exec() for Linux

Posted on 2003-02-25
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-18
Well I tried the following code:-

#include  <stdio.h>
int main ( ) {
        int i;
        printf("Before calling execl()\n");
        i = execl("/bin/sh","sh","shpg.sh",NULL);
        if(i<0) {
        printf("After calling execl()\n");
        return 0;

My shpg.sh is:-

echo "Some Text"

I expect the output to be:-

Before calling execl()
Some Text
After calling execl()

But the output is:-

Before calling execl()
Some Text

Can somebody tell me why the code after the exec is not being executed? Thanks in advance.
Question by:pankajtiwary
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Accepted Solution

grue earned 200 total points
ID: 8015282
From execl man page:

       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  the  function
       execve(2).   (See  the manual page for execve for detailed
       information about the replacement of the current process.)

When you call successfully call execl, the current process is REPLACED with the new process.  If successful, execl never returns.

You probably want something like this:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/wait.h>

int main (int argc, char **argv)
  int i;
  printf("Before calling execl()\n");

  pid_t child_pid;
  if (0 == (child_pid = fork())) // fork a new copy of this process
      i = execl("/bin/sh","sh","shpg.sh", NULL); // replace the new copy with sh shpg.sh
      waitpid(child_pid, &i, 0);  // the original copy waits for child to finish

    printf("execl() or child error");

  printf("After calling execl()\n");
  return 0;


Expert Comment

ID: 8015313
Err, instead of just directly looking at the content of waitpid's status (as I did in my example), there are some macros you should be using...  Something like:


but I think it happens to "work" in this case because you're just looking for a zero result and the program you run doesn't generate any signals or anything funky like that...  but you really shouldn't be looking at the value directly; use the macro.

see the man page for waitpid for more details.

Author Comment

ID: 8024178
Thanx Grue,
     I appreciate your help in clarifying my confusion. Yeah, You got exactly what I wanted. I got your point. Actually I was thinking when completing the request execl returns and the rest of the code executes. But it's not like that. I case of success execl() never returns. Thanx again.

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