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signal(..),sigaction(..) which is better and why??

I am finding a need to be able to handle signals, and am not sure what proc is better.  I have used signal in the past, for small programs, for time outs and the such.  Could someone give me a simple example of sigaction?

Also, where can I find where what the signals mean? or more info about them.  

1 Solution
Taking your questions in reverse order...  A good tutorial on
signal handling may be found at:


I'm not affiliated with that site in anyway... Its just the first
likely looking link I found with a quick altavista search.

On the signal vs sigaction question:

sigaction is more robust.  It allows you to specify handlers for
signals and get information about the handler you're replacing or
it allows you to simply ask what the current signal handlers are
without changing anything.

Here's a short example of using sigaction to catch and handle
alarm signals and ^C signals.  My platform was Digital Unix.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <signal.h>
#include <unistd.h>

//      Alarm clock handler - printf for illustrative purposes only
void alarm_handler(int foo)  {
        printf("Alarm timer fired.\n");

//      ^C Handler - printf for illustrative purposes only

int interrupts_allowed = 5;

void interrupt_handler(int foo)  {
        if (--interrupts_allowed)
                printf("^C handled you have %d left.\n", interrupts_allowed);

int main()  {

struct sigaction int_action = { &interrupt_handler, NULL, NULL };
struct sigaction tim_action = { &alarm_handler, NULL, NULL };
struct sigaction old_int_action;
struct sigaction old_tim_action;

        sigaction(SIGINT, &int_action, &old_int_action);
        printf("^C Handler set.\n");
        printf("Old Handler: %X\n", old_int_action.sa_sigaction);
        printf("^C when you feel like it.\n\n");

        sigaction(SIGALRM, &tim_action, &old_tim_action);
        printf("Alarm handler set, setting alarm for 6 second intervals.\n");
        printf("Old Handler: %X\n\n", old_tim_action.sa_sigaction);

        printf("ZZZZzzzz..... .... ... .. .\n\n");

        while (1)

kellyjjAuthor Commented:
thanks, that is the answer I was looking for.  
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