Linux Tutorial Series

Linux Tutorial Series – 102 – Signals in operating systems – what are they used for?

Here is the video version, if you prefer it:

Today we will take a look at signals. They are very important in regard to operating systems and so they are relevant for Linux. Signals are a way for processes to communicate with one another. (“Signal (IPC),” n.d.)⁠

Processes can’t access each other’s memory locations. So if Process A has memory locations 0 to 99 and Process B has memory locations 100 to 199, then if Process A tries to access memory location 129, operating system will not allow it.

But, it is useful for processes to be able to communicate with each other. Let’s say Process A wants to somehow say to Process B “Stop! Stop!”. It can use a signal to do so.

There are a lot of signals you can send to a process and they are listed here: (“POSIX signals,” n.d.)⁠. You don’t need to know their names. Just know what they are used for – communication between processes (also called inter-process communication (IPC)).

Thank you for reading!


POSIX signals. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2020, from

Signal (IPC). (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2020, from

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