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24.1.1 Some Kinds of Signals

A signal reports the occurrence of an exceptional event. These are some of the events that can cause (or generate, or raise) a signal:

  • A program error such as dividing by zero or issuing an address outside the valid range.
  • A user request to interrupt or terminate the program. Most environments are set up to let a user suspend the program by typing C-z, or terminate it with C-c. Whatever key sequence is used, the operating system sends the proper signal to interrupt the process.
  • The termination of a child process.
  • Expiration of a timer or alarm.
  • A call to kill or raise by the same process.
  • A call to kill from another process. Signals are a limited but useful form of interprocess communication.
  • An attempt to perform an I/O operation that cannot be done. Examples are reading from a pipe that has no writer (see Pipes and FIFOs), and reading or writing to a terminal in certain situations (see Job Control).

Each of these kinds of events (excepting explicit calls to kill and raise) generates its own particular kind of signal. The various kinds of signals are listed and described in detail in Standard Signals.


 
 
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