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RedHat 9 (Linux i386) - man page for poll (redhat section 2)

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

poll - wait for some event on a file descriptor
#include <sys/poll.h> int poll(struct pollfd *ufds, unsigned int nfds, int timeout);
poll is a variation on the theme of select. It specifies an array of nfds structures of type struct pollfd { int fd; /* file descriptor */ short events; /* requested events */ short revents; /* returned events */ }; and a timeout in milliseconds. A negative value means infinite timeout. The field fd contains a file descriptor for an open file. The field events is an input parameter, a bitmask specifying the events the application is interested in. The field revents is an output parameter, filled by the kernel with the events that actually occurred, either of the type requested, or of one of the types POLLERR or POLLHUP or POLLNVAL. (These three bits are meaningless in the events field, and will be set in the revents field whenever the correspond- ing condition is true.) If none of the events requested (and no error) has occurred for any of the file descriptors, the kernel waits for timeout milliseconds for one of these events to occur. The following possible bits in these masks are defined in <sys/poll.h> #define POLLIN 0x0001 /* There is data to read */ #define POLLPRI 0x0002 /* There is urgent data to read */ #define POLLOUT 0x0004 /* Writing now will not block */ #define POLLERR 0x0008 /* Error condition */ #define POLLHUP 0x0010 /* Hung up */ #define POLLNVAL 0x0020 /* Invalid request: fd not open */ In <asm/poll.h> also the values POLLRDNORM, POLLRDBAND, POLLWRNORM, POLLWRBAND and POLLMSG are defined.
On success, a positive number is returned, where the number returned is the number of structures which have non-zero revents fields (in other words, those descriptors with events or errors reported). A value of 0 indicates that the call timed out and no file descriptors have been selected. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.
EBADF An invalid file descriptor was given in one of the sets. ENOMEM There was no space to allocate file descriptor tables. EFAULT The array given as argument was not contained in the calling program's address space. EINTR A signal occurred before any requested event.
The poll() systemcall was introduced in Linux 2.1.23. The poll() library call was introduced in libc 5.4.28 (and provides emulation using select if your kernel does not have a poll syscall).
select(2), select_tut(2) Linux 2.1.23 1997-12-07 POLL(2)