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EXEC(3)                    Linux Programmer's Manual                   EXEC(3)



NAME
       execl, execlp, execle, execv, execvp - execute a file

SYNOPSIS
       #include <&lt;unistd.h>&gt;

       extern char **environ;

       int execl(const char *path, const char *arg, ...);
       int execlp(const char *file, const char *arg, ...);
       int execle(const char *path, const char *arg,
                  ..., char * const envp[]);
       int execv(const char *path, char *const argv[]);
       int execvp(const char *file, char *const argv[]);

DESCRIPTION
       The  exec() family of functions replaces the current process image with
       a new process image.  The functions described in this manual  page  are
       front-ends  for execve(2).  (See the manual page for execve(2) for fur-
       ther details about the replacement of the current process image.)

       The initial argument for these functions is  the  pathname  of  a  file
       which is to be executed.

       The  const  char *arg and subsequent ellipses in the execl(), execlp(),
       and execle() functions can be thought of  as  arg0,  arg1,  ...,  argn.
       Together  they  describe  a list of one or more pointers to null-termi-
       nated strings that represent the argument list available  to  the  exe-
       cuted  program.  The first argument, by convention, should point to the
       filename associated with the file being executed.  The  list  of  argu-
       ments  must be terminated by a NULL pointer, and, since these are vari-
       adic functions, this pointer must be cast (char *) NULL.

       The execv() and execvp() functions provide  an  array  of  pointers  to
       null-terminated  strings  that represent the argument list available to
       the new program.  The first argument, by convention,  should  point  to
       the  filename  associated  with  the file being executed.  The array of
       pointers must be terminated by a NULL pointer.

       The execle() function also specifies the environment  of  the  executed
       process by following the NULL pointer that terminates the list of argu-
       ments in the argument list or the pointer to the  argv  array  with  an
       additional  argument.  This additional argument is an array of pointers
       to null-terminated strings and must be terminated by  a  NULL  pointer.
       The other functions take the environment for the new process image from
       the external variable environ in the current process.

   Special semantics for execlp() and execvp()
       The functions execlp() and execvp() will duplicate the actions  of  the
       shell  in  searching  for  an executable file if the specified filename
       does not contain a slash (/) character.  The search path  is  the  path
       specified  in  the  environment by the PATH variable.  If this variable
       isn't specified, the default path ":/bin:/usr/bin" is used.   In  addi-
       tion, certain errors are treated specially.

       If  permission  is  denied for a file (the attempted execve(2) returned
       EACCES), these functions will continue searching the rest of the search
       path.   If  no  other file is found, however, they will return with the
       global variable errno set to EACCES.

       If the header of a  file  isn't  recognized  (the  attempted  execve(2)
       returned  ENOEXEC),  these  functions  will execute the shell (/bin/sh)
       with the path of the file as its  first  argument.   (If  this  attempt
       fails, no further searching is done.)

RETURN VALUE
       If  any  of  the exec() functions returns, an error will have occurred.
       The return value is -1, and the global variable errno will  be  set  to
       indicate the error.

ERRORS
       All  of  these  functions  may fail and set errno for any of the errors
       specified for the library function execve(2).

CONFORMING TO
       POSIX.1-2001.

NOTES
       On some other systems the default path (used when the environment  does
       not contain the variable PATH) has the current working directory listed
       after /bin and /usr/bin, as an anti-Trojan-horse measure.   Linux  uses
       here the traditional "current directory first" default path.

       The  behavior of execlp() and execvp() when errors occur while attempt-
       ing to execute the file is historic practice, but has not traditionally
       been  documented  and is not specified by the POSIX standard.  BSD (and
       possibly other systems) do an automatic sleep and retry if  ETXTBSY  is
       encountered.  Linux treats it as a hard error and returns immediately.

       Traditionally,  the  functions execlp() and execvp() ignored all errors
       except for the ones described above and ENOMEM and  E2BIG,  upon  which
       they  returned.   They  now  return  if  any  error other than the ones
       described above occurs.

SEE ALSO
       sh(1), execve(2), fork(2), ptrace(2), fexecve(3), environ(7)

COLOPHON
       This page is part of release 3.05 of the Linux  man-pages  project.   A
       description  of  the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
       be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.



GNU                               2008-07-10                           EXEC(3)