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I've written quite a few shell scripts over the years (but I'm certainly not a sysadmin) and there's something that always caused me troubles: how can I fork a shell command immune to hangups in the background from a Bash script?

For example if I have this:

command_which_takes_time input > output

How can I "nohup" and fork this?

The following doesn't seem to do what I want:

nohup command_which_takes_time input > output &

What is the syntax I am looking for and what am I not understanding?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Try creating subshell with (...) :

( command_which_takes_time input > output ) &


~$ ( (sleep 10; date) > /tmp/q ) &
[1] 19521
~$ cat /tmp/q # ENTER
~$ cat /tmp/q # ENTER
(...) #AFTER 10 seconds
~$ cat /tmp/q #ENTER
Wed Jan 11 01:35:55 CET 2012
[1]+  Done                    ( ( sleep 10; date ) > /tmp/q )
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You should try setsid(1). Use it like you'd use nohup:

setsid command_which_takes_time input > output

This (as per the setsid(2) manpage), does a fork(2), an _exit(2) of the parent process, then the child process calls setsid(2) to create a new process group (session).

You can't kill that by logging out, and it's not part of the Bash job control shebang. For all intents and purposes, it's a proper daemon.

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/usr/sbin/daemon -f <command> <command args>
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This will work (do not type any extra spaces):

command &>output.file
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