sysexits - preferable exit codes for programs


#include <sysexits.h>


According to style(9), it is not a good practice to call ex
it(3) with
arbitrary values to indicate a failure condition when ending
a program.
Instead, the pre-defined exit codes from sysexits 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 EX__BASE to reduce the possibility of
with other exit statuses that random programs may already
return. The
meaning of the codes is approximately as follows:
EX_USAGE (64) The command was used incorrectly,
e.g., with the
wrong number of arguments, a bad flag,
a bad syntax
in a parameter, or whatever.
EX_DATAERR (65) The input data was incorrect in some
way. This
should only be used for user's data
and not system
EX_NOINPUT (66) An input file (not a system file) did
not exist or
was not readable. This could also in
clude errors
like ``No message'' to a mailer (if it
cared to
catch it).
EX_NOUSER (67) The user specified did not exist.
This might be
used for mail addresses or remote lo
EX_NOHOST (68) The host specified did not exist.
This is used in
mail addresses or network requests.
EX_UNAVAILABLE (69) A service is unavailable. This can
occur if a sup
port 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
EX_SOFTWARE (70) An internal software error has been
detected. This
should be limited to non-operating
system related
errors as possible.
EX_OSERR (71) An operating system error has been de
tected. This
is intended to be used for such things
as ``cannot
fork'', ``cannot create pipe'', or the
like. It
includes things like getuid returning
a user that
does not exist in the passwd file.
EX_OSFILE (72) Some system file (e.g., /etc/passwd,
etc.) does not exist, cannot be
opened, or has some
sort of error (e.g., syntax error).
EX_CANTCREAT (73) A (user specified) output file cannot
be created.
EX_IOERR (74) An error occurred while doing I/O on
some file.
EX_TEMPFAIL (75) Temporary failure, indicating some
thing that is not
really an error. In sendmail, this
means that a
mailer (e.g.) could not create a con
nection, and
the request should be reattempted lat
EX_PROTOCOL (76) The remote system returned something
that was ``not
possible'' during a protocol exchange.
EX_NOPERM (77) You did not have sufficient permission
to perform
the operation. This is not intended
for file system problems, which should use


EX_CANTCREAT, but rather for higher
level permissions.
EX_CONFIG (78) Something was found in an unconfigured
or miscon
figured state.
The numerical values corresponding to the symbolical ones
are given in
parenthesis for easy reference.


err(3), exit(3), style(9)


The sysexits file appeared somewhere after 4.3BSD.


This manual page was written by Jorg Wunsch after the com
ments in


The choice of an appropriate exit value is often ambiguous.
BSD March 31, 1996
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