execlp()

Execute a file

Synopsis:

#include <process.h>

int execlp( const char * file, 
            const char * arg0, 
            const char * arg1,
            … 
            const char * argn, 
            NULL );

Arguments:

file
Used to construct a pathname that identifies the new process image file. If the file argument contains a slash character, the file argument is used as the pathname for the file. Otherwise, the path prefix for this file is obtained by a search of the directories passed as the environment variable PATH.
arg0, …, argn
Pointers to NULL-terminated character strings. These strings constitute the argument list available to the new process image. Terminate the list terminated with a NULL pointer. The arg0 argument must point to a filename that's associated with the process.

Library:

libc

Use the -l c option to qcc to link against this library. This library is usually included automatically.

Description:

The execlp() function replaces the current process image with a new process image specified by file. The new image is constructed from a regular, executable file called the new process image file. No return is made because the calling process image is replaced by the new process image.

In order to start the new process, your process must have the PROCMGR_AID_SPAWN ability enabled. For more information, see procmgr_ability() .

When a C-language program is executed as a result of this call, it's entered as a C-language function call as follows:

int main (int argc, char *argv[]);

where argc is the argument count and argv is an array of character pointers to the arguments themselves. In addition, the following variable:

extern char **environ;

is initialized as a pointer to an array of character pointers to the environment strings. The argv and environ arrays are each terminated by a null pointer. The null pointer terminating the argv array isn't counted in argc.

Multithreaded applications shouldn't use the environ variable to access or modify any environment variable while any other thread is concurrently modifying any environment variable. A call to any function dependent on any environment variable is considered a use of the environ variable to access that environment variable.

The arguments specified by a program with one of the exec functions are passed on to the new process image in the corresponding main() arguments.

If the process image file isn't a valid executable object, the contents of the file are passed as standard input to a command interpreter conforming to the system() function. In this case, the command interpreter becomes the new process image.

The number of bytes available for the new process's combined argument and environment lists is ARG_MAX.

File descriptors open in the calling process image remain open in the new process image, except for when fcntl()'s FD_CLOEXEC flag is set. For those file descriptors that remain open, all attributes of the open file description, including file locks remain unchanged. If a file descriptor is closed for this reason, file locks are removed as described by close() while locks not affected by close() aren't changed.

Directory streams open in the calling process image are closed in the new process image.

Signals set to SIG_DFL in the calling process are set to the default action in the new process image. Signals set to SIG_IGN by the calling process images are ignored by the new process image. Signals set to be caught by the calling process image are set to the default action in the new process image. After a successful call, alternate signal stacks aren't preserved and the SA_ONSTACK flag is cleared for all signals.

After a successful call, any functions previously registered by atexit() are no longer registered.

If the file is on a filesystem mounted with the ST_NOSUID flag set, the effective user ID, effective group ID, saved set-user ID and saved set-group ID are unchanged for the new process. Otherwise, if the set-user ID mode bit is set, the effective user ID of the new process image is set to the user ID of file. Similarly, if the set-group ID mode bit is set, the effective group ID of the new process is set to the group ID of file. The real user ID, real group ID, and supplementary group IDs of the new process remain the same as those of the calling process. The effective user ID and effective group ID of the new process image are saved (as the saved set-user ID and the saved set-group ID used by setuid() ).

Any shared memory segments attached to the calling process image aren't attached to the new process image. If the calling process had locked any memory, the locks are released.

The new process doesn't inherit the calling process's default timer tolerance (set by a call to procmgr_timer_tolerance() ).

The new process also inherits at least the following attributes from the calling process image:

  • process ID
  • parent process ID
  • process group ID
  • session membership
  • real user ID
  • real group ID
  • supplementary group IDs
  • time left until an alarm clock signal (see alarm() )
  • current working directory
  • root directory
  • file mode creation mask (see umask() )
  • process signal mask (see sigprocmask() )
  • pending signal (see sigpending() )
  • tms_utime, tms_stime, tms_cutime, and tms_cstime (see times() )
  • resource limits
  • controlling terminal
  • interval timers.

A call to this function from a process with more than one thread results in all threads being terminated and the new executable image being loaded and executed. No destructor functions are called.

Upon successful completion, the st_atime field of the file is marked for update. If the exec* failed but was able to locate the process image file, whether the st_atime field is marked for update is unspecified. On success, the process image file is considered to be opened with open() . The corresponding close() is considered to occur at a time after this open, but before process termination or successful completion of a subsequent call to one of the exec* functions.

exec*() summary

Function Description POSIX?
execl() NULL-terminated argument list Yes
execle() NULL-terminated argument list, specify the new process's environment Yes
execlp() NULL-terminated argument list, search for the new process in PATH Yes
execlpe() NULL-terminated argument list, search for the new process in PATH, specify the new process's environment No
execv() NULL-terminated array of arguments Yes
execve() NULL-terminated array of arguments, specify the new process's environment Yes
execvp() NULL-terminated array of arguments, search for the new process in PATH Yes
execvpe() NULL-terminated array of arguments, search for the new process in PATH, specify the new process's environment No

Returns:

When execlp() is successful, it doesn't return; otherwise, it returns -1 and sets errno .

Errors:

E2BIG
The argument list and the environment is larger than the system limit of ARG_MAX bytes.
EACCES
The calling process doesn't have permission to search a directory listed in file, or it doesn't have permission to execute file, or file's filesystem was mounted with the ST_NOEXEC flag.
ELOOP
Too many levels of symbolic links or prefixes.
ENAMETOOLONG
The length of file or an element of the PATH environment variable exceeds PATH_MAX.
ENOENT
One or more components of the pathname don't exist, or the file argument points to an empty string.
ENOMEM
There's insufficient memory available to create the new process.
ENOTDIR
A component of file isn't a directory.
EPERM
The calling process doesn't have the required permission (see procmgr_ability() ), or an underlying call to mmap() failed because it attempted to set PROT_EXEC for a region of memory covered by an untrusted memory-mapped file.
ETXTBSY
The text file that you're trying to execute is busy (e.g. it might be open for writing).

Classification:

POSIX 1003.1

Safety:  
Cancellation point No
Interrupt handler No
Signal handler No
Thread Yes

Last modified: 2013-12-23

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