SIGALTSTACK(3P) POSIX Programmer's Manual SIGALTSTACK(3P)
This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the correspond-
ing Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.
sigaltstack - set and get signal alternate stack context
int sigaltstack(const stack_t *restrict ss, stack_t *restrict oss);
The sigaltstack() function allows a process to define and examine the state of an alternate stack for signal handlers for the current
thread. Signals that have been explicitly declared to execute on the alternate stack shall be delivered on the alternate stack.
If ss is not a null pointer, it points to a stack_t structure that specifies the alternate signal stack that shall take effect upon return
from sigaltstack(). The ss_flags member specifies the new stack state. If it is set to SS_DISABLE, the stack is disabled and ss_sp and
ss_size are ignored. Otherwise, the stack shall be enabled, and the ss_sp and ss_size members specify the new address and size of the
The range of addresses starting at ss_sp up to but not including ss_sp+ ss_size is available to the implementation for use as the stack.
This function makes no assumptions regarding which end is the stack base and in which direction the stack grows as items are pushed.
If oss is not a null pointer, on successful completion it shall point to a stack_t structure that specifies the alternate signal stack that
was in effect prior to the call to sigaltstack(). The ss_sp and ss_size members specify the address and size of that stack. The ss_flags
member specifies the stack's state, and may contain one of the following values:
The process is currently executing on the alternate signal stack. Attempts to modify the alternate signal stack while the process
is executing on it fail. This flag shall not be modified by processes.
The alternate signal stack is currently disabled.
The value SIGSTKSZ is a system default specifying the number of bytes that would be used to cover the usual case when manually allocating
an alternate stack area. The value MINSIGSTKSZ is defined to be the minimum stack size for a signal handler. In computing an alternate
stack size, a program should add that amount to its stack requirements to allow for the system implementation overhead. The constants
SS_ONSTACK, SS_DISABLE, SIGSTKSZ, and MINSIGSTKSZ are defined in <signal.h>.
After a successful call to one of the exec functions, there are no alternate signal stacks in the new process image.
In some implementations, a signal (whether or not indicated to execute on the alternate stack) shall always execute on the alternate stack
if it is delivered while another signal is being caught using the alternate stack.
Use of this function by library threads that are not bound to kernel-scheduled entities results in undefined behavior.
Upon successful completion, sigaltstack() shall return 0; otherwise, it shall return -1 and set errno to indicate the error.
The sigaltstack() function shall fail if:
EINVAL The ss argument is not a null pointer, and the ss_flags member pointed to by ss contains flags other than SS_DISABLE.
ENOMEM The size of the alternate stack area is less than MINSIGSTKSZ.
EPERM An attempt was made to modify an active stack.
The following sections are informative.
Allocating Memory for an Alternate Stack
The following example illustrates a method for allocating memory for an alternate stack.
if ((sigstk.ss_sp = malloc(SIGSTKSZ)) == NULL)
/* Error return. */
sigstk.ss_size = SIGSTKSZ;
sigstk.ss_flags = 0;
if (sigaltstack(&sigstk,(stack_t *)0) < 0)
On some implementations, stack space is automatically extended as needed. On those implementations, automatic extension is typically not
available for an alternate stack. If the stack overflows, the behavior is undefined.
Signal Concepts, sigaction(), sigsetjmp(), the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <signal.h>
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technol-
ogy -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE
and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained
online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .
/The Open Group 2003 SIGALTSTACK(3P)