Out of: http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/basedefs/errno.h.html

It's always pretty clear why an errno code is named a particular way except for this one. How does SRCH relate to No such process?

  • Probably grep or pgrep returns it because of failure to search the process list. – cat Jan 31 '16 at 23:11
  • My IDE, Atom, returns ESRCH when searching the package list if there is no internet connection. Purely anecdotal, and probably on purpose rather than perchance. – cat Jan 31 '16 at 23:12

POSIX kill documents the "search" connotation:

No process or process group can be found corresponding to that specified by pid.

The previous issue (2004) gave in the rationale more information:

Some implementations provide semantic extensions to the kill() function when the absolute value of pid is greater than some maximum, or otherwise special, value. Negative values are a flag to kill(). Since most implementations return [ESRCH] in this case, this behavior is not included in this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, although a conforming implementation could provide such an extension.


The string ESRCH looks cryptic, but after looking at the other errors and their strings: (taken from http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/functions/kill.html)

  • [EINVAL] The value of the sig argument is an invalid or unsupported signal number.
  • [EPERM] The process does not have permission to send the signal to any receiving process.

Seems logical that E stands for error, INVAL for invalid and PERM for permission. In the same logical line, SRCH stands for search.

Error searching pid/pid group.

  • Welcome to U&L! I see that you've referenced the kill function and two other errors, but I don't yet see any supporting evidence for the Question: How does "SRCH" relate to "No such process"? – Jeff Schaller Aug 29 '18 at 20:24

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