it is not a good practice to call
with arbitrary values to indicate a failure condition when ending
Instead, the pre-defined exit codes from
should be used, so the caller of the process can get a rough
estimation about the failure class without looking up the source code.
The successful exit is always indicated by a status of 0, or
Error numbers begin at
to reduce the possibility of clashing with other exit statuses that
random programs may already return.
The meaning of the codes is
approximately as follows:
The command was used incorrectly, e.g., with the wrong number of
arguments, a bad flag, a bad syntax in a parameter, or whatever.
The input data was incorrect in some way.
This should only be used
for user's data and not system files.
An input file (not a system file) did not exist or was not readable.
This could also include errors like
to a mailer (if it cared to catch it).
The user specified did not exist.
This might be used for mail
addresses or remote logins.
The host specified did not exist.
This is used in mail addresses or
A service is unavailable.
This can occur if a support program or file
does not exist.
This can also be used as a catchall message when
something you wanted to do does not work, but you do not know why.
An internal software error has been detected.
This should be limited
to non-operating system related errors as possible.
An operating system error has been detected.
This is intended to be
used for such things as
``cannot create pipe''
or the like.
It includes things like getuid returning a user that
does not exist in the passwd file.
Some system file (e.g.,
etc.) does not exist, cannot be opened, or has some sort of error
(e.g., syntax error).
A (user specified) output file cannot be created.
An error occurred while doing I/O on some file.
Temporary failure, indicating something that is not really an error.
In sendmail, this means that a mailer (e.g.) could not create a
connection, and the request should be reattempted later.
The remote system returned something that was
during a protocol exchange.
You did not have sufficient permission to perform the operation.
is not intended for file system problems, which should use
but rather for higher level permissions.
Something was found in an unconfigured or misconfigured state.
The numerical values corresponding to the symbolical ones are given in
parenthesis for easy reference.