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The Linux Programming Interface by Michael Kerrisk

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Chapter 11. System Limits and Options

Each UNIX implementation sets limits on various system features and resources, and provides—or chooses not to provide—options defined in various standards. Examples include the following:

  • How many files can a process hold open at one time?

  • Does the system support realtime signals?

  • What is the largest value that can be stored in a variable of type int?

  • How big an argument list can a program have?

  • What is the maximum length of a pathname?

While we could hard-code assumed limits and options into an application, this reduces portability, since limits and options may vary:

  • Across UNIX implementations: Although limits and options may be fixed on an individual implementation, they can vary from one UNIX implementation to ...

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