Run a command for a given time

very_long_command& sleep 10; kill $!
or "Execute a command with a timeout" Run a command in background, sleep 10 seconds, kill it. ! is the process id of the most recently executed background command. You can test it with: find /& sleep10; kill $!

6
By: dooblem
2010-04-29 20:43:13

7 Alternatives + Submit Alt


  • 40
    timeout 5s COMMAND
    kev · 2011-11-19 06:14:33 2

  • 23
    timeout 10 sleep 11
    syssyphus · 2009-09-23 14:59:40 7
  • In this example the command "somecommand" will be executed and sent a SIGALARM signal if it runs for more than 10 seconds. It uses the perl alarm function. It's not 100% accurate on timing, but close enough. I found this really useful when executing scripts and commands that I knew might hang E.g. ones that connect to services that might not be running. Importantly this can be used within a sequential script. The command will not release control until either the command completes or the timeout is hit. Show Sample Output


    5
    perl -e "alarm 10; exec @ARGV" "somecommand"
    jgc · 2009-09-23 12:03:55 4
  • I like much more the perl solution, but without using perl. It launches a backgroup process that will kill the command if it lasts too much. A bigger function: check_with_timeout() { [ "$DEBUG" ] && set -x COMMAND=$1 TIMEOUT=$2 RET=0 # Launch command in backgroup [ ! "$DEBUG" ] && exec 6>&2 # Link file descriptor #6 with stderr. [ ! "$DEBUG" ] && exec 2> /dev/null # Send stderr to null (avoid the Terminated messages) $COMMAND 2>&1 >/dev/null & COMMAND_PID=$! [ "$DEBUG" ] && echo "Background command pid $COMMAND_PID, parent pid $$" # Timer that will kill the command if timesout sleep $TIMEOUT && ps -p $COMMAND_PID -o pid,ppid |grep $$ | awk '{print $1}' | xargs kill & KILLER_PID=$! [ "$DEBUG" ] && echo "Killer command pid $KILLER_PID, parent pid $$" wait $COMMAND_PID RET=$? # Kill the killer timer [ "$DEBUG" ] && ps -e -o pid,ppid |grep $KILLER_PID | awk '{print $1}' | xargs echo "Killing processes: " ps -e -o pid,ppid |grep -v PID | grep $KILLER_PID | awk '{print $1}' | xargs kill wait sleep 1 [ ! "$DEBUG" ] && exec 2>&6 6>&- # Restore stderr and close file descriptor #6. return $RET }


    4
    $COMMAND 2>&1 >/dev/null & WPID=$!; sleep $TIMEOUT && kill $! & KPID=$!; wait $WPID
    keymon · 2010-05-26 11:12:26 0
  • A timeout is great, but what if the command is taking longer than expected because it's hung up or ran into some other problem? That's where the -k option comes in. Run "some_command" and timeout after 30s. If the command is still running after 1 minute, it will receive a kill signal.


    2
    timeout -k 1m 30s some_command
    tlemerond · 2012-03-27 18:06:18 0

What Others Think

Damn I LOVE this command.
Xinerama · 445 weeks and 6 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

You must be signed in to comment.

What's this?

commandlinefu.com is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Share Your Commands



Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.

» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu3
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu10

Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for: