Langue: en

Version: 266012 (debian - 07/07/09)

Section: 2 (Appels système)

BSD mandoc


sigaction - software signal facilities


Lb libc


In signal.h
 struct  sigaction {
         union {
                 void    (*__sa_handler)(int);
                 void    (*__sa_sigaction)(int, struct __siginfo *, void *);
         } __sigaction_u;                /* signal handler */
         int     sa_flags;               /* see signal options below */
         sigset_t sa_mask;               /* signal mask to apply */
 #define sa_handler      __sigaction_u.__sa_handler
 #define sa_sigaction    __sigaction_u.__sa_sigaction
Ft int Fo sigaction Fa int sig Fa const struct sigaction * restrict act Fa struct sigaction * restrict oact Fc  


The system defines a set of signals that may be delivered to a process. Signal delivery resembles the occurrence of a hardware interrupt: the signal is normally blocked from further occurrence, the current process context is saved, and a new one is built. A process may specify a handler to which a signal is delivered, or specify that a signal is to be ignored A process may also specify that a default action is to be taken by the system when a signal occurs. A signal may also be blocked in which case its delivery is postponed until it is unblocked The action to be taken on delivery is determined at the time of delivery. Normally, signal handlers execute on the current stack of the process. This may be changed, on a per-handler basis, so that signals are taken on a special signal stack

Signal routines normally execute with the signal that caused their invocation blocked but other signals may yet occur. A global signal mask defines the set of signals currently blocked from delivery to a process. The signal mask for a process is initialized from that of its parent (normally empty). It may be changed with a sigprocmask(2) call, or when a signal is delivered to the process.

When a signal condition arises for a process, the signal is added to a set of signals pending for the process. If the signal is not currently blocked by the process then it is delivered to the process. Signals may be delivered any time a process enters the operating system (e.g., during a system call, page fault or trap, or clock interrupt). If multiple signals are ready to be delivered at the same time, any signals that could be caused by traps are delivered first. Additional signals may be processed at the same time, with each appearing to interrupt the handlers for the previous signals before their first instructions. The set of pending signals is returned by the sigpending(2) system call. When a caught signal is delivered, the current state of the process is saved, a new signal mask is calculated (as described below), and the signal handler is invoked. The call to the handler is arranged so that if the signal handling routine returns normally the process will resume execution in the context from before the signal's delivery. If the process wishes to resume in a different context, then it must arrange to restore the previous context itself.

When a signal is delivered to a process a new signal mask is installed for the duration of the process' signal handler (or until a sigprocmask(2) system call is made). This mask is formed by taking the union of the current signal mask set, the signal to be delivered, and the signal mask associated with the handler to be invoked.

The Fn sigaction system call assigns an action for a signal specified by Fa sig . If Fa act is non-zero, it specifies an action ( SIG_DFL SIG_IGN or a handler routine) and mask to be used when delivering the specified signal. If Fa oact is non-zero, the previous handling information for the signal is returned to the user.

Once a signal handler is installed, it normally remains installed until another Fn sigaction system call is made, or an execve(2) is performed. A signal-specific default action may be reset by setting sa_handler to SIG_DFL The defaults are process termination, possibly with core dump; no action; stopping the process; or continuing the process. See the signal list below for each signal's default action. If sa_handler is SIG_DFL the default action for the signal is to discard the signal, and if a signal is pending, the pending signal is discarded even if the signal is masked. If sa_handler is set to SIG_IGN current and pending instances of the signal are ignored and discarded.

Options may be specified by setting sa_flags The meaning of the various bits is as follows:

If this bit is set when installing a catching function for the SIGCHLD signal, the SIGCHLD signal will be generated only when a child process exits, not when a child process stops.
If this bit is set when calling Fn sigaction for the SIGCHLD signal, the system will not create zombie processes when children of the calling process exit. If the calling process subsequently issues a wait(2) (or equivalent), it blocks until all of the calling process's child processes terminate, and then returns a value of -1 with errno set to Er ECHILD . The same effect of avoiding zombie creation can also be achieved by setting sa_handler for SIGCHLD to SIG_IGN
If this bit is set, the system will deliver the signal to the process on a signal stack specified with sigaltstack(2).
If this bit is set, further occurrences of the delivered signal are not masked during the execution of the handler.
If this bit is set, the handler is reset back to SIG_DFL at the moment the signal is delivered.
See paragraph below.
If this bit is set, the handler function is assumed to be pointed to by the sa_sigaction member of Vt struct sigaction and should match the prototype shown above or as below in Sx EXAMPLES . This bit should not be set when assigning SIG_DFL or SIG_IGN

If a signal is caught during the system calls listed below, the call may be forced to terminate with the error Er EINTR , the call may return with a data transfer shorter than requested, or the call may be restarted. Restart of pending calls is requested by setting the SA_RESTART bit in sa_flags The affected system calls include open(2), read(2), write(2), sendto(2), recvfrom(2), sendmsg(2) and recvmsg(2) on a communications channel or a slow device (such as a terminal, but not a regular file) and during a wait(2) or ioctl(2). However, calls that have already committed are not restarted, but instead return a partial success (for example, a short read count).

After a fork(2) or vfork(2) all signals, the signal mask, the signal stack, and the restart/interrupt flags are inherited by the child.

The execve(2) system call reinstates the default action for all signals which were caught and resets all signals to be caught on the user stack. Ignored signals remain ignored; the signal mask remains the same; signals that restart pending system calls continue to do so.

The following is a list of all signals with names as in the include file In signal.h :

NAME  Default Action  Description
SIGHUP         terminate process     terminal line hangup
SIGINT terminate process interrupt program
SIGQUIT create core image quit program
SIGILL create core image illegal instruction
SIGTRAP create core image trace trap
SIGABRT create core image Ta abort(3)
call (formerly
SIGEMT         create core image     emulate instruction executed
SIGFPE      create core image floating-point exception
SIGKILL terminate process kill program
SIGBUS create core image bus error
SIGSEGV create core image segmentation violation
SIGSYS create core image non-existent system call invoked
SIGPIPE terminate process write on a pipe with no reader
SIGALRM terminate process real-time timer expired
SIGTERM terminate process software termination signal
SIGURG discard signal urgent condition present on socket
SIGSTOP stop process stop (cannot be caught or ignored)
SIGTSTP stop process stop signal generated from keyboard
SIGCONT discard signal continue after stop
SIGCHLD discard signal child status has changed
SIGTTIN stop process background read attempted from control terminal
SIGTTOU stop process background write attempted to control terminal
SIGIO discard signal I/O
is possible on a descriptor (see
SIGXCPU        terminate process     cpu time limit exceeded (see
SIGXFSZ        terminate process     file size limit exceeded (see
SIGVTALRM      terminate process     virtual time alarm (see
SIGPROF        terminate process     profiling timer alarm (see
SIGWINCH       discard signal        Window size change
SIGINFO       discard signal status request from keyboard
SIGUSR1 terminate process User defined signal 1
SIGUSR2 terminate process User defined signal 2


sa_mask field specified in Fa act is not allowed to block SIGKILL or SIGSTOP Any attempt to do so will be silently ignored.

The following functions are either reentrant or not interruptible by signals and are async-signal safe. Therefore applications may invoke them, without restriction, from signal-catching functions:

Base Interfaces:

Fn _exit , Fn access , Fn alarm , Fn cfgetispeed , Fn cfgetospeed , Fn cfsetispeed , Fn cfsetospeed , Fn chdir , Fn chmod , Fn chown , Fn close , Fn creat , Fn dup , Fn dup2 , Fn execle , Fn execve , Fn fcntl , Fn fork , Fn fpathconf , Fn fstat , Fn fsync , Fn getegid , Fn geteuid , Fn getgid , Fn getgroups , Fn getpgrp , Fn getpid , Fn getppid , Fn getuid , Fn kill , Fn link , Fn lseek , Fn mkdir , Fn mkfifo , Fn open , Fn pathconf , Fn pause , Fn pipe , Fn raise , Fn read , Fn rename , Fn rmdir , Fn setgid , Fn setpgid , Fn setsid , Fn setuid , Fn sigaction , Fn sigaddset , Fn sigdelset , Fn sigemptyset , Fn sigfillset , Fn sigismember , Fn signal , Fn sigpending , Fn sigprocmask , Fn sigsuspend , Fn sleep , Fn stat , Fn sysconf , Fn tcdrain , Fn tcflow , Fn tcflush , Fn tcgetattr , Fn tcgetpgrp , Fn tcsendbreak , Fn tcsetattr , Fn tcsetpgrp , Fn time , Fn times , Fn umask , Fn uname , Fn unlink , Fn utime , Fn wait , Fn waitpid , Fn write .

Realtime Interfaces:

Fn aio_error , Fn clock_gettime , Fn sigpause , Fn timer_getoverrun , Fn aio_return , Fn fdatasync , Fn sigqueue , Fn timer_gettime , Fn aio_suspend , Fn sem_post , Fn sigset , Fn timer_settime .

ANSI C Interfaces:

Fn strcpy , Fn strcat , Fn strncpy , Fn strncat , and perhaps some others.

Extension Interfaces:

Fn strlcpy , Fn strlcat .

All functions not in the above lists are considered to be unsafe with respect to signals. That is to say, the behaviour of such functions when called from a signal handler is undefined. In general though, signal handlers should do little more than set a flag; most other actions are not safe.

Also, it is good practice to make a copy of the global variable errno and restore it before returning from the signal handler. This protects against the side effect of errno being set by functions called from inside the signal handler.


Rv -std sigaction


There are three possible prototypes the handler may match:
Ft void Fn handler int ;
Traditional BSD style:
Ft void Fn handler int int code struct sigcontext *scp ;
Ft void Fn handler int siginfo_t *info ucontext_t *uap ;

The handler function should match the SA_SIGINFO prototype if the SA_SIGINFO bit is set in sa_flags It then should be pointed to by the sa_sigaction member of Vt struct sigaction . Note that you should not assign SIG_DFL or SIG_IGN this way.

If the SA_SIGINFO flag is not set, the handler function should match either the ANSI C or traditional BSD prototype and be pointed to by the sa_handler member of Vt struct sigaction . In practice, Fx always sends the three arguments of the latter and since the ANSI C prototype is a subset, both will work. The sa_handler member declaration in Fx include files is that of ANSI C (as required by POSIX ) so a function pointer of a BSD -style function needs to be casted to compile without warning. The traditional BSD style is not portable and since its capabilities are a full subset of a SA_SIGINFO handler, its use is deprecated.

The Fa sig argument is the signal number, one of the SIG... values from In signal.h .

The Fa code argument of the BSD -style handler and the si_code member of the Fa info argument to a SA_SIGINFO handler contain a numeric code explaining the cause of the signal, usually one of the SI_... values from In sys/signal.h or codes specific to a signal, i.e., one of the FPE_... values for SIGFPE

The Fa scp argument to a BSD -style handler points to an instance of Vt struct sigcontext .

The Fa uap argument to a POSIX SA_SIGINFO handler points to an instance of ucontext_t.


The Fn sigaction system call will fail and no new signal handler will be installed if one of the following occurs:
Either Fa act or Fa oact points to memory that is not a valid part of the process address space.
The Fa sig argument is not a valid signal number.
An attempt is made to ignore or supply a handler for SIGKILL or SIGSTOP


kill(1), kill(2), ptrace(2), sigaltstack(2), sigblock(2), sigpause(2), sigpending(2), sigprocmask(2), sigsetmask(2), sigsuspend(2), sigvec(2), wait(2), fpsetmask(3), setjmp(3), siginfo(3), siginterrupt(3), sigsetops(3), ucontext(3), tty(4)


The Fn sigaction system call is expected to conform to St -p1003.1-90 . The SA_ONSTACK and SA_RESTART flags are Berkeley extensions, as are the signals, SIGTRAP SIGEMT SIGBUS SIGSYS SIGURG SIGIO SIGXCPU SIGXFSZ SIGVTALRM SIGPROF SIGWINCH and SIGINFO Those signals are available on most BSD -derived systems. The SA_NODEFER and SA_RESETHAND flags are intended for backwards compatibility with other operating systems. The SA_NOCLDSTOP and SA_NOCLDWAIT flags are featuring options commonly found in other operating systems. The flags are approved by St -susv2 , along with the option to avoid zombie creation by ignoring SIGCHLD