Posting Signal Handlers

You use the cobpostsighandler() routine to post signal handlers.

The run-time system also uses the cobpostsighandler() routine to post all of its signal handling. Default handlers are posted for all signals whose operating system default action causes termination. The default handlers either make sure that the COBOL system has been cleaned up before terminating, or cause the signal to be ignored. These default handlers assume that the signals were generated by the operating system due to a serious error or that a signal has been unexpectedly raised. Hence, they usually produce a run-time system message, such as 114 or 115.

If the same handler is posted twice at the same priority, and neither of them is removed using the cobremovesighandler() routine, the handler is executed twice (assuming the handler, and all handlers executed in between, do not return a value of zero).

If you try to post the same signal handler for the same signal at the same priority twice and the first has not been removed using cobremovesighandler(), then cobpostsighandler() returns the handle for the old handler and does not post a new one.

If two different handlers are posted with the same priority, the last one posted is executed first.

Once you have posted a handler, you do not need to repost it. The handler is called each time that signal is received (assuming that the first receipt of the signal does not cause termination). If you want to execute your handler only once, you must remove it, using the cobremovesighandler() routine, in your signal handler.

While a signal handler is processing a signal, the signal is blocked. This prevents recursion if the same signal is received in rapid succession.

A signal handler must return normally. That is, you must not use any other function that terminates a signal handler function, such as longjmp() or coblongjmp(), and you must use the C syntax to return a value, as follows:


If you do use another function to return, the signal remains blocked, preventing any further signals from being processed.

When the run-time system receives a signal it calls the handler posted with the highest priority for that signal. Your handler should take any appropriate action (such as setting a flag to be acted on later) and then return. If the handler returns a non-zero value, the run-time system calls the handler with the next highest priority for that signal. If the signal handler returns zero, the run-time system does nto call any further signal handlers.

The run-time system posts its default signal handlers with priority 127. So, to override them, or to process your signal handler before them, post your handler with priority 128. Use a priority of 126 (or less) if you want to make sure that your handler is processed after the default run-time system handler (if the default run-time system handler does not exit).

The run-time system provides various functionality using signal handlers. These handlers are posted with a priority in the range of 129 to 139.