What happens if another signal arrives while your signal handler
function is running?
When the handler for a particular signal is invoked, that signal is
automatically blocked until the handler returns. That means that if two
signals of the same kind arrive close together, the second one will be
held until the first has been handled. (The handler can explicitly
unblock the signal using sigprocmask, if you want to allow more
signals of this type to arrive; see Process Signal Mask.)
However, your handler can still be interrupted by delivery of another
kind of signal. To avoid this, you can use the sa_mask member of
the action structure passed to sigaction to explicitly specify
which signals should be blocked while the signal handler runs. These
signals are in addition to the signal for which the handler was invoked,
and any other signals that are normally blocked by the process.
See Blocking for Handler.
When the handler returns, the set of blocked signals is restored to the
value it had before the handler ran. So using sigprocmask inside
the handler only affects what signals can arrive during the execution of
the handler itself, not what signals can arrive once the handler returns.
Portability Note: Always use sigaction to establish a
handler for a signal that you expect to receive asynchronously, if you
want your program to work properly on System V Unix. On this system,
the handling of a signal whose handler was established with
signal automatically sets the signal's action back to
SIG_DFL, and the handler must re-establish itself each time it
runs. This practice, while inconvenient, does work when signals cannot
arrive in succession. However, if another signal can arrive right away,
it may arrive before the handler can re-establish itself. Then the
second signal would receive the default handling, which could terminate
Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License