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Old 01-21-2005, 03:35 PM   #1
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return codes in c

Ok im just begining c programming and i got a question.

Whats with return codes in main?

i understand that when you return something to the calling program like in a custom function you can return values

but what is the use for return 1 if something in main failes.

nothing ever reads main's return code. Is it a usefull thing to do or is it just used for clarity in C programming, or perhaps it was used at some time by a now extint os ?

Last edited by exvor; 01-21-2005 at 03:38 PM.
Old 01-21-2005, 03:41 PM   #2
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That's so the OS can use it in a script, for instance.

Old 01-21-2005, 03:45 PM   #3
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To elaborate:
16:42 aluser@alf:~/C$ cat > test.c
int main() {
  return 42;
16:43 aluser@alf:~/C$ gcc -o test test.c
16:43 aluser@alf:~/C$ ./test
16:43 aluser@alf:~/C$ echo $?
If you want the really gory details, a process gets information about one of its children's exit status via wait() or waitpid(). Type man 2 wait for how to use those syscalls.
Old 01-21-2005, 03:49 PM   #4
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Yea I could see how that would be benifical in linux in a shell script. You could test the value of the program to see if it was sucessfull or not.

I guess in windows it would be useless unless you were in effect using it in the same manner in a batch file. But a standalone program would have no use for it.

In my programing im trying not to side with either camp (windows / linux) i really started out learning just for linux but if i ever want to use this skill in a company enviorment Im gonna have to learn how to program in C for windows.

:P in either effect it should be interesting. I sure get a chukkle every time i crash CMD in windows xp when linux just give me a nice simple error "segmentaion fault"
Old 01-21-2005, 08:45 PM   #5
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I am not that familiar with C but it is similar to java in many ways. If you really have aproblem with returning 1 then you can make main return void.


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