NAME | SYNOPSIS | DESCRIPTION | RETURN VALUE | ERRORS | VERSIONS | CONFORMING TO | BUGS | EXAMPLE | SEE ALSO | COLOPHON

TIMERFD_CREATE(2)         Linux Programmer's Manual        TIMERFD_CREATE(2)

NAME         top

       timerfd_create, timerfd_settime, timerfd_gettime - timers that notify
       via file descriptors

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <sys/timerfd.h>

       int timerfd_create(int clockid, int flags);

       int timerfd_settime(int fd, int flags,
                           const struct itimerspec *new_value,
                           struct itimerspec *old_value);

       int timerfd_gettime(int fd, struct itimerspec *curr_value);

DESCRIPTION         top

       These system calls create and operate on a timer that delivers timer
       expiration notifications via a file descriptor.  They provide an
       alternative to the use of setitimer(2) or timer_create(2), with the
       advantage that the file descriptor may be monitored by select(2),
       poll(2), and epoll(7).

       The use of these three system calls is analogous to the use of
       timer_create(2), timer_settime(2), and timer_gettime(2).  (There is
       no analog of timer_getoverrun(2), since that functionality is
       provided by read(2), as described below.)

   timerfd_create()
       timerfd_create() creates a new timer object, and returns a file
       descriptor that refers to that timer.  The clockid argument specifies
       the clock that is used to mark the progress of the timer, and must be
       either CLOCK_REALTIME or CLOCK_MONOTONIC.  CLOCK_REALTIME is a
       settable system-wide clock.  CLOCK_MONOTONIC is a nonsettable clock
       that is not affected by discontinuous changes in the system clock
       (e.g., manual changes to system time).  The current value of each of
       these clocks can be retrieved using clock_gettime(2).

       Starting with Linux 2.6.27, the following values may be bitwise ORed
       in flags to change the behavior of timerfd_create():

       TFD_NONBLOCK  Set the O_NONBLOCK file status flag on the new open
                     file description.  Using this flag saves extra calls to
                     fcntl(2) to achieve the same result.

       TFD_CLOEXEC   Set the close-on-exec (FD_CLOEXEC) flag on the new file
                     descriptor.  See the description of the O_CLOEXEC flag
                     in open(2) for reasons why this may be useful.

       In Linux versions up to and including 2.6.26, flags must be specified
       as zero.

   timerfd_settime()
       timerfd_settime() arms (starts) or disarms (stops) the timer referred
       to by the file descriptor fd.

       The new_value argument specifies the initial expiration and interval
       for the timer.  The itimer structure used for this argument contains
       two fields, each of which is in turn a structure of type timespec:

           struct timespec {
               time_t tv_sec;                /* Seconds */
               long   tv_nsec;               /* Nanoseconds */
           };

           struct itimerspec {
               struct timespec it_interval;  /* Interval for periodic timer */
               struct timespec it_value;     /* Initial expiration */
           };

       new_value.it_value specifies the initial expiration of the timer, in
       seconds and nanoseconds.  Setting either field of new_value.it_value
       to a nonzero value arms the timer.  Setting both fields of
       new_value.it_value to zero disarms the timer.

       Setting one or both fields of new_value.it_interval to nonzero values
       specifies the period, in seconds and nanoseconds, for repeated timer
       expirations after the initial expiration.  If both fields of
       new_value.it_interval are zero, the timer expires just once, at the
       time specified by new_value.it_value.

       The flags argument is either 0, to start a relative timer
       (new_value.it_value specifies a time relative to the current value of
       the clock specified by clockid), or TFD_TIMER_ABSTIME, to start an
       absolute timer (new_value.it_value specifies an absolute time for the
       clock specified by clockid; that is, the timer will expire when the
       value of that clock reaches the value specified in
       new_value.it_value).

       If the old_value argument is not NULL, then the itimerspec structure
       that it points to is used to return the setting of the timer that was
       current at the time of the call; see the description of
       timerfd_gettime() following.

   timerfd_gettime()
       timerfd_gettime() returns, in curr_value, an itimerspec structure
       that contains the current setting of the timer referred to by the
       file descriptor fd.

       The it_value field returns the amount of time until the timer will
       next expire.  If both fields of this structure are zero, then the
       timer is currently disarmed.  This field always contains a relative
       value, regardless of whether the TFD_TIMER_ABSTIME flag was specified
       when setting the timer.

       The it_interval field returns the interval of the timer.  If both
       fields of this structure are zero, then the timer is set to expire
       just once, at the time specified by curr_value.it_value.

   Operating on a timer file descriptor
       The file descriptor returned by timerfd_create() supports the
       following operations:

       read(2)
              If the timer has already expired one or more times since its
              settings were last modified using timerfd_settime(), or since
              the last successful read(2), then the buffer given to read(2)
              returns an unsigned 8-byte integer (uint64_t) containing the
              number of expirations that have occurred.  (The returned value
              is in host byte order—that is, the native byte order for
              integers on the host machine.)

              If no timer expirations have occurred at the time of the
              read(2), then the call either blocks until the next timer
              expiration, or fails with the error EAGAIN if the file
              descriptor has been made nonblocking (via the use of the
              fcntl(2) F_SETFL operation to set the O_NONBLOCK flag).

              A read(2) will fail with the error EINVAL if the size of the
              supplied buffer is less than 8 bytes.

       poll(2), select(2) (and similar)
              The file descriptor is readable (the select(2) readfds
              argument; the poll(2) POLLIN flag) if one or more timer
              expirations have occurred.

              The file descriptor also supports the other file-descriptor
              multiplexing APIs: pselect(2), ppoll(2), and epoll(7).

       close(2)
              When the file descriptor is no longer required it should be
              closed.  When all file descriptors associated with the same
              timer object have been closed, the timer is disarmed and its
              resources are freed by the kernel.

   fork(2) semantics
       After a fork(2), the child inherits a copy of the file descriptor
       created by timerfd_create().  The file descriptor refers to the same
       underlying timer object as the corresponding file descriptor in the
       parent, and read(2)s in the child will return information about
       expirations of the timer.

   execve(2) semantics
       A file descriptor created by timerfd_create() is preserved across
       execve(2), and continues to generate timer expirations if the timer
       was armed.

RETURN VALUE         top

       On success, timerfd_create() returns a new file descriptor.  On
       error, -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the error.

       timerfd_settime() and timerfd_gettime() return 0 on success; on error
       they return -1, and set errno to indicate the error.

ERRORS         top

       timerfd_create() can fail with the following errors:

       EINVAL The clockid argument is neither CLOCK_MONOTONIC nor
              CLOCK_REALTIME;

       EINVAL flags is invalid; or, in Linux 2.6.26 or earlier, flags is
              nonzero.

       EMFILE The per-process limit of open file descriptors has been
              reached.

       ENFILE The system-wide limit on the total number of open files has
              been reached.

       ENODEV Could not mount (internal) anonymous inode device.

       ENOMEM There was insufficient kernel memory to create the timer.

       timerfd_settime() and timerfd_gettime() can fail with the following
       errors:

       EBADF  fd is not a valid file descriptor.

       EFAULT new_value, old_value, or curr_value is not valid a pointer.

       EINVAL fd is not a valid timerfd file descriptor.

       timerfd_settime() can also fail with the following errors:

       EINVAL new_value is not properly initialized (one of the tv_nsec
              falls outside the range zero to 999,999,999).

       EINVAL flags is invalid.

VERSIONS         top

       These system calls are available on Linux since kernel 2.6.25.
       Library support is provided by glibc since version 2.8.

CONFORMING TO         top

       These system calls are Linux-specific.

BUGS         top

       Currently, timerfd_create() supports fewer types of clock IDs than
       timer_create(2).

EXAMPLE         top

       The following program creates a timer and then monitors its progress.
       The program accepts up to three command-line arguments.  The first
       argument specifies the number of seconds for the initial expiration
       of the timer.  The second argument specifies the interval for the
       timer, in seconds.  The third argument specifies the number of times
       the program should allow the timer to expire before terminating.  The
       second and third command-line arguments are optional.

       The following shell session demonstrates the use of the program:

           $ a.out 3 1 100
           0.000: timer started
           3.000: read: 1; total=1
           4.000: read: 1; total=2
           ^Z                  # type control-Z to suspend the program
           [1]+  Stopped                 ./timerfd3_demo 3 1 100
           $ fg                # Resume execution after a few seconds
           a.out 3 1 100
           9.660: read: 5; total=7
           10.000: read: 1; total=8
           11.000: read: 1; total=9
           ^C                  # type control-C to suspend the program

   Program source

       #include <sys/timerfd.h>
       #include <time.h>
       #include <unistd.h>
       #include <stdlib.h>
       #include <stdio.h>
       #include <stdint.h>        /* Definition of uint64_t */

       #define handle_error(msg) \
               do { perror(msg); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); } while (0)

       static void
       print_elapsed_time(void)
       {
           static struct timespec start;
           struct timespec curr;
           static int first_call = 1;
           int secs, nsecs;

           if (first_call) {
               first_call = 0;
               if (clock_gettime(CLOCK_MONOTONIC, &start) == -1)
                   handle_error("clock_gettime");
           }

           if (clock_gettime(CLOCK_MONOTONIC, &curr) == -1)
               handle_error("clock_gettime");

           secs = curr.tv_sec - start.tv_sec;
           nsecs = curr.tv_nsec - start.tv_nsec;
           if (nsecs < 0) {
               secs--;
               nsecs += 1000000000;
           }
           printf("%d.%03d: ", secs, (nsecs + 500000) / 1000000);
       }

       int
       main(int argc, char *argv[])
       {
           struct itimerspec new_value;
           int max_exp, fd;
           struct timespec now;
           uint64_t exp, tot_exp;
           ssize_t s;

           if ((argc != 2) && (argc != 4)) {
               fprintf(stderr, "%s init-secs [interval-secs max-exp]\n",
                       argv[0]);
               exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
           }

           if (clock_gettime(CLOCK_REALTIME, &now) == -1)
               handle_error("clock_gettime");

           /* Create a CLOCK_REALTIME absolute timer with initial
              expiration and interval as specified in command line */

           new_value.it_value.tv_sec = now.tv_sec + atoi(argv[1]);
           new_value.it_value.tv_nsec = now.tv_nsec;
           if (argc == 2) {
               new_value.it_interval.tv_sec = 0;
               max_exp = 1;
           } else {
               new_value.it_interval.tv_sec = atoi(argv[2]);
               max_exp = atoi(argv[3]);
           }
           new_value.it_interval.tv_nsec = 0;

           fd = timerfd_create(CLOCK_REALTIME, 0);
           if (fd == -1)
               handle_error("timerfd_create");

           if (timerfd_settime(fd, TFD_TIMER_ABSTIME, &new_value, NULL) == -1)
               handle_error("timerfd_settime");

           print_elapsed_time();
           printf("timer started\n");

           for (tot_exp = 0; tot_exp < max_exp;) {
               s = read(fd, &exp, sizeof(uint64_t));
               if (s != sizeof(uint64_t))
                   handle_error("read");

               tot_exp += exp;
               print_elapsed_time();
               printf("read: %llu; total=%llu\n",
                       (unsigned long long) exp,
                       (unsigned long long) tot_exp);
           }

           exit(EXIT_SUCCESS);
       }

SEE ALSO         top

       eventfd(2), poll(2), read(2), select(2), setitimer(2), signalfd(2),
       timer_create(2), timer_gettime(2), timer_settime(2), epoll(7),
       time(7)

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of release 3.75 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the
       latest version of this page, can be found at
       http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

Linux                            2011-09-14                TIMERFD_CREATE(2)