Did you ever have to deal with a runaway process? A runaway process I call a program that appears to "hang" and needs to be killed to terminate. Effects like that are a reality. And we shouldn't ignore them. They are very annoying when they occur in automated processes. Such as cron jobs. We need a way to set an upper time limit to a processes runtime.
Whenever possible you should use the GNU timeout program from GNU Coreutils.
However there are Linux/Unix systems that come without that program. Here is
a small rewrite as a Bash script.
timeout is a small shell script that does just that:
send a signal to a process after some time if it hasn't died yet and wait for it to die. The
following would for instance terminate mplayer playing a video stream after five minutes:
timeout -TERM 5m mplayer tv://
If you have suggestions for improvement (in the form of a patch), please feel free to contact me.