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User Commandslimit(1)


 limit, ulimit, unlimit - set or get limitations on the system resources available to the current shell and its descendents


 /usr/bin/ulimit [-f] [blocks]


 ulimit [ - [HS] [ a | cdfnstv] ]
 ulimit [ - [HS] [ c | d | f | n | s | t | v] ] limit


 limit [-h] [ resource [limit] ]
 unlimit [-h] [resource]


 ulimit [-HSacdfnstv] [limit]





The ulimit utility sets or reports the file-size writing limit imposed on files written by the shell and its child processes (files of any size may be read). Only a process with appropriate privileges can increase the limit.



The Bourne shell built-in function, ulimit, prints or sets hard or soft resource limits. These limits are described in getrlimit(2).

If limit is not present, ulimit prints the specified limits. Any number of limits may be printed at one time. The -a option prints all limits.

If limit is present, ulimit sets the specified limit to limit. The string unlimited requests the largest valid limit. Limits may be set for only one resource at a time. Any user may set a soft limit to any value below the hard limit. Any user may lower a hard limit. Only a super-user may raise a hard limit; see su(1M).

The -H option specifies a hard limit. The -S option specifies a soft limit. If neither option is specified, ulimit will set both limits and print the soft limit.

The following options specify the resource whose limits are to be printed or set. If no option is specified, the file size limit is printed or set.

maximum core file size (in 512-byte blocks)
maximum size of data segment or heap (in kbytes)
maximum file size (in 512-byte blocks)
maximum file descriptor plus 1
maximum size of stack segment (in kbytes)
maximum CPU time (in seconds)
maximum size of virtual memory (in kbytes)



The C-shell built-in function, limit, limits the consumption by the current process or any process it spawns, each not to exceed limit on the specified resource. If limit is omitted, print the current limit; if resource is omitted, display all limits. (Run the sysdef(1M) command to obtain the maximum possible limits for your system. The values reported are in hexadecimal, but can be translated into decimal numbers using the bc(1) command).

Use hard limits instead of the current limits. Hard limits impose a ceiling on the values of the current limits. Only the privileged user may raise the hard limits.

resource is one of:

Maximum CPU seconds per process.
Largest single file allowed; limited to the size of the filesystem (see df(1M)).
The maximum size of a process's heap in kilobytes.
Maximum stack size for the process (see swap(1M)).
Maximum size of a core dump (file). This is limited to the size of the filesystem.
Maximum number of file descriptors (run sysdef()).
Maximum size of virtual memory.

limit is a number, with an optional scaling factor, as follows:

Hours (for cputime).
n kilobytes. This is the default for all but cputime.
n megabytes or minutes (for cputime).
Minutes and seconds (for cputime).

unlimit removes a limitation on resource. If no resource is specified, then all resource limitations are removed. See the description of the limit command for the list of resource names.

Remove corresponding hard limits. Only the privileged user may do this.



The Korn shell built-in function, ulimit, sets or displays a resource limit. The available resources limits are listed below. Many systems do not contain one or more of these limits. The limit for a specified resource is set when limit is specified. The value of limit can be a number in the unit specified below with each resource, or the value unlimited. The -H and -S flags specify whether the hard limit or the soft limit for the given resource is set. A hard limit cannot be increased once it is set. A soft limit can be increased up to the value of the hard limit. If neither the -H or -S options is specified, the limit applies to both. The current resource limit is printed when limit is omitted. In this case, the soft limit is printed unless -H is specified. When more than one resource is specified, then the limit name and unit is printed before the value.

Lists all of the current resource limits.
The number of 512-byte blocks on the size of core dumps.
The number of K-bytes on the size of the data area.
The number of 512-byte blocks on files written by child processes (files of any size may be read).
The number of file descriptors plus 1.
The number of K-bytes on the size of the stack area.
The number of seconds (CPU time) to be used by each process.
The number of K-bytes for virtual memory.

If no option is given, -f is assumed.



The following option is supported by ulimit:

Set (or report, if no blocks operand is present), the file size limit in blocks. The -f option is also the default case.



The following operand is supported by ulimit:

The number of 512-byte blocks to use as the new file size limit.




 Example 1. Limiting the stack size

To limit the stack size to 512 kilobytes:
% ulimit -s 512
% ulimit -a
% time(seconds)         unlimited
file(blocks)            100
data(kbytes)            523256
stack(kbytes)           512
coredump(blocks)        200
nofiles(descriptors)    64
memory(kbytes)          unlimited


 Example 1. Limiting the number of file descriptors

To limit the number of file descriptors to 12:
$ ulimit -n 12
$ ulimit -a
time(seconds)            unlimited
file(blocks)             41943
data(kbytes)             523256
stack(kbytes)            8192
coredump(blocks)         200
nofiles(descriptors)     12
vmemory(kbytes)          unlimited


 Example 1. Limiting the core dump file size

To limit the size of a core dump file size to 0 kilobytes:
% limit coredumpsize 0
% limit
cputime                 unlimited
filesize                unlimited
datasize                523256 kbytes
stacksize               8192 kbytes
coredumpsize            0 kbytes
descriptors             64
memorysize              unlimited

Example 2. Removing the limitation for core file size

To remove the above limitation for the core file size:
% unlimit coredumpsize
% limit
cputime                 unlimited
filesize                unlimited
datasize                523256 kbytes
stacksize               8192 kbytes
coredumpsize            unlimited
descriptors             64
memorysize              unlimited



See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment variables that affect the execution of ulimit: LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.



The following exit values are returned by ulimit:

Successful completion.
A request for a higher limit was rejected or an error occurred.



See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:




bc(1), csh(1), ksh(1), sh(1), df(1M), su(1M), swap(1M), sysdef(1M), getrlimit(2), attributes(5), environ(5)

SunOS 5.9Go To TopLast Changed 26 Jun 1998

Copyright 2002 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved. Use is subject to license terms.