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KILL(2) NetBSD System Calls Manual KILL(2)
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Maintained for NetBSD
by Kimmo Suominen.
Based on man-cgi by Panagiotis Christias.
kill -- send signal to a process
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
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 process 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(3).
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
signaled, otherwise ESRCH is returned.
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
If sig is equal to 0, then no signal is sent to the process ID or process
group ID, but error checking is performed. This can be used to check if
the process ID or process group ID exist.
Upon successful completion, a value of 0 is returned. Otherwise, a value
of -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the error.
kill() will fail and no signal will be sent if:
[EINVAL] sig is not a valid signal number.
[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.
[ESRCH] No process can be found corresponding to that speci-
fied by pid; or the process id was given as 0 but the
sending process does not have a process group.
getpgrp(2), getpid(2), sigaction(2), killpg(3), signal(7)
The kill() function is expected to conform to ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990
NetBSD 9.99 February 8, 2021 NetBSD 9.99