timelimit - spawn a subprocess and if the child does not finish within the time limit either kill it or exit leaving the child in the background.

netpipes 4.2


timelimit [ -v ] [ -nokill ] time command args


timelimit is used to limit the amount of foreground wallclock time a process consumes. Once the time limit expires timelimit will kill the process unless -nokill is specified.

If -nokill is specified timelimit will wait for the child to exit until the time limit expires. If the time expires before the child process exits then timelimit will exit, leaving the child in the background.

-v adds some diagnostic messages.

time is an integer in seconds, unless you put a suffix on it. m is minutes; h is hours; d is days; M is months (30 days); w is weeks; Y is years (365 days).


timelimit 5m faucet 3000 --out cat time-sensitive-info


netpipes (1)


Find 'em. Send 'em in. I'll teach them to gnaw on my code!


Francis Liu <> suggested that I modify timelimit so that it doesn't SEGV when invoked with no arguments.


Copyright (C) 1997-1999 Robert Forsman

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Robert Forsman
Purple Frog Software