NOHUP(1P) POSIX Programmer's Manual NOHUP(1P)PROLOG
This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux
implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding
Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may
not be implemented on Linux.
nohup — invoke a utility immune to hangups
nohup utility [argument...]
The nohup utility shall invoke the utility named by the utility operand
with arguments supplied as the argument operands. At the time the named
utility is invoked, the SIGHUP signal shall be set to be ignored.
If standard input is associated with a terminal, the nohup utility may
redirect standard input from an unspecified file.
If the standard output is a terminal, all output written by the named
utility to its standard output shall be appended to the end of the file
nohup.out in the current directory. If nohup.out cannot be created or
opened for appending, the output shall be appended to the end of the
file nohup.out in the directory specified by the HOME environment vari‐
able. If neither file can be created or opened for appending, utility
shall not be invoked. If a file is created, the file's permission bits
shall be set to S_IRUSR | S_IWUSR.
If standard error is a terminal and standard output is open but is not
a terminal, all output written by the named utility to its standard
error shall be redirected to the same open file description as the
standard output. If standard error is a terminal and standard output
either is a terminal or is closed, the same output shall instead be
appended to the end of the nohup.out file as described above.
The following operands shall be supported:
utility The name of a utility that is to be invoked. If the utility
operand names any of the special built-in utilities in Sec‐
tion 2.14, Special Built-In Utilities, the results are unde‐
argument Any string to be supplied as an argument when invoking the
utility named by the utility operand.
The following environment variables shall affect the execution of
HOME Determine the pathname of the user's home directory: if the
output file nohup.out cannot be created in the current direc‐
tory, the nohup utility shall use the directory named by HOME
to create the file.
LANG Provide a default value for the internationalization vari‐
ables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions vol‐
ume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 8.2, Internationalization Vari‐
ables for the precedence of internationalization variables
used to determine the values of locale categories.)
LC_ALL If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of
all the other internationalization variables.
LC_CTYPE Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of
bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as
opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments).
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format
and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard
NLSPATH Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing
PATH Determine the search path that is used to locate the utility
to be invoked. See the Base Definitions volume of
POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8, Environment Variables.
The nohup utility shall take the standard action for all signals except
that SIGHUP shall be ignored.
If the standard output is not a terminal, the standard output of nohup
shall be the standard output generated by the execution of the utility
specified by the operands. Otherwise, nothing shall be written to the
If the standard output is a terminal, a message shall be written to the
standard error, indicating the name of the file to which the output is
being appended. The name of the file shall be either nohup.out or
Output written by the named utility is appended to the file nohup.out
(or $HOME/nohup.out), if the conditions hold as described in the
The following exit values shall be returned:
126 The utility specified by utility was found but could not be
127 An error occurred in the nohup utility or the utility specified
by utility could not be found.
Otherwise, the exit status of nohup shall be that of the utility speci‐
fied by the utility operand.
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
The following sections are informative.
The command, env, nice, nohup, time, and xargs utilities have been
specified to use exit code 127 if an error occurs so that applications
can distinguish ``failure to find a utility'' from ``invoked utility
exited with an error indication''. The value 127 was chosen because it
is not commonly used for other meanings; most utilities use small val‐
ues for ``normal error conditions'' and the values above 128 can be
confused with termination due to receipt of a signal. The value 126 was
chosen in a similar manner to indicate that the utility could be found,
but not invoked. Some scripts produce meaningful error messages differ‐
entiating the 126 and 127 cases. The distinction between exit codes 126
and 127 is based on KornShell practice that uses 127 when all attempts
to exec the utility fail with [ENOENT], and uses 126 when any attempt
to exec the utility fails for any other reason.
It is frequently desirable to apply nohup to pipelines or lists of com‐
mands. This can be done by placing pipelines and command lists in a
single file; this file can then be invoked as a utility, and the nohup
applies to everything in the file.
Alternatively, the following command can be used to apply nohup to a
nohup sh −c 'complex-command-line' </dev/null
The 4.3 BSD version ignores SIGTERM and SIGHUP, and if ./nohup.out can‐
not be used, it fails instead of trying to use $HOME/nohup.out.
The csh utility has a built-in version of nohup that acts differently
from the nohup defined in this volume of POSIX.1‐2008.
The term utility is used, rather than command, to highlight the fact
that shell compound commands, pipelines, special built-ins, and so on,
cannot be used directly. However, utility includes user application
programs and shell scripts, not just the standard utilities.
Historical versions of the nohup utility use default file creation
semantics. Some more recent versions use the permissions specified here
as an added security precaution.
Some historical implementations ignore SIGQUIT in addition to SIGHUP;
others ignore SIGTERM. An early proposal allowed, but did not require,
SIGQUIT to be ignored. Several reviewers objected that nohup should
only modify the handling of SIGHUP as required by this volume of
Historical versions of nohup did not affect standard input, but that
causes problems in the common scenario where the user logs into a sys‐
tem, types the command:
nohup make &
at the prompt, and then logs out. If standard input is not affected by
nohup, the login session may not terminate for quite some time, since
standard input remains open until make exits. To avoid this problem,
POSIX.1‐2008 allows implementations to redirect standard input if it is
a terminal. Since the behavior is implementation-defined, portable
applications that may run into the problem should redirect standard
input themselves. For example, instead of:
nohup make &
an application can invoke:
nohup make </dev/null &
Chapter 2, Shell Command Language, sh
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8, Environment
The System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, signal()COPYRIGHT
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information Technology
-- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base
Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the Institute of Electri‐
cal and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. (This is
POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1 applied.) In the
event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and
The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard
is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online
at http://www.unix.org/online.html .
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IEEE/The Open Group 2013 NOHUP(1P)