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atf-check - Man Page

executes a command and analyzes its results


atf-check[-s qual:value] [-o action:arg ...] [-e action:arg ...] [-x] command


atf-check executes a given command and analyzes its results, including exit code, stdout and stderr.

Test cases must use atf-sh(3)'s atf_check builtin function instead of calling this utility directly.

In the first synopsis form, atf-check will execute the provided command and apply checks specified by arguments. By default it will act as if it was run with -s exit:0 -o empty -e empty. Multiple checks for the same output channel are allowed and, if specified, their results will be combined as a logical and (meaning that the output must match all the provided checks).

In the second synopsis form, atf-check will print information about all supported options and their purpose.

The following options are available:

-s qual:value

Analyzes termination status. Must be one of:


checks that the program exited cleanly and that its exit status is equal to value. The exit code can be omitted altogether, in which case any clean exit is accepted.


ignores the exit check.


checks that the program exited due to a signal and that the signal that terminated it is value. The signal can be specified both as a number or as a name, or it can also be omitted altogether, in which case any signal is accepted.

Most of these checkers can be prefixed by the ‘not-’ string, which effectively reverses the check.

-o action:arg

Analyzes standard output. Must be one of:


checks that stdout is empty


ignores stdout


compares stdout with given file


compares stdout with inline value


looks for a regular expression in stdout


saves stdout to given file

Most of these checkers can be prefixed by the ‘not-’ string, which effectively reverses the check.

-e action:arg

Analyzes standard error (syntax identical to above)


Executes command as a shell command line, executing it with the system shell defined by ATF_SHELL. You should avoid using this flag if at all possible to prevent shell quoting issues.

Exit Status

atf-check exits 0 on success, and other (unspecified) value on failure.



Path to the system shell to be used when the -x is given to run commands.


The following are sample invocations from within a test case. Note that we use the atf_check function provided by atf-sh(3) instead of executing atf-check directly:

# Exit code 0, nothing on stdout/stderr
atf_check 'true'

# Typical usage if failure is expected
atf_check -s not-exit:0 'false'

# Checking stdout/stderr
echo foobar >expout
atf_check -o file:expout -e inline:"xx\tyy\n" \
    'echo foobar ; printf "xx\tyy\n" >&2'

# Checking for a crash
atf_check -s signal:sigsegv my_program

# Combined checks
atf_check -o match:foo -o not-match:bar echo foo baz

See Also


Referenced By


October 5, 2014