EXEC(1P) POSIX Programmer's Manual EXEC(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.
exec — execute commands and open, close, or copy file descriptors
exec [command [argument...]]
The exec utility shall open, close, and/or copy file descriptors as
specified by any redirections as part of the command.
If exec is specified without command or arguments, and any file
descriptors with numbers greater than 2 are opened with associated re‐
direction statements, it is unspecified whether those file descriptors
remain open when the shell invokes another utility. Scripts concerned
that child shells could misuse open file descriptors can always close
them explicitly, as shown in one of the following examples.
If exec is specified with command, it shall replace the shell with com‐
mand without creating a new process. If arguments are specified, they
shall be arguments to command. Redirection affects the current shell
See the DESCRIPTION.
The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.
If command is specified, exec shall not return to the shell; rather,
the exit status of the process shall be the exit status of the program
implementing command, which overlaid the shell. If command is not
found, the exit status shall be 127. If command is found, but it is not
an executable utility, the exit status shall be 126. If a redirection
error occurs (see Section 2.8.1, Consequences of Shell Errors), the
shell shall exit with a value in the range 1−125. Otherwise, exec shall
return a zero exit status.
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
The following sections are informative.
Open readfile as file descriptor 3 for reading:
exec 3< readfile
Open writefile as file descriptor 4 for writing:
exec 4> writefile
Make file descriptor 5 a copy of file descriptor 0:
Close file descriptor 3:
Cat the file maggie by replacing the current shell with the cat util‐
exec cat maggie
Most historical implementations were not conformant in that:
foo=bar exec cmd
did not pass foo to cmd.
Section 2.14, Special Built-In Utilities
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 .
Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are
most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the source
files to man page format. To report such errors, see https://www.ker‐
IEEE/The Open Group 2013 EXEC(1P)