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Old 06-21-2009, 02:22 AM   #1
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Question how to keep a program running

another newbie here, struggling with my dedicated Linux server.

My question is: I have a custom installed program that needs to run 24/7. Before I was able to keep it running with nohup command. But after the upgrade, something keeps terminating the program every few days. Being a total newbie, I don't think I will be able to investigate what keeps shutting down my program.

My question is: what are my other options? What else can I use to keep my program running all the time? My server runs on Centos 5.3, have a WHM and I also have some very basic underatnding how to use SSH and putty. Thanks
Old 06-21-2009, 02:50 AM   #2
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You really haven't given enough information.

Perhaps something is "killing" the program. More likely, the program is just rolling over and dying itself.

1. If possible, talk to the program's developer. See if she/he has any ideas why the program might crash, and if he/she has any suggestions for troubleshooting the problem.

2. If the program has logging, be sure to enable it. Look for the last log entries before it stops for potential clues as to why it's stopping.


3. Run the program in gdb. If the program is actually crashing, you might be able to get a stack trace of where it crashed (and, consequently, clues as to *why* it crashed).

'Hope that helps .. PSM
Old 06-21-2009, 05:20 AM   #3
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nohup will only block the HUP signal to the program; that's the signal that the operating system sends to the program when the terminal closes.

There are other signals that can kill your program; KILL, for example, can be sent only by another userspace program, and will terminate the program. KILL can't be blocked. Another option is SIGSEGV, which is sent by the OS when the program tries to access a part of it's virtual memory space that hasn't been allocated (ie dereferencing a wild pointer); this would always indicate a bug in the program. You can get a full list of signals from

Basically, you need to know what is killing the program. The easiest way to do that is either to run the program through gdb as paulsm4 suggests, or through strace (which may provide more detailed logging if this is a signal problem).
Old 06-21-2009, 07:07 PM   #4
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thanks for the responses, I contacted the developer of the program (which actually IS indeed in testing stage), so there could be a bug in it. He said he would try to work it out, but in the meantime he suggested I write a script to start the program and nohup this script.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to write such script. any ideas? the program is located in /usr/local/bin/program_name
Old 06-21-2009, 08:05 PM   #5
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nohup /usr/local/bin/program_name > /var/log/program_name.log 2>&1 &
is the basic one-line script.
(redirect might not be needed if prog already does its own logging, depends on why it dies.)
I suspect what he meant was write a watchdog prog (short shell script) to run from cron every say 5 mins to check the target prog. If target is dead, restart program.
As it seems to be dying unexpectedly, I'd use

ps -ef|grep program_name

to check. More reliable than pid files etc.
Old 06-21-2009, 08:18 PM   #6
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