I have a Debian Sid box that I’d been putting off updating for a while so finally got around to doing it tonight. I took the opportunity to do a bit of spring cleaning and purge old packages I installed to play with and forgot to purge or removed instead of purging. While doing this I discovered an interestingly named package, timeout.

timeout is a dead simple command, everything you need to know about it you can get from the usage information:

[michael@orion(~)] timeout
usage: timeout [-signal] time command...

And an example:

[michael@orion(~)] timeout 5 cat
Timeout: aborting command ``cat'' with signal 9
Killed
[michael@orion(~)] 

How did I not know about this before?!?