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execve - execute a file
Execve() transforms the calling process into a new process. The new process is constructed from an ordinary file, whose name is pointed to by path, called the new process file. This file is either an executable object file, or a file of data for an interpreter. An executable object file consists of an identifying header, followed by pages of data representing the initial program (text) and initialized data pages. Additional pages may be specified by the header to be initialized with zero data; see a.out(5) .
An interpreter file begins with a line of the form:
#! interpreter [arg]
When an interpreter file is execve()'d, the system execve()'s runs the specified interpreter. If the optional arg is specified, it becomes the first argument to the interpreter, and the name of the originally execve()'d file becomes the second argument; otherwise, the name of the originally execve()'d file becomes the first argument. The original arguments are shifted over to become the subsequent arguments. The zeroth argument, normally the name of the execve()'d file, is left unchanged.
The argument argv is a pointer to a null-terminated array of character pointers to null-terminated character strings. These strings construct the argument list to be made available to the new process. At least one argument must be present in the array; by custom, the first element should be the name of the executed program (for example, the last component of path).
The argument envp is also a pointer to a null-terminated array of character pointers to null-terminated strings. A pointer to this array is normally stored in the global variable environ. These strings pass information to the new process that is not directly an argument to the command (see environ(7) ).
File descriptors open in the calling process image remain open in the new process image, except for those for which the close-on-exec flag is set (see close(2) and fcntl(2) ). Descriptors that remain open are unaffected by execve().
Signals set to be ignored in the calling process are set to be ignored in the new process. Signals which are set to be caught in the calling process image are set to default action in the new process image. Blocked signals remain blocked regardless of changes to the signal action. The signal stack is reset to be undefined (see sigaction(2) for more information).
If the set-user-ID mode bit of the new process image file is set (see chmod(2) ), the effective user ID of the new process image is set to the owner ID of the new process image file. If the set-group-ID mode bit of the new process image file is set, the effective group ID of the new process image is set to the group ID of the new process image file. (The effective group ID is the first element of the group list.) The real user ID, real group ID and other group IDs of the new process image remain the same as the calling process image. After any set-user-ID and set-group-ID processing, the effective user ID is recorded as the saved set-user-ID, and the effective group ID is recorded as the saved setgroup-ID. These values may be used in changing the effective IDs later (see setuid(2) ).
The new process also inherits the following attributes from the calling process:
When a program is executed as a result of an execve() call, it is entered as follows:
main(argc, argv, envp)
where argc is the number of elements in argv (the ``arg count'') and argv points to the array of character pointers to the arguments themselves.
As the execve() function overlays the current process image with a new process image the successful call has no process to return to. If execve() does return to the calling process an error has occurred; the return value will be -1 and the global variable errno is set to indicate the error.
Execve() will fail and return to the calling process if:
If a program is setuid to a non-super-user, but is executed when the real uid is ``root'', then the program has some of the powers of a super-user as well.
The execve() function call appeared in 4.2BSD.