KILL(2) BSD System Calls Manual KILL(2)NAME
kill — send signal to a process
kill(pid_t pid, int sig);
The kill() function sends the signal given by sig to pid, a process or a
group of processes. Sig may be one of the signals specified in
sigaction(2) or it may be 0, in which case error checking is performed
but no signal is actually sent. This can be used to check the validity
For a process to have permission to send a signal to a process designated
by pid, the real or effective user ID of the receiving process must match
that of the sending process or the user must have appropriate privileges
(such as given by a set-user-ID program or the user is the super-user).
A single exception is the signal SIGCONT, which may always be sent to any
descendant of the current process.
If pid is greater than zero:
Sig is sent to the process whose ID is equal to pid.
If pid is zero:
Sig is sent to all processes whose group ID is equal to the
process group ID of the sender, and for which the process has
permission; this is a variant of killpg(2).
If pid is -1:
If the user has super-user privileges, the signal is sent to all
processes excluding system processes and the process sending the
signal. If the user is not the super user, the signal is sent to
all processes with the same uid as the user excluding the process
sending the signal. No error is returned if any process could be
For compatibility with System V, if the process number is negative but
not -1, the signal is sent to all processes whose process group ID is
equal to the absolute value of the process number. This is a variant of
Upon successful completion, a value of 0 is returned. Otherwise, a value
of -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the error.
ERRORSKill() will fail and no signal will be sent if:
[EINVAL] Sig is not a valid signal number.
[ESRCH] No process can be found corresponding to that specified by pid.
[ESRCH] The process id was given as 0 but the sending process does not
have a process group.
[EPERM] The sending process is not the super-user and its effective
user id does not match the effective user-id of the receiving
process. When signaling a process group, this error is
returned if any members of the group could not be signaled.
SEE ALSOgetpid(2), getpgrp(2), killpg(2), sigaction(2)STANDARDS
The kill() function is expected to conform to IEEE Std 1003.1-1988
4th Berkeley Distribution April 19, 1994 4th Berkeley Distribution