EXECVE(2) Linux Programmer's Manual EXECVE(2)
execve - execute program
int execve (const char *filename, char *const argv ,
char *const envp);
execve() executes the program pointed to by filename.
filename must be either a binary executable, or a script
starting with a line of the form "#! interpreter [arg]".
In the latter case, the interpreter must be a valid path-
name for an executable which is not itself a script, which
will be invoked as interpreter [arg] filename.
execve() does not return on success, and the text, data,
bss, and stack of the calling process are overwritten by
that of the program loaded. The program invoked inherits
the calling process's PID, and any open file descriptors
that are not set to close on exec. Signals pending on the
parent process are cleared. Any signals set to be caught
by the calling process are reset to their default
If the current program is being ptraced, a SIGTRAP is sent
to it after a successful execve().
If the executable is an a.out dynamically-linked binary
executable containing shared-library stubs, the Linux
dynamic linker ld.so(8) is called at the start of execu-
tion to bring needed shared libraries into core and link
the executable with them.
If the executable is a dynamically-linked ELF executable,
the interpreter named in the PT_INTERP segment is used to
load the needed shared libraries. This interpreter is
typically /lib/ld-linux.so.1 for binaries linked with the
Linux libc version 5, or /lib/ld-linux.so.2 for binaries
linked with the GNU libc version 2.
On success, execve() does not return, on error -1 is
returned, and errno is set appropriately.
EACCES The file or a script interpreter is not a regular
EACCES Execute permission is denied for the file or a
EACCES The file system is mounted noexec.
EPERM The file system is mounted nosuid, the user is not
the superuser, and the file has an SUID or SGID
EPERM The process is being traced, the user is not the
superuser and the file has an SUID or SGID bit
E2BIG The argument list is too big.
ENOEXEC An executable is not in a recognised format, is
for the wrong architecture, or has some other for-
mat error that means it cannot be executed.
EFAULT filename points outside your accessible address
filename is too long.
ENOENT The file filename or a script or ELF interpreter
does not exist.
ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.
ENOTDIR A component of the path prefix of filename or a
script or ELF interpreter is not a directory.
EACCES Search permission is denied on a component of the
path prefix of filename or the name of a script
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in
resolving filename or the name of a script or ELF
Executable was open for writing by one or more
EIO An I/O error occurred.
ENFILE The limit on the total number of files open on the
system has been reached.
EMFILE The process has the maximum number of files open.
EINVAL An ELF executable had more than one PT_INTERP seg-
ment (i.e., tried to name more than one inter-
EISDIR An ELF interpreter was a directory.
ELIBBAD An ELF interpreter was not in a recognised format.
SVr4, SVID, X/OPEN, BSD 4.3. POSIX does not document the
#! behavior but is otherwise compatible. SVr4 documents
additional error conditions EAGAIN, EINTR, ELIBACC, ENO-
LINK, EMULTIHOP; POSIX does not document ETXTBSY, EPERM,
EFAULT, ELOOP, EIO, ENFILE, EMFILE, EINVAL, EISDIR or
ELIBBAD error conditions.
SUID and SGID processes can not be ptrace()d SUID or SGID.
A maximum line length of 127 characters is allowed for the
first line in a #! executable shell script.
Linux ignores the SUID and SGID bits on scripts.
ld.so(8), execl(3), fork(2)
Linux 2.0.30 3 September 1997 1