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Re: exec vs. source spawning piped commands

From: Andreas Schwab
Subject: Re: exec vs. source spawning piped commands
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 11:25:16 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.3 (gnu/linux)

Pete Nelson <address@hidden> writes:

> I'm confused about what exec is doing in this case.
> Sample script t:
> #!/bin/bash
> echo $0 pid: $$ ppid: $PPID args: $* 1>&2
> if [ -z "$1" ]; then
>   exec $0 first | $0 second
>   echo should not reach here
> fi
> output:
> $ ./t
> ./t pid: 13746 ppid: 12823 args:
> /home/user/t pid: 13747 ppid: 13746 args: first
> ./t pid: 13748 ppid: 13746 args: second
> should not reach here
> Using exec, I would expect the second line (arg: first) to have the same pid
> and ppid, but it forks a new process.

Since the exec command is part of a pipeline, it is always run in a

> Using source instead of exec does run the first piped command in the current
> shell process, as expected.

It doesn't really.  The $$ and $PPID variables are not reset when the
shell forks a subshell, even though it is a new process.  By the use of
source you aren't leaving the subshell context, whereas when you run the
script normally (with or without exec) a new shell is executed that
initializes its own $$ and $PPID variables.

> My intention is to give the second piped process the ability to send signals
> to the first using its $PPID variable.

The parent of a pipeline process is always the calling shell.


Andreas Schwab, address@hidden
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