path: root/Documentation/technical/api-run-command.txt
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authorJeff King <>2013-01-05 14:49:49 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2013-01-06 19:09:18 (GMT)
commit709ca730f8e093005cc882bfb86c0ca9c83d345b (patch)
treee9e24a6d0c6862e582decf0e3e896625991e56d1 /Documentation/technical/api-run-command.txt
parent0398fc349627a8a55ec4727bfb85fb7fad1f4ff0 (diff)
run-command: encode signal death as a positive integer
When a sub-command dies due to a signal, we encode the signal number into the numeric exit status as "signal - 128". This is easy to identify (versus a regular positive error code), and when cast to an unsigned integer (e.g., by feeding it to exit), matches what a POSIX shell would return when reporting a signal death in $? or through its own exit code. So we have a negative value inside the code, but once it passes across an exit() barrier, it looks positive (and any code we receive from a sub-shell will have the positive form). E.g., death by SIGPIPE (signal 13) will look like -115 to us in inside git, but will end up as 141 when we call exit() with it. And a program killed by SIGPIPE but run via the shell will come to us with an exit code of 141. Unfortunately, this means that when the "use_shell" option is set, we need to be on the lookout for _both_ forms. We might or might not have actually invoked the shell (because we optimize out some useless shell calls). If we didn't invoke the shell, we will will see the sub-process's signal death directly, and run-command converts it into a negative value. But if we did invoke the shell, we will see the shell's 128+signal exit status. To be thorough, we would need to check both, or cast the value to an unsigned char (after checking that it is not -1, which is a magic error value). Fortunately, most callsites do not care at all whether the exit was from a code or from a signal; they merely check for a non-zero status, and sometimes propagate the error via exit(). But for the callers that do care, we can make life slightly easier by just using the consistent positive form. This actually fixes two minor bugs: 1. In launch_editor, we check whether the editor died from SIGINT or SIGQUIT. But we checked only the negative form, meaning that we would fail to notice a signal death exit code which was propagated through the shell. 2. In handle_alias, we assume that a negative return value from run_command means that errno tells us something interesting (like a fork failure, or ENOENT). Otherwise, we simply propagate the exit code. Negative signal death codes confuse us, and we print a useless "unable to run alias 'foo': Success" message. By encoding signal deaths using the positive form, the existing code just propagates it as it would a normal non-zero exit code. The downside is that callers of run_command can no longer differentiate between a signal received directly by the sub-process, and one propagated. However, no caller currently cares, and since we already optimize out some calls to the shell under the hood, that distinction is not something that should be relied upon by callers. Fix the same logic in t/test-terminal.perl for consistency [jc: raised by Jonathan in the discussion]. Signed-off-by: Jeff King <> Acked-by: Johannes Sixt <> Reviewed-by: Jonathan Nieder <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation/technical/api-run-command.txt')
1 files changed, 2 insertions, 4 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/technical/api-run-command.txt b/Documentation/technical/api-run-command.txt
index f18b4f4..5d7d7f2 100644
--- a/Documentation/technical/api-run-command.txt
+++ b/Documentation/technical/api-run-command.txt
@@ -55,10 +55,8 @@ The functions above do the following:
. If the program terminated due to a signal, then the return value is the
- signal number - 128, ie. it is negative and so indicates an unusual
- condition; a diagnostic is printed. This return value can be passed to
- exit(2), which will report the same code to the parent process that a
- POSIX shell's $? would report for a program that died from the signal.
+ signal number + 128, ie. the same value that a POSIX shell's $? would
+ report. A diagnostic is printed.