CommonCodes is an attempt to standardize the meaning of exit statuses of programs written for Unix like systems.
CommonCodes includes the 15 exit codes defined by BSD in
sysexits.h that range from 64 to 78.
GNU Bash uses the exit status 2 to indicate incorrect usage of shell builtins. Bash also uses codes above 125 for special exit statuses like termination by a sent signal.
CommonCodes adopts both of these rules, using 2 as a generic usage error and not defining any codes above 125.
If you're going to use the CommonCodes standard in your program, be sure to document it. A good place would be both the
--help summary and the programs manpage.
It is recommended to always add which exact version is being used.
Some ranges have been kept empty so that developers may add error messages of their own, tailored to the program that they are writing.
If statuses in these ranges are defined then they should also always be documented. Again in the
--help summary and in the manpage.
In the following table, these rules apply for the status messages:
- Italic and/or underlined symbols are placeholders for other text that should get replaced for real messages.
- Text and symbols in bold square brackets may be ommitted in real messages.
- Text and symbols followed by bold ellipsis may be repeated one or more times in real messages.
- In real messages, only one field of text and symbols may be displayed if they are separated by bold vertical bars(|).
Some status messages have the suffix
appendend to them and a lot of usage errors about arguments also contain the placeholder
may be more information on what the error represents and why it happened.
may be either a POSIX short option or a GNU long option, if that option received the argument that is invalid except the program itself.
Exit Status Table
The program executed successfully or the
Any other error that doesn't fit in any other category.
Any other program usage error that doesn't fit in any other category.
Not enough arguments have been passed down to the program or to an option of the program.
Too many arguments have been passed down to the program or to an option of the program.
The entered option is not specified in the program.
The seen option at this position with the set combination and order of arguments and other options is invalid.
The argument is invalid and cannot be used.
The entered (sub)command of the program is not known.
Program can not work with empty or blank argument.
The argument is not a valid number or is not a valid integer.
The numerical argument is out of the given range.
The argument does not match the pattern provided. The pattern can be glob, regex or any other pattern matching system.
|13 - 23|| |
Usage errors defined by the developer of the program. These should always be documented.
The item in question could not be found.
The item in question is of the wrong type.
A general network error occurred.
No network connection is established.
A network request took too long and timed out.
A general arithmetic error occurred.
A division by 0 was tried to be executed and there was no fallback option.
An overflow or underflow happened and it has critical effects on the program.
|32 - 47|| |
Custom exit codes defined by the developer that aren't actually errors, but rather, feedback for the program user.
|48 - 63|| |
General custom errors defined by the developer. These should always be documented.
The command was used incorrectly, e.g., with the wrong number of arguments, a bad flag, a bad syntax in a parameter, or whatever.
The input data was incorrect in some way.
An input file (not a system file) did not exist or was not readable. This could also include errors like "No message" to a mailer (if it cared to catch it).
The user specified did not exist.
The host specified did not exist.
A service is unavailable. This can occur if a support program or file does not exist.
An internal software error has been detected.
An operating system error has been detected.
Some system file (e.g., /etc/passwd, /etc/utmp, etc.) does not exist, cannot be opened, or has some sort of error (e.g., syntax error).
A (user specified) output file cannot be created.
An error occurred while doing I/O on some file.
Temporary failure, indicating something that is not really an error.
The remote system returned something that was "not possible" during a protocol exchange.
You did not have sufficient permission to perform the operation.
Something was found in an unconfigured or misconfigured state.
|79 - 98|| |
Configuration, property and setting errors defined by the developer. These should always be documented.
A general memory error occurred.
There was not enough free memory (either heap or kernel memory) to perform an operation.
A stack overflow occurred.
General internal fault.
|103 - 122|| |
Different internal faults, defined by the developer. These should always be documented.
The program was intentionally halted by the developer because a value is invalid and can't be worked with.
The shell script can either only be executed interactively (using command "." or "source"), or not interactively (executing via "./").
Cause of error is not known, not even to the developer.
Since exit code 2 (generic usage error) and exit code 64 (command line usage error) are basically the same, it is recommended to use code 2 when distributing for GNU/Linux systems and code 64 when distributing for BSD systems.