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I see from many place the follow command is used to check if a process exists, e.g.

killall -0 nginx

But from the documentation I can't see anything related to this argument, can anyone explain?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

man kill

If sig is 0, then no signal is sent, but error checking is still performed; this can be used to check for the existence of a process ID or process group ID.

killall kill processes by name instead of PID on Linux & BSD-based systems. In other Operating Systems (Solaris), the killall command is used to terminate all running processes.

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Note: killall kills processes by name on Linux and BSD platforms. On other platforms (notable Solaris) is kills all processes (ie stops the server). –  Chris S Oct 10 '12 at 13:31

I believe this article: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/1332 will explain the whole subject.

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