PSELECT(3P) POSIX Programmer's Manual PSELECT(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.
pselect, select - synchronous I/O multiplexing
int pselect(int nfds, fd_set *restrict readfds,
fd_set *restrict writefds, fd_set *restrict errorfds,
const struct timespec *restrict timeout,
const sigset_t *restrict sigmask);
int select(int nfds, fd_set *restrict readfds,
fd_set *restrict writefds, fd_set *restrict errorfds,
struct timeval *restrict timeout);
void FD_CLR(int fd, fd_set *fdset);
int FD_ISSET(int fd, fd_set *fdset);
void FD_SET(int fd, fd_set *fdset);
void FD_ZERO(fd_set *fdset);
The pselect() function shall examine the file descriptor sets whose addresses are passed in the readfds, writefds, and errorfds parameters
to see whether some of their descriptors are ready for reading, are ready for writing, or have an exceptional condition pending, respec-
The select() function shall be equivalent to the pselect() function, except as follows:
* For the select() function, the timeout period is given in seconds and microseconds in an argument of type struct timeval, whereas for
the pselect() function the timeout period is given in seconds and nanoseconds in an argument of type struct timespec.
* The select() function has no sigmask argument; it shall behave as pselect() does when sigmask is a null pointer.
* Upon successful completion, the select() function may modify the object pointed to by the timeout argument.
The pselect() and select() functions shall support regular files, terminal and pseudo-terminal devices, STREAMS-based files, FIFOs,
pipes, and sockets. The behavior of pselect() and select() on file descriptors that refer to other types of file is unspecified.
The nfds argument specifies the range of descriptors to be tested. The first nfds descriptors shall be checked in each set; that is, the
descriptors from zero through nfds-1 in the descriptor sets shall be examined.
If the readfds argument is not a null pointer, it points to an object of type fd_set that on input specifies the file descriptors to be
checked for being ready to read, and on output indicates which file descriptors are ready to read.
If the writefds argument is not a null pointer, it points to an object of type fd_set that on input specifies the file descriptors to be
checked for being ready to write, and on output indicates which file descriptors are ready to write.
If the errorfds argument is not a null pointer, it points to an object of type fd_set that on input specifies the file descriptors to be
checked for error conditions pending, and on output indicates which file descriptors have error conditions pending.
Upon successful completion, the pselect() or select() function shall modify the objects pointed to by the readfds, writefds, and errorfds
arguments to indicate which file descriptors are ready for reading, ready for writing, or have an error condition pending, respectively,
and shall return the total number of ready descriptors in all the output sets. For each file descriptor less than nfds, the corresponding
bit shall be set on successful completion if it was set on input and the associated condition is true for that file descriptor.
If none of the selected descriptors are ready for the requested operation, the pselect() or select() function shall block until at least
one of the requested operations becomes ready, until the timeout occurs, or until interrupted by a signal. The timeout parameter controls
how long the pselect() or select() function shall take before timing out. If the timeout parameter is not a null pointer, it specifies a
maximum interval to wait for the selection to complete. If the specified time interval expires without any requested operation becoming
ready, the function shall return. If the timeout parameter is a null pointer, then the call to pselect() or select() shall block indefi-
nitely until at least one descriptor meets the specified criteria. To effect a poll, the timeout parameter should not be a null pointer,
and should point to a zero-valued timespec structure.
The use of a timeout does not affect any pending timers set up by alarm(), ualarm(), or setitimer().
Implementations may place limitations on the maximum timeout interval supported. All implementations shall support a maximum timeout inter-
val of at least 31 days. If the timeout argument specifies a timeout interval greater than the implementation-defined maximum value, the
maximum value shall be used as the actual timeout value. Implementations may also place limitations on the granularity of timeout inter-
vals. If the requested timeout interval requires a finer granularity than the implementation supports, the actual timeout interval shall be
rounded up to the next supported value.
If sigmask is not a null pointer, then the pselect() function shall replace the signal mask of the process by the set of signals pointed to
by sigmask before examining the descriptors, and shall restore the signal mask of the process before returning.
A descriptor shall be considered ready for reading when a call to an input function with O_NONBLOCK clear would not block, whether or not
the function would transfer data successfully. (The function might return data, an end-of-file indication, or an error other than one indi-
cating that it is blocked, and in each of these cases the descriptor shall be considered ready for reading.)
A descriptor shall be considered ready for writing when a call to an output function with O_NONBLOCK clear would not block, whether or not
the function would transfer data successfully.
If a socket has a pending error, it shall be considered to have an exceptional condition pending. Otherwise, what constitutes an excep-
tional condition is file type-specific. For a file descriptor for use with a socket, it is protocol-specific except as noted below. For
other file types it is implementation-defined. If the operation is meaningless for a particular file type, pselect() or select() shall
indicate that the descriptor is ready for read or write operations, and shall indicate that the descriptor has no exceptional condition
If a descriptor refers to a socket, the implied input function is the recvmsg() function with parameters requesting normal and ancillary
data, such that the presence of either type shall cause the socket to be marked as readable. The presence of out-of-band data shall be
checked if the socket option SO_OOBINLINE has been enabled, as out-of-band data is enqueued with normal data. If the socket is currently
listening, then it shall be marked as readable if an incoming connection request has been received, and a call to the accept() function
shall complete without blocking.
If a descriptor refers to a socket, the implied output function is the sendmsg() function supplying an amount of normal data equal to the
current value of the SO_SNDLOWAT option for the socket. If a non-blocking call to the connect() function has been made for a socket, and
the connection attempt has either succeeded or failed leaving a pending error, the socket shall be marked as writable.
A socket shall be considered to have an exceptional condition pending if a receive operation with O_NONBLOCK clear for the open file
description and with the MSG_OOB flag set would return out-of-band data without blocking. (It is protocol-specific whether the MSG_OOB flag
would be used to read out-of-band data.) A socket shall also be considered to have an exceptional condition pending if an out-of-band data
mark is present in the receive queue. Other circumstances under which a socket may be considered to have an exceptional condition pending
are protocol-specific and implementation-defined.
If the readfds, writefds, and errorfds arguments are all null pointers and the timeout argument is not a null pointer, the pselect() or
select() function shall block for the time specified, or until interrupted by a signal. If the readfds, writefds, and errorfds arguments
are all null pointers and the timeout argument is a null pointer, the pselect() or select() function shall block until interrupted by a
File descriptors associated with regular files shall always select true for ready to read, ready to write, and error conditions.
On failure, the objects pointed to by the readfds, writefds, and errorfds arguments shall not be modified. If the timeout interval expires
without the specified condition being true for any of the specified file descriptors, the objects pointed to by the readfds, writefds, and
errorfds arguments shall have all bits set to 0.
File descriptor masks of type fd_set can be initialized and tested with FD_CLR(), FD_ISSET(), FD_SET(), and FD_ZERO(). It is unspecified
whether each of these is a macro or a function. If a macro definition is suppressed in order to access an actual function, or a program
defines an external identifier with any of these names, the behavior is undefined.
FD_CLR(fd, fdsetp) shall remove the file descriptor fd from the set pointed to by fdsetp. If fd is not a member of this set, there shall be
no effect on the set, nor will an error be returned.
FD_ISSET(fd, fdsetp) shall evaluate to non-zero if the file descriptor fd is a member of the set pointed to by fdsetp, and shall evaluate
to zero otherwise.
FD_SET(fd, fdsetp) shall add the file descriptor fd to the set pointed to by fdsetp. If the file descriptor fd is already in this set,
there shall be no effect on the set, nor will an error be returned.
FD_ZERO(fdsetp) shall initialize the descriptor set pointed to by fdsetp to the null set. No error is returned if the set is not empty at
the time FD_ZERO() is invoked.
The behavior of these macros is undefined if the fd argument is less than 0 or greater than or equal to FD_SETSIZE, or if fd is not a valid
file descriptor, or if any of the arguments are expressions with side effects.
Upon successful completion, the pselect() and select() functions shall return the total number of bits set in the bit masks. Otherwise, -1
shall be returned, and errno shall be set to indicate the error.
FD_CLR(), FD_SET(), and FD_ZERO() do not return a value. FD_ISSET() shall return a non-zero value if the bit for the file descriptor fd is
set in the file descriptor set pointed to by fdset, and 0 otherwise.
Under the following conditions, pselect() and select() shall fail and set errno to:
EBADF One or more of the file descriptor sets specified a file descriptor that is not a valid open file descriptor.
EINTR The function was interrupted before any of the selected events occurred and before the timeout interval expired.
If SA_RESTART has been set for the interrupting signal, it is implementation-defined whether the function restarts or returns with [EINTR].
EINVAL An invalid timeout interval was specified.
EINVAL The nfds argument is less than 0 or greater than FD_SETSIZE.
EINVAL One of the specified file descriptors refers to a STREAM or multiplexer that is linked (directly or indirectly) downstream from a
The following sections are informative.
In previous versions of the Single UNIX Specification, the select() function was defined in the <sys/time.h> header. This is now changed to
<sys/select.h>. The rationale for this change was as follows: the introduction of the pselect() function included the <sys/select.h> header
and the <sys/select.h> header defines all the related definitions for the pselect() and select() functions. Backwards-compatibility to
existing XSI implementations is handled by allowing <sys/time.h> to include <sys/select.h>.
accept(), alarm(), connect(), fcntl(), poll(), read(), recvmsg(), sendmsg(), setitimer(), ualarm(), write(), the Base Definitions volume of
IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <sys/select.h>, <sys/time.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 PSELECT(3P)