- issue a shell command
#include <stdlib.h> int system(const char *string);
The system() function causes string to be given to the shell as input, as if string had been typed as a command at a terminal. The invoker waits until the shell has completed, then returns the exit status of the shell in the format specified by waitpid(3C).
If string is a null pointer, system() checks if the shell exists and is executable. If the shell is available, system() returns a non-zero value; otherwise, it returns 0. The standard to which the caller conforms determines which shell is used. See standards(5).
The system() function executes vfork(2) to create a child process that in turn invokes one of the exec family of functions (see exec(2)) on the shell to execute string. If vfork() or the exec function fails, system() returns -1 and sets errno to indicate the error.
The system() function fails if:
The system-imposed limit on the total number of processes under execution by a single user would be exceeded.
The system() function was interrupted by a signal.
The new process requires more memory than is available.
The system() function manipulates the signal handlers for SIGINT, SIGQUIT, and SIGCHLD. It is therefore not safe to call system() in a multithreaded process, since some other thread that manipulates these signal handlers and a thread that concurrently calls system() can interfere with each other in a destructive manner. If, however, no such other thread is active, system() can safely be called concurrently from multiple threads. See popen(3C) for an alternative to system() that is thread-safe.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes: