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

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

       #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);

       These system calls create and operate on a timer	 that  delivers	 timer
       expiration notifications via a file descriptor.	They provide an alter‐
       native to the use of setitimer(2) or timer_create(2), with  the	advan‐
       tage  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()	 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
       system-wide clock.  CLOCK_MONOTONIC is a non-settable 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() 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   non-zero   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 non-zero	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_interval  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).

       The  old_value  argument	 returns a structure containing the setting of
       the timer that was current at the time of the call; see the description
       of timerfd_gettime() following.

       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

	      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, i.e., 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 expi‐
	      ration, or fails with the error EAGAIN if	 the  file  descriptor
	      has  been made non-blocking (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

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

	      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 cre‐
       ated 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 expira‐
       tions 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

       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.

       timerfd_create() can fail with the following errors:

       EINVAL The  clockid argument is neither CLOCK_MONOTONIC nor CLOCK_REAL‐

       EINVAL flags is invalid; or, in Linux 2.6.26 or earlier, flags is  non-

       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

       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

       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.

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

       These system calls are Linux-specific.

       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 pro‐
       gram 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
	   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)

	   if (clock_gettime(CLOCK_MONOTONIC, &curr) == -1)

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

       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",

	   if (clock_gettime(CLOCK_REALTIME, &now) == -1)

	   /* 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)

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

	   printf("timer started\n");

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

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


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

       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)

       This  page  is  part of release 3.22 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				  2009-03-10		     TIMERFD_CREATE(2)

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