job control. An implementation can choose to send SIGHUP and SIGCONT in those cases as an extension; such an extension must be documented as required in <signal.h>.
The ISO/IEC 9899:1999 standard adds the _Exit() function that results in immediate program termination without triggering signals or atexit()-registered functions. In POSIX.1-2008, this is equivalent to the _exit() function.
Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the source files to man page format. To report such errors, see https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/reporting_bugs.html .