From:             [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Operating system: irrelevant
PHP version:      4.0.5
PHP Bug Type:     Feature/Change Request
Bug description:  need for an a SIGALRM based timeout mecanism

As mentionned in #9676, in #8595 and in comments in the set_time_limit function online 
manual page, set_time_limit seems to be not suitable to solve some problems like :

 - fopen on a url for which the distant server is not responding
 - exec an external program which hangs

 - trying to resolve some DNS name

 - sleep()

 - etc.

The "better" solution I've read was a suggestion to use SOAP or XML-RPC to wrap such 
requests... this would be like using a hammer to kill a fly... :)

It would be _great_ to have a mecanism (based on an alarm signal or similar for 
instance) to be able to define a timeout on all low-level functions (or at least some 
of them like fopen, fsockopen, exec, gethostby...).

Such a missing feature can be a show stopper one for people needing to retrieve data 
from an (unreliable?) external datafeed for instance.

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