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Manual Pages  — DAEMON


daemon – run in the background



Standard C Library (libc, -lc)


#include <stdlib.h>

daemon(int nochdir, int noclose);

daemonfd(int chdirfd, int nullfd);


The daemon() function is for programs wishing to detach themselves from the controlling terminal and run in the background as system daemons.

Unless the argument nochdir is non-zero, daemon() changes the current working directory to the root ( /).

Unless the argument noclose is non-zero, daemon() will redirect standard input, standard output, and standard error to /dev/null.

The daemonfd() function is equivalent to the daemon() function except that arguments are the descriptors for the current working directory and to the descriptor to /dev/null.

If chdirfd is equal to (-1) the current working directory is not changed.

If nullfd is equals to (-1) the redirection of standard input, standard output, and standard error is not closed.


The daemonand daemonfd functions return the value 0 if successful; otherwise the value -1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the error.


The daemon() and daemonfd() function may fail and set errno for any of the errors specified for the library functions fork(2) open(2), and setsid(2).


fork(2), setsid(2), sigaction(2)


The daemon() function first appeared in BSD 4.4 . The daemonfd() function first appeared in FreeBSD 12.0 .


Unless the noclose argument is non-zero, daemon() will close the first three file descriptors and redirect them to /dev/null. Normally, these correspond to standard input, standard output, and standard error. However, if any of those file descriptors refer to something else, they will still be closed, resulting in incorrect behavior of the calling program. This can happen if any of standard input, standard output, or standard error have been closed before the program was run. Programs using daemon() should therefore either call daemon() before opening any files or sockets, or verify that any file descriptors obtained have values greater than 2.

The daemon() function temporarily ignores SIGHUP while calling setsid(2) to prevent a parent session group leader's calls to fork(2) and then _exit(2) from prematurely terminating the child process.

DAEMON (3) December 23, 2017

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