A signal is a message which can be sent to a running process. Signals can be initiated by programs, users, or administrators.

Handling Signals

Each Unix signal has a default set of effects on a Unix program. Programmers can code their applications to respond in customized ways to most signals. These custom pieces of code are called signal handlers.

Two signals are unable to be redefined by a signal handler. SIGKILL always stops a process and SIGSTOP always moves a process from the foreground to the background. These two signals cannot be "caught" by a signal handler.