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PHP: Getting the PID of a process running in the background

skij asked
Last Modified: 2016-01-01
This PHP code runs the $cmd in the background.   The response is written to the file $outputfile and the pid of the process is written to $pidfile.
exec(sprintf("%s > %s 2>&1 & echo $! >> %s", $cmd, $outputfile, $pidfile));

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Instead of writing the $pidfile to a file, how can I access it in the PHP script?  Can I access it as a variable instead of writing the result to a file?
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