Perl 5 version 8.9 documentation
- kill SIGNAL, LIST
Sends a signal to a list of processes. Returns the number of processes successfully signaled (which is not necessarily the same as the number actually killed).
If SIGNAL is zero, no signal is sent to the process, but the kill(2) system call will check whether it's possible to send a signal to it (that means, to be brief, that the process is owned by the same user, or we are the super-user). This is a useful way to check that a child process is alive (even if only as a zombie) and hasn't changed its UID. See perlport for notes on the portability of this construct.
Unlike in the shell, if SIGNAL is negative, it kills process groups instead of processes. (On System V, a negative PROCESS number will also kill process groups, but that's not portable.) That means you usually want to use positive not negative signals. You may also use a signal name in quotes.
See Signals in perlipc for more details.