EXIT(3) Linux Programmer's Manual EXIT(3)
exit - cause normal process termination
void exit(int status);
The exit() function causes normal process termination and the value of status & 0377 is
returned to the parent (see wait(2)).
All functions registered with atexit(3) and on_exit(3) are called, in the reverse order of
their registration. (It is possible for one of these functions to use atexit(3) or
on_exit(3) to register an additional function to be executed during exit processing; the
new registration is added to the front of the list of functions that remain to be called.)
If one of these functions does not return (e.g., it calls _exit(2), or kills itself with a
signal), then none of the remaining functions is called, and further exit processing (in
particular, flushing of stdio(3) streams) is abandoned. If a function has been registered
multiple times using atexit(3) or on_exit(3), then it is called as many times as it was
All open stdio(3) streams are flushed and closed. Files created by tmpfile(3) are
The C standard specifies two constants, EXIT_SUCCESS and EXIT_FAILURE, that may be passed
to exit() to indicate successful or unsuccessful termination, respectively.
The exit() function does not return.
SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001, C89, C99.
It is undefined what happens if one of the functions registered using atexit(3) and
on_exit(3) calls either exit() or longjmp(3). Note that a call to execve(2) removes reg-
istrations created using atexit(3) and on_exit(3).
The use of EXIT_SUCCESS and EXIT_FAILURE is slightly more portable (to non-UNIX environ-
ments) than the use of 0 and some nonzero value like 1 or -1. In particular, VMS uses a
BSD has attempted to standardize exit codes; see the file <sysexits.h>.
After exit(), the exit status must be transmitted to the parent process. There are three
cases. If the parent has set SA_NOCLDWAIT, or has set the SIGCHLD handler to SIG_IGN, the
status is discarded. If the parent was waiting on the child it is notified of the exit
status. In both cases the exiting process dies immediately. If the parent has not indi-
cated that it is not interested in the exit status, but is not waiting, the exiting
process turns into a "zombie" process (which is nothing but a container for the single
byte representing the exit status) so that the parent can learn the exit status when it
later calls one of the wait(2) functions.
If the implementation supports the SIGCHLD signal, this signal is sent to the parent. If
the parent has set SA_NOCLDWAIT, it is undefined whether a SIGCHLD signal is sent.
If the process is a session leader and its controlling terminal is the controlling termi-
nal of the session, then each process in the foreground process group of this controlling
terminal is sent a SIGHUP signal, and the terminal is disassociated from this session,
allowing it to be acquired by a new controlling process.
If the exit of the process causes a process group to become orphaned, and if any member of
the newly orphaned process group is stopped, then a SIGHUP signal followed by a SIGCONT
signal will be sent to each process in this process group. See setpgid(2) for an explana-
tion of orphaned process groups.
_exit(2), setpgid(2), wait(2), atexit(3), on_exit(3), tmpfile(3)
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Linux 2013-02-14 EXIT(3)