Synopsis


#include <glib.h>


enum        GSpawnError;
#define     G_SPAWN_ERROR
enum        GSpawnFlags;
void        (*GSpawnChildSetupFunc)         (gpointer user_data);
gboolean    g_spawn_async_with_pipes        (const gchar *working_directory,
                                             gchar **argv,
                                             gchar **envp,
                                             GSpawnFlags flags,
                                             GSpawnChildSetupFunc child_setup,
                                             gpointer user_data,
                                             GPid *child_pid,
                                             gint *standard_input,
                                             gint *standard_output,
                                             gint *standard_error,
                                             GError **error);
gboolean    g_spawn_async                   (const gchar *working_directory,
                                             gchar **argv,
                                             gchar **envp,
                                             GSpawnFlags flags,
                                             GSpawnChildSetupFunc child_setup,
                                             gpointer user_data,
                                             GPid *child_pid,
                                             GError **error);
gboolean    g_spawn_sync                    (const gchar *working_directory,
                                             gchar **argv,
                                             gchar **envp,
                                             GSpawnFlags flags,
                                             GSpawnChildSetupFunc child_setup,
                                             gpointer user_data,
                                             gchar **standard_output,
                                             gchar **standard_error,
                                             gint *exit_status,
                                             GError **error);
gboolean    g_spawn_command_line_async      (const gchar *command_line,
                                             GError **error);
gboolean    g_spawn_command_line_sync       (const gchar *command_line,
                                             gchar **standard_output,
                                             gchar **standard_error,
                                             gint *exit_status,
                                             GError **error);
void        g_spawn_close_pid               (GPid pid);

Description

Details

enum GSpawnError

typedef enum
{
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_FORK,   /* fork failed due to lack of memory */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_READ,   /* read or select on pipes failed */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_CHDIR,  /* changing to working dir failed */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_ACCES,  /* execv() returned EACCES */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_PERM,   /* execv() returned EPERM */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_2BIG,   /* execv() returned E2BIG */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOEXEC, /* execv() returned ENOEXEC */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_NAMETOOLONG, /* ""  "" ENAMETOOLONG */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOENT,       /* ""  "" ENOENT */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOMEM,       /* ""  "" ENOMEM */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOTDIR,      /* ""  "" ENOTDIR */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_LOOP,        /* ""  "" ELOOP   */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_TXTBUSY,     /* ""  "" ETXTBUSY */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_IO,          /* ""  "" EIO */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_NFILE,       /* ""  "" ENFILE */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_MFILE,       /* ""  "" EMFLE */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_INVAL,       /* ""  "" EINVAL */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_ISDIR,       /* ""  "" EISDIR */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_LIBBAD,      /* ""  "" ELIBBAD */
  G_SPAWN_ERROR_FAILED       /* other fatal failure, error->message
                              * should explain
                              */
} GSpawnError;

Error codes returned by spawning processes.

G_SPAWN_ERROR_FORK Fork failed due to lack of memory.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_READ Read or select on pipes failed.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_CHDIR Changing to working directory failed.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_ACCES execv() returned EACCES.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_PERM execv() returned EPERM.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_2BIG execv() returned E2BIG.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOEXEC execv() returned ENOEXEC.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_NAMETOOLONG execv() returned ENAMETOOLONG.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOENT execv() returned ENOENT.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOMEM execv() returned ENOMEM.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_NOTDIR execv() returned ENOTDIR.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_LOOP execv() returned ELOOP.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_TXTBUSY execv() returned ETXTBUSY.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_IO execv() returned EIO.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_NFILE execv() returned ENFILE.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_MFILE execv() returned EMFILE.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_INVAL execv() returned EINVAL.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_ISDIR execv() returned EISDIR.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_LIBBAD execv() returned ELIBBAD.
G_SPAWN_ERROR_FAILED Some other fatal failure, error->message should explain.

G_SPAWN_ERROR

#define G_SPAWN_ERROR g_spawn_error_quark ()

Error domain for spawning processes. Errors in this domain will be from the GSpawnError enumeration. See GError for information on error domains.


enum GSpawnFlags

typedef enum
{
  G_SPAWN_LEAVE_DESCRIPTORS_OPEN = 1 << 0,
  G_SPAWN_DO_NOT_REAP_CHILD      = 1 << 1,
  /* look for argv[0] in the path i.e. use execvp() */
  G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH            = 1 << 2,
  /* Dump output to /dev/null */
  G_SPAWN_STDOUT_TO_DEV_NULL     = 1 << 3,
  G_SPAWN_STDERR_TO_DEV_NULL     = 1 << 4,
  G_SPAWN_CHILD_INHERITS_STDIN   = 1 << 5,
  G_SPAWN_FILE_AND_ARGV_ZERO     = 1 << 6
} GSpawnFlags;

Flags passed to g_spawn_sync(), g_spawn_async() and g_spawn_async_with_pipes().

G_SPAWN_LEAVE_DESCRIPTORS_OPEN the parent's open file descriptors will be inherited by the child; otherwise all descriptors except stdin/stdout/stderr will be closed before calling exec() in the child.
G_SPAWN_DO_NOT_REAP_CHILD the child will not be automatically reaped; you must call waitpid() or handle SIGCHLD yourself, or the child will become a zombie.
G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH argv[0] need not be an absolute path, it will be looked for in the user's PATH.
G_SPAWN_STDOUT_TO_DEV_NULL the child's standad output will be discarded, instead of going to the same location as the parent's standard output.
G_SPAWN_STDERR_TO_DEV_NULL the child's standard error will be discarded.
G_SPAWN_CHILD_INHERITS_STDIN the child will inherit the parent's standard input (by default, the child's standard input is attached to /dev/null).
G_SPAWN_FILE_AND_ARGV_ZERO the first element of argv is the file to execute, while the remaining elements are the actual argument vector to pass to the file. Normally g_spawn_async_with_pipes() uses argv[0] as the file to execute, and passes all of argv to the child.

GSpawnChildSetupFunc ()

void        (*GSpawnChildSetupFunc)         (gpointer user_data);

Specifies the type of the setup function passed to g_spawn_async(), g_spawn_sync() and g_spawn_async_with_pipes(). On POSIX platforms it is called in the child after GLib has performed all the setup it plans to perform but before calling exec(). On POSIX actions taken in this function will thus only affect the child, not the parent.

On Windows the function is called in the parent. Its usefulness on Windows is thus questionable. In many cases executing the child setup function in the parent can have ill effects, and you should be very careful when porting software to Windows that uses child setup functions.

user_data : user data to pass to the function.

g_spawn_async_with_pipes ()

gboolean    g_spawn_async_with_pipes        (const gchar *working_directory,
                                             gchar **argv,
                                             gchar **envp,
                                             GSpawnFlags flags,
                                             GSpawnChildSetupFunc child_setup,
                                             gpointer user_data,
                                             GPid *child_pid,
                                             gint *standard_input,
                                             gint *standard_output,
                                             gint *standard_error,
                                             GError **error);

Executes a child program asynchronously (your program will not block waiting for the child to exit). The child program is specified by the only argument that must be provided, argv. argv should be a NULL-terminated array of strings, to be passed as the argument vector for the child. The first string in argv is of course the name of the program to execute. By default, the name of the program must be a full path; the PATH shell variable will only be searched if you pass the G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH flag.

On Windows, note that all the string or string vector arguments to this function and the other g_spawn*() functions are in UTF-8, the GLib file name encoding. Unicode characters that are not part of the system codepage passed in argument vectors will be correctly available in the spawned program only if it uses wide character API to retrieve its command line. For C programs built with Microsoft's tools it is enough to make the program have a wmain() instead of main(). wmain() has a wide character argument vector as parameter.

At least currently, mingw doesn't support wmain(), so if you use mingw to develop the spawned program, it will have to call the undocumented function __wgetmainargs() to get the wide character argument vector and environment. See gspawn-win32-helper.c in the GLib sources or init.c in the mingw runtime sources for a prototype for that function. Alternatively, you can retrieve the Win32 system level wide character command line passed to the spawned program using the GetCommandLineW() function.

On Windows the low-level child process creation API CreateProcess() doesn't use argument vectors, but a command line. The C runtime library's spawn*() family of functions (which g_spawn_async_with_pipes() eventually calls) paste the argument vector elements together into a command line, and the C runtime startup code does a corresponding reconstruction of an argument vector from the command line, to be passed to main(). Complications arise when you have argument vector elements that contain spaces of double quotes. The spawn*() functions don't do any quoting or escaping, but on the other hand the startup code does do unquoting and unescaping in order to enable receiving arguments with embedded spaces or double quotes. To work around this asymmetry, g_spawn_async_with_pipes() will do quoting and escaping on argument vector elements that need it before calling the C runtime spawn() function.

envp is a NULL-terminated array of strings, where each string has the form KEY=VALUE. This will become the child's environment. If envp is NULL, the child inherits its parent's environment.

flags should be the bitwise OR of any flags you want to affect the function's behaviour. The G_SPAWN_DO_NOT_REAP_CHILD means that the child will not automatically be reaped; you must use a GChildWatch source to be notified about the death of the child process. Eventually you must call g_spawn_close_pid() on the child_pid, in order to free resources which may be associated with the child process. (On Unix, using a GChildWatch source is equivalent to calling waitpid() or handling the SIGCHLD signal manually. On Windows, calling g_spawn_close_pid() is equivalent to calling CloseHandle() on the process handle returned in child_pid).

G_SPAWN_LEAVE_DESCRIPTORS_OPEN means that the parent's open file descriptors will be inherited by the child; otherwise all descriptors except stdin/stdout/stderr will be closed before calling exec() in the child. G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH means that argv[0] need not be an absolute path, it will be looked for in the user's PATH. G_SPAWN_STDOUT_TO_DEV_NULL means that the child's standard output will be discarded, instead of going to the same location as the parent's standard output. If you use this flag, standard_output must be NULL. G_SPAWN_STDERR_TO_DEV_NULL means that the child's standard error will be discarded, instead of going to the same location as the parent's standard error. If you use this flag, standard_error must be NULL. G_SPAWN_CHILD_INHERITS_STDIN means that the child will inherit the parent's standard input (by default, the child's standard input is attached to /dev/null). If you use this flag, standard_input must be NULL. G_SPAWN_FILE_AND_ARGV_ZERO means that the first element of argv is the file to execute, while the remaining elements are the actual argument vector to pass to the file. Normally g_spawn_async_with_pipes() uses argv[0] as the file to execute, and passes all of argv to the child.

child_setup and user_data are a function and user data. On POSIX platforms, the function is called in the child after GLib has performed all the setup it plans to perform (including creating pipes, closing file descriptors, etc.) but before calling exec(). That is, child_setup is called just before calling exec() in the child. Obviously actions taken in this function will only affect the child, not the parent. On Windows, there is no separate fork() and exec() functionality. Child processes are created and run with a single API call, CreateProcess(). child_setup is called in the parent process just before creating the child process. You should carefully consider what you do in child_setup if you intend your software to be portable to Windows.

If non-NULL, child_pid will on Unix be filled with the child's process ID. You can use the process ID to send signals to the child, or to waitpid() if you specified the G_SPAWN_DO_NOT_REAP_CHILD flag. On Windows, child_pid will be filled with a handle to the child process only if you specified the G_SPAWN_DO_NOT_REAP_CHILD flag. You can then access the child process using the Win32 API, for example wait for its termination with the WaitFor*() functions, or examine its exit code with GetExitCodeProcess(). You should close the handle with CloseHandle() or g_spawn_close_pid() when you no longer need it.

If non-NULL, the standard_input, standard_output, standard_error locations will be filled with file descriptors for writing to the child's standard input or reading from its standard output or standard error. The caller of g_spawn_async_with_pipes() must close these file descriptors when they are no longer in use. If these parameters are NULL, the corresponding pipe won't be created.

If standard_input is NULL, the child's standard input is attached to /dev/null unless G_SPAWN_CHILD_INHERITS_STDIN is set.

If standard_error is NULL, the child's standard error goes to the same location as the parent's standard error unless G_SPAWN_STDERR_TO_DEV_NULL is set.

If standard_output is NULL, the child's standard output goes to the same location as the parent's standard output unless G_SPAWN_STDOUT_TO_DEV_NULL is set.

error can be NULL to ignore errors, or non-NULL to report errors. If an error is set, the function returns FALSE. Errors are reported even if they occur in the child (for example if the executable in argv[0] is not found). Typically the message field of returned errors should be displayed to users. Possible errors are those from the G_SPAWN_ERROR domain.

If an error occurs, child_pid, standard_input, standard_output, and standard_error will not be filled with valid values.

If child_pid is not NULL and an error does not occur then the returned pid must be closed using g_spawn_close_pid().

working_directory : child's current working directory, or NULL to inherit parent's, in the GLib file name encoding
argv : child's argument vector, in the GLib file name encoding
envp : child's environment, or NULL to inherit parent's, in the GLib file name encoding
flags : flags from GSpawnFlags
child_setup : function to run in the child just before exec()
user_data : user data for child_setup
child_pid : return location for child process ID, or NULL
standard_input : return location for file descriptor to write to child's stdin, or NULL
standard_output : return location for file descriptor to read child's stdout, or NULL
standard_error : return location for file descriptor to read child's stderr, or NULL
error : return location for error
Returns : TRUE on success, FALSE if an error was set

g_spawn_async ()

gboolean    g_spawn_async                   (const gchar *working_directory,
                                             gchar **argv,
                                             gchar **envp,
                                             GSpawnFlags flags,
                                             GSpawnChildSetupFunc child_setup,
                                             gpointer user_data,
                                             GPid *child_pid,
                                             GError **error);

See g_spawn_async_with_pipes() for a full description; this function simply calls the g_spawn_async_with_pipes() without any pipes.

working_directory : child's current working directory, or NULL to inherit parent's
argv : child's argument vector
envp : child's environment, or NULL to inherit parent's
flags : flags from GSpawnFlags
child_setup : function to run in the child just before exec()
user_data : user data for child_setup
child_pid : return location for child process ID, or NULL
error : return location for error
Returns : TRUE on success, FALSE if error is set

g_spawn_sync ()

gboolean    g_spawn_sync                    (const gchar *working_directory,
                                             gchar **argv,
                                             gchar **envp,
                                             GSpawnFlags flags,
                                             GSpawnChildSetupFunc child_setup,
                                             gpointer user_data,
                                             gchar **standard_output,
                                             gchar **standard_error,
                                             gint *exit_status,
                                             GError **error);

Executes a child synchronously (waits for the child to exit before returning). All output from the child is stored in standard_output and standard_error, if those parameters are non-NULL. If exit_status is non-NULL, the exit status of the child is stored there as it would be returned by waitpid(); standard UNIX macros such as WIFEXITED() and WEXITSTATUS() must be used to evaluate the exit status. If an error occurs, no data is returned in standard_output, standard_error, or exit_status.

This function calls g_spawn_async_with_pipes() internally; see that function for full details on the other parameters and details on how these functions work on Windows.

working_directory : child's current working directory, or NULL to inherit parent's
argv : child's argument vector
envp : child's environment, or NULL to inherit parent's
flags : flags from GSpawnFlags
child_setup : function to run in the child just before exec()
user_data : user data for child_setup
standard_output : return location for child output
standard_error : return location for child error messages
exit_status : return location for child exit status, as returned by waitpid()
error : return location for error
Returns : TRUE on success, FALSE if an error was set.

g_spawn_command_line_async ()

gboolean    g_spawn_command_line_async      (const gchar *command_line,
                                             GError **error);

A simple version of g_spawn_async() that parses a command line with g_shell_parse_argv() and passes it to g_spawn_async(). Runs a command line in the background. Unlike g_spawn_async(), the G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH flag is enabled, other flags are not. Note that G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH can have security implications, so consider using g_spawn_async() directly if appropriate. Possible errors are those from g_shell_parse_argv() and g_spawn_async().

The same concerns on Windows apply as for g_spawn_command_line_sync().

command_line : a command line
error : return location for errors
Returns : TRUE on success, FALSE if error is set.

g_spawn_command_line_sync ()

gboolean    g_spawn_command_line_sync       (const gchar *command_line,
                                             gchar **standard_output,
                                             gchar **standard_error,
                                             gint *exit_status,
                                             GError **error);

A simple version of g_spawn_sync() with little-used parameters removed, taking a command line instead of an argument vector. See g_spawn_sync() for full details. command_line will be parsed by g_shell_parse_argv(). Unlike g_spawn_sync(), the G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH flag is enabled. Note that G_SPAWN_SEARCH_PATH can have security implications, so consider using g_spawn_sync() directly if appropriate. Possible errors are those from g_spawn_sync() and those from g_shell_parse_argv().

If exit_status is non-NULL, the exit status of the child is stored there as it would be returned by waitpid(); standard UNIX macros such as WIFEXITED() and WEXITSTATUS() must be used to evaluate the exit status.

On Windows, please note the implications of g_shell_parse_argv() parsing command_line. Parsing is done according to Unix shell rules, not Windows command interpreter rules. Space is a separator, and backslashes are special. Thus you cannot simply pass a command_line containing canonical Windows paths, like "c:\\program files\\app\\app.exe", as the backslashes will be eaten, and the space will act as a separator. You need to enclose such paths with single quotes, like "'c:\\program files\\app\\app.exe' 'e:\\folder\\argument.txt'".

command_line : a command line
standard_output : return location for child output
standard_error : return location for child errors
exit_status : return location for child exit status, as returned by waitpid()
error : return location for errors
Returns : TRUE on success, FALSE if an error was set

g_spawn_close_pid ()

void        g_spawn_close_pid               (GPid pid);

On some platforms, notably WIN32, the GPid type represents a resource which must be closed to prevent resource leaking. g_spawn_close_pid() is provided for this purpose. It should be used on all platforms, even though it doesn't do anything under UNIX.

pid : The process identifier to close