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

       eventfd - create a file descriptor for event notification

       #include <sys/eventfd.h>

       int eventfd(unsigned int initval, int flags);

       eventfd()  creates an "eventfd object" that can be used as an event wait/notify mechanism by userspace applica-
       tions, and by the kernel to notify userspace 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 speci-
       fied in the argument initval.

       Starting with Linux 2.6.27, the following values may be bitwise ORed  in  flags  to  change  the  behaviour  of

       EFD_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.

       EFD_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 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:

              If the eventfd counter has a non-zero value, then a read(2) returns 8 bytes containing that  value,  and
              the  counter's value is reset to zero.  (The returned value is in host byte order, i.e., the native byte
              order for integers on the host machine.)

              If the counter is zero at the time of the read(2), then the call either blocks until the counter becomes
              non-zero, or fails with the error EAGAIN if the file descriptor has been made non-blocking.

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

              A  write(2) call adds the 8-byte integer value supplied in its 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 argument; the  poll(2)  POLLIN  flag)  if  the
                 counter has a value greater than 0.

              *  The  file descriptor is writable (the select(2) writefds argument; 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 readable and writable, and poll(2) returns a POLLERR event.  As noted above, write(2) can
                 never overflow the counter.  However an overflow can occur if 2^64 eventfd "signal posts"  were  per-
                 formed  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),
              ppoll(2), and epoll(7).

              When  the  file descriptor is no longer required it should be closed.  When all file descriptors associ-
              ated 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  dupli-
       cate  file  descriptor  is  associated with the same eventfd object.  File descriptors created by eventfd() are
       preserved across execve(2).

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

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

       EMFILE The per-process limit on 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 memory to create a new eventfd file descriptor.

       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.

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

       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 kernel-userspace bridge allowing, for exam-
       ple, functionalities 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 monitored 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.  (With-
       out 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.

       The  following  program creates an eventfd file descriptor and then forks to create a child process.  While the
       parent briefly sleeps, the child writes each of the integers supplied in the program's  command-line  arguments
       to the eventfd file descriptor.  When the parent has finished sleeping, it reads from the eventfd file descrip-

       The following shell session shows a sample run of the program:

           $ ./a.out 1 2 4 7 14
           Child writing 1 to efd
           Child writing 2 to efd
           Child writing 4 to efd
           Child writing 7 to efd
           Child writing 14 to efd
           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)

       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]);

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

           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))
               printf("Child completed write loop\n");



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

           case -1:

       futex(2),  pipe(2),  poll(2),  read(2),  select(2),   signalfd(2),   timerfd_create(2),   write(2),   epoll(7),

       This  page  is part of release 3.22 of the Linux man-pages project.  A description of the project, and informa-
       tion about reporting bugs, can be found at

Linux                             2009-01-26                        EVENTFD(2)