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My vague and intuitive understanding is that Ctrl+C kills the process that is currently running on the selected window.

I am getting confused though typically about the difference of what process get killed when an executable is called and when an interpreter is used.

Interpreter

When I use an interpreter. For example if I open R on the terminal, I can see one process which CMD (on call of ps) is R. When I use Ctrl+C however, the R process does not get killed but the process running in R gets killed.

Executable

When I call an exectuable, I can see one process which CMD (on call of ps) is <nameOfExecutable>. When I do Ctrl+C, this process is killed.

Question

There seems to have some kind of hierarchy of processes (and there might be a correct semantic to refer to it). What does Ctrl+C exactly do in the light of this apparent hierarchy of processes?


For your information, I use Terminal 2.6.1 on Mac OS X 10.11.3

1

I am not sure but ctrl + c should send SIGINT signal to running process. Usually programs don't have custom handler for this signal and default action is taken (program is killed). I am guessing that interpreter intercepts this signal and simply stop executing running script.

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