If you want to ensure a command does not take too much time to execute, you can add a time limit after which the command will be killed.

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timeout is part of coreutils, so it’s probably already installed on your computer.


This command is pretty simple: type timeout, a time limit and the target command:

  • <DURATION>: a floating point number with an optional suffix: s (seconds, the default), m (minutes), h (hours) or d (days).

As an example, to limit the duration of a python script to 2 minutes:

timeout 2m python3 myscript.py

After 2 minutes, the target command (python3 myscript.py) will be killed (TERM signal). To change the kill signal, use -s=<SIGNAL>. <SIGNAL> can be a name or a number. Run kill -l for a list of signals.

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