exec, execl – execute a file

#include <u.h>
#include <libc.h>
int exec(char *name, char* argv[])
int execl(char *name, ...)

Exec and execl overlay the calling process with the named file, then transfer to the entry point of the image of the file.
Name points to the name of the file to be executed; it must not be a directory, and the permissions must allow the current user to execute it (see stat(3)). It should also be a valid binary image, as defined by the local operating system, or a shell script (see rc(1)). The first line of a shell script must begin with #! followed by the name of the program to interpret the file and any initial arguments to that program, for example
ls | mc
When a C program is executed, it is called as follows:
void main(int argc, char *argv[])
Argv is a copy of the array of argument pointers passed to exec; that array must end in a null pointer, and argc is the number of elements before the null pointer. By convention, the first argument should be the name of the program to be executed. Execl is like exec except that argv will be an array of the parameters that follow name in the call. The last argument to execl must be a null pointer.
For a file beginning #!, the arguments passed to the program (/bin/rc in the example above) will be the name of the file being executed, any arguments on the #! line, the name of the file again, and finally the second and subsequent arguments given to the original exec call. The result honors the two conventions of a program accepting as argument a file to be interpreted and argv[0] naming the file being executed.
Most attributes of the calling process are carried into the result; in particular, files remain open across exec (except those opened with OCEXEC OR’d into the open mode; see open(3)); and the working directory and environment (see getenv(3)) remain the same. However, a newly exec’ed process has no notification handlers (see notify(3)).


prof(1), intro(3), stat(3)

If these functions fail, they return and set errstr. There can be no return from a successful exec or execl; the calling image is lost.

On Unix, unlike on Plan 9, exec and execl use the user’s current path to locate prog. This is a clumsy way to deal with Unix’s lack of a union directory for /bin.
To avoid name conflicts with the underlying system, exec and execl are preprocessor macros defined as p9exec and p9execl; see intro(3).

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