eventfd


SYNOPSIS
       #include <sys/eventfd.h>

       int eventfd(unsigned int initval, int flags);

DESCRIPTION
       eventfd()  creates  an  "eventfd  object"  that can be used as an event
       wait/notify mechanism by user-space applications, and by the kernel  to
       notify  user-space  applications  of  events.   The  object contains an
       unsigned 64-bit integer (uint64_t) counter that is  maintained  by  the
       kernel.   This  counter  is initialized with the value specified in the
       argument initval.

       The following values may be bitwise ORed in flags to change the  behav-
       iour of eventfd():

       EFD_CLOEXEC (since Linux 2.6.27)
              Set the close-on-exec (FD_CLOEXEC) flag on the new file descrip-
              tor.  See the description of the O_CLOEXEC flag in  open(2)  for
              reasons why this may be useful.

       EFD_NONBLOCK (since Linux 2.6.27)
              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.

       EFD_SEMAPHORE (since Linux 2.6.30)
              Provide  semaphore-like  semantics  for  reads from the new file
              descriptor.  See below.

       In Linux up to version 2.6.26, the flags argument is unused,  and  must
       be specified as zero.

       As  its  return value, eventfd() returns a new file descriptor that can
       be used to refer to the eventfd object.  The following  operations  can
       be performed on the file descriptor:

       read(2)
              Each  successful  read(2)  returns an 8-byte integer.  A read(2)
              will fail with the error EINVAL if the size of the supplied buf-
              fer is less than 8 bytes.

              The  value  returned by read(2) is in host byte order, i.e., the
              native byte order for integers on the host machine.

              The semantics of read(2) depend on whether the  eventfd  counter
              currently has a nonzero value and whether the EFD_SEMAPHORE flag
              was specified when creating the eventfd file descriptor:

              *  If EFD_SEMAPHORE was not specified and  the  eventfd  counter
                 has  a nonzero value, then a read(2) returns 8 bytes contain-
                 ing that value, and the counter's value is reset to zero.

              buffer  to the counter.  The maximum value that may be stored in
              the counter is the largest unsigned 64-bit value minus 1  (i.e.,
              0xfffffffffffffffe).   If the addition would cause the counter's
              value to exceed the maximum, then  the  write(2)  either  blocks
              until  a  read(2)  is performed on the file descriptor, or fails
              with the error EAGAIN if the file descriptor has been made  non-
              blocking.

              A  write(2)  will  fail with the error EINVAL if the size of the
              supplied buffer is less than 8 bytes, or if an attempt  is  made
              to write the value 0xffffffffffffffff.

       poll(2), select(2) (and similar)
              The  returned  file descriptor supports poll(2) (and analogously
              epoll(7)) and select(2), as follows:

              *  The file descriptor is readable (the select(2) readfds  argu-
                 ment;  the  poll(2)  POLLIN  flag) if the counter has a value
                 greater than 0.

              *  The file descriptor is writable (the select(2) writefds argu-
                 ment;  the poll(2) POLLOUT flag) if it is possible to write a
                 value of at least "1" without blocking.

              *  If an overflow  of  the  counter  value  was  detected,  then
                 select(2)  indicates  the file descriptor as being both read-
                 able and writable, and poll(2) returns a POLLERR  event.   As
                 noted  above,  write(2) can never overflow the counter.  How-
                 ever an overflow can occur if  2^64  eventfd  "signal  posts"
                 were performed by the KAIO subsystem (theoretically possible,
                 but practically unlikely).  If an overflow has occurred, then
                 read(2)  will  return  that  maximum  uint64_t  value  (i.e.,
                 0xffffffffffffffff).

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

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

       A copy of the file descriptor created by eventfd() is inherited by  the
       child produced by fork(2).  The duplicate file descriptor is associated
       with the same eventfd object.  File descriptors  created  by  eventfd()
       are  preserved across execve(2), unless the close-on-exec flag has been
       set.

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

ERRORS
VERSIONS
       eventfd()  is  available on Linux since kernel 2.6.22.  Working support
       is provided in glibc since version 2.8.   The  eventfd2()  system  call
       (see  NOTES)  is available on Linux since kernel 2.6.27.  Since version
       2.9, the glibc eventfd() wrapper  will  employ  the  eventfd2()  system
       call, if it is supported by the kernel.

CONFORMING TO
       eventfd() and eventfd2() are Linux-specific.

NOTES
       Applications  can use an eventfd file descriptor instead of a pipe (see
       pipe(2)) in all cases where a pipe is used  simply  to  signal  events.
       The  kernel  overhead  of an eventfd file descriptor is much lower than
       that of a pipe, and only one file descriptor is  required  (versus  the
       two required for a pipe).

       When  used  in  the  kernel,  an  eventfd file descriptor can provide a
       bridge from kernel to user space, allowing, for  example,  functionali-
       ties  like  KAIO  (kernel AIO) to signal to a file descriptor that some
       operation is complete.

       A key point about an eventfd file descriptor is that it  can  be  moni-
       tored  just like any other file descriptor using select(2), poll(2), or
       epoll(7).  This means that an application  can  simultaneously  monitor
       the  readiness of "traditional" files and the readiness of other kernel
       mechanisms that support the eventfd interface.  (Without the  eventfd()
       interface,  these  mechanisms  could  not be multiplexed via select(2),
       poll(2), or epoll(7).)

   Underlying Linux system calls
       There are two underlying Linux system calls:  eventfd()  and  the  more
       recent  eventfd2().   The former system call does not implement a flags
       argument.  The latter system call implements the flags values described
       above.   The  glibc  wrapper  function  will use eventfd2() where it is
       available.

   Additional glibc features
       The GNU C library defines an additional type, and  two  functions  that
       attempt  to  abstract  some of the details of reading and writing on an
       eventfd file descriptor:

           typedef uint64_t eventfd_t;

           int eventfd_read(int fd, eventfd_t *value);
           int eventfd_write(int fd, eventfd_t value);

       The functions perform the read and write operations on an eventfd  file
       descriptor, returning 0 if the correct number of bytes was transferred,
       or -1 otherwise.

EXAMPLE
       The following program creates an eventfd file descriptor and then forks
       to  create a child process.  While the parent briefly sleeps, the child
           Child completed write loop
           Parent about to read
           Parent read 28 (0x1c) from efd

   Program source

       #include <sys/eventfd.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)

       int
       main(int argc, char *argv[])
       {
           int efd, j;
           uint64_t u;
           ssize_t s;

           if (argc < 2) {
               fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s <num>...\n", argv[0]);
               exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
           }

           efd = eventfd(0, 0);
           if (efd == -1)
               handle_error("eventfd");

           switch (fork()) {
           case 0:
               for (j = 1; j < argc; j++) {
                   printf("Child writing %s to efd\n", argv[j]);
                   u = strtoull(argv[j], NULL, 0);
                           /* strtoull() allows various bases */
                   s = write(efd, &u, sizeof(uint64_t));
                   if (s != sizeof(uint64_t))
                       handle_error("write");
               }
               printf("Child completed write loop\n");

               exit(EXIT_SUCCESS);

           default:
               sleep(2);

               printf("Parent about to read\n");
               s = read(efd, &u, sizeof(uint64_t));
               if (s != sizeof(uint64_t))
                   handle_error("read");
               printf("Parent read %llu (0x%llx) from efd\n",
                       (unsigned long long) u, (unsigned long long) u);

       This  page  is  part of release 3.54 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, and information about reporting  bugs,  can
       be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.



Linux                             2010-08-30                        EVENTFD(2)
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