SIGNALFD(2)               (2020-11-01)                SIGNALFD(2)

          signalfd - create a file descriptor for accepting signals

          #include <sys/signalfd.h>

          int signalfd(int fd, const sigset_t *mask, int flags

          signalfd() creates a file descriptor that can be used to
          accept signals targeted at the caller.  This provides an
          alternative to the use of a signal handler or
          sigwaitinfo(2), and has the advantage that the file descrip-
          tor may be monitored by select(2), poll(2), and epoll(7).

          The mask argument specifies the set of signals that the
          caller wishes to accept via the file descriptor.  This argu-
          ment is a signal set whose contents can be initialized using
          the macros described in sigsetops(3).  Normally, the set of
          signals to be received via the file descriptor should be
          blocked using sigprocmask(2), to prevent the signals being
          handled according to their default dispositions.  It is not
          possible to receive SIGKILL or SIGSTOP signals via a sig-
          nalfd file descriptor; these signals are silently ignored if
          specified in mask.

          If the fd argument is -1, then the call creates a new file
          descriptor and associates the signal set specified in mask
          with that file descriptor.  If fd is not -1, then it must
          specify a valid existing signalfd file descriptor, and mask
          is used to replace the signal set associated with that file

          Starting with Linux 2.6.27, the following values may be bit-
          wise ORed in flags to change the behavior of signalfd():

          SFD_NONBLOCK  Set the O_NONBLOCK file status flag on the
                        open file description (see open(2)) referred
                        to by the new file descriptor.  Using this
                        flag saves extra calls to fcntl(2) to achieve
                        the same result.

          SFD_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.

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          signalfd() returns a file descriptor that supports the fol-
          lowing operations:

               If one or more of the signals specified in mask is
               pending for the process, then the buffer supplied to
               read(2) is used to return one or more signalfd_siginfo
               structures (see below) that describe the signals.  The
               read(2) returns information for as many signals as are
               pending and will fit in the supplied buffer.  The
               buffer must be at least sizeof(struct signalfd_siginfo)
               bytes.  The return value of the read(2) is the total
               number of bytes read.

               As a consequence of the read(2), the signals are con-
               sumed, so that they are no longer pending for the pro-
               cess (i.e., will not be caught by signal handlers, and
               cannot be accepted using sigwaitinfo(2)).

               If none of the signals in mask is pending for the pro-
               cess, then the read(2) either blocks until one of the
               signals in mask is generated for the process, or fails
               with the error EAGAIN if the file descriptor has been
               made nonblocking.

          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 of
               the signals in mask is pending for the process.

               The signalfd 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 associated
               with the same signalfd object have been closed, the
               resources for object are freed by the kernel.

        The signalfd_siginfo structure
          The format of the signalfd_siginfo structure(s) returned by
          read(2)s from a signalfd file descriptor is as follows:

              struct signalfd_siginfo {
                  uint32_t ssi_signo;    /* Signal number */
                  int32_t  ssi_errno;    /* Error number (unused) */
                  int32_t  ssi_code;     /* Signal code */
                  uint32_t ssi_pid;      /* PID of sender */
                  uint32_t ssi_uid;      /* Real UID of sender */
                  int32_t  ssi_fd;       /* File descriptor (SIGIO) */
                  uint32_t ssi_tid;      /* Kernel timer ID (POSIX timers)

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                  uint32_t ssi_band;     /* Band event (SIGIO) */
                  uint32_t ssi_overrun;  /* POSIX timer overrun count */
                  uint32_t ssi_trapno;   /* Trap number that caused signal */
                  int32_t  ssi_status;   /* Exit status or signal (SIGCHLD) */
                  int32_t  ssi_int;      /* Integer sent by sigqueue(3) */
                  uint64_t ssi_ptr;      /* Pointer sent by sigqueue(3) */
                  uint64_t ssi_utime;    /* User CPU time consumed (SIGCHLD) */
                  uint64_t ssi_stime;    /* System CPU time consumed
                                            (SIGCHLD) */
                  uint64_t ssi_addr;     /* Address that generated signal
                                            (for hardware-generated signals) */
                  uint16_t ssi_addr_lsb; /* Least significant bit of address
                                            (SIGBUS; since Linux 2.6.37)
                  uint8_t  pad[X];       /* Pad size to 128 bytes (allow for
                                            additional fields in the future) */

          Each of the fields in this structure is analogous to the
          similarly named field in the siginfo_t structure.  The
          siginfo_t structure is described in sigaction(2).  Not all
          fields in the returned signalfd_siginfo structure will be
          valid for a specific signal; the set of valid fields can be
          determined from the value returned in the ssi_code field.
          This field is the analog of the siginfo_t si_code field; see
          sigaction(2) for details.

        fork(2) semantics
          After a fork(2), the child inherits a copy of the signalfd
          file descriptor.  A read(2) from the file descriptor in the
          child will return information about signals queued to the

        Semantics of file descriptor passing
          As with other file descriptors, signalfd file descriptors
          can be passed to another process via a UNIX domain socket
          (see unix(7)).  In the receiving process, a read(2) from the
          received file descriptor will return information about sig-
          nals queued to that process.

        execve(2) semantics
          Just like any other file descriptor, a signalfd file
          descriptor remains open across an execve(2), unless it has
          been marked for close-on-exec (see fcntl(2)).  Any signals
          that were available for reading before the execve(2) remain
          available to the newly loaded program.  (This is analogous
          to traditional signal semantics, where a blocked signal that
          is pending remains pending across an execve(2).)

        Thread semantics
          The semantics of signalfd file descriptors in a multi-
          threaded program mirror the standard semantics for signals.
          In other words, when a thread reads from a signalfd file

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          descriptor, it will read the signals that are directed to
          the thread itself and the signals that are directed to the
          process (i.e., the entire thread group).  (A thread will not
          be able to read signals that are directed to other threads
          in the process.)

        epoll(7) semantics
          If a process adds (via epoll_ctl(2)) a signalfd file
          descriptor to an epoll(7) instance, then epoll_wait(2)
          returns events only for signals sent to that process.  In
          particular, if the process then uses fork(2) to create a
          child process, then the child will be able to read(2) sig-
          nals that are sent to it using the signalfd file descriptor,
          but epoll_wait(2) will not indicate that the signalfd file
          descriptor is ready.  In this scenario, a possible wor-
          karound is that after the fork(2), the child process can
          close the signalfd file descriptor that it inherited from
          the parent process and then create another signalfd file
          descriptor and add it to the epoll instance.  Alternatively,
          the parent and the child could delay creating their (sepa-
          rate) signalfd file descriptors and adding them to the epoll
          instance until after the call to fork(2).

          On success, signalfd() returns a signalfd file descriptor;
          this is either a new file descriptor (if fd was -1), or fd
          if fd was a valid signalfd file descriptor.  On error, -1 is
          returned and errno is set to indicate the error.

               The fd file descriptor is not a valid file descriptor.

               fd is not a valid signalfd file descriptor.

               flags is invalid; or, in Linux 2.6.26 or earlier, flags
               is nonzero.

               The per-process limit on the number of open file
               descriptors has been reached.

               The system-wide limit on the total number of open files
               has been reached.

               Could not mount (internal) anonymous inode device.


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               There was insufficient memory to create a new signalfd
               file descriptor.

          signalfd() is available on Linux since kernel 2.6.22.  Work-
          ing support is provided in glibc since version 2.8.  The
          signalfd4() system call (see NOTES) is available on Linux
          since kernel 2.6.27.

          signalfd() and signalfd4() are Linux-specific.

          A process can create multiple signalfd file descriptors.
          This makes it possible to accept different signals on dif-
          ferent file descriptors.  (This may be useful if monitoring
          the file descriptors using select(2), poll(2), or epoll(7):
          the arrival of different signals will make different file
          descriptors ready.)  If a signal appears in the mask of more
          than one of the file descriptors, then occurrences of that
          signal can be read (once) from any one of the file descrip-

          Attempts to include SIGKILL and SIGSTOP in mask are silently

          The signal mask employed by a signalfd file descriptor can
          be viewed via the entry for the corresponding file descrip-
          tor in the process's /proc/[pid]/fdinfo directory.  See
          proc(5) for further details.

          The signalfd mechanism can't be used to receive signals that
          are synchronously generated, such as the SIGSEGV signal that
          results from accessing an invalid memory address or the
          SIGFPE signal that results from an arithmetic error.  Such
          signals can be caught only via signal handler.

          As described above, in normal usage one blocks the signals
          that will be accepted via signalfd().  If spawning a child
          process to execute a helper program (that does not need the
          signalfd file descriptor), then, after the call to fork(2),
          you will normally want to unblock those signals before call-
          ing execve(2), so that the helper program can see any sig-
          nals that it expects to see.  Be aware, however, that this
          won't be possible in the case of a helper program spawned
          behind the scenes by any library function that the program
          may call.  In such cases, one must fall back to using a tra-
          ditional signal handler that writes to a file descriptor
          monitored by select(2), poll(2), or epoll(7).

        C library/kernel differences

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          The underlying Linux system call requires an additional
          argument, size_t sizemask, which specifies the size of the
          mask argument.  The glibc signalfd() wrapper function does
          not include this argument, since it provides the required
          value for the underlying system call.

          There are two underlying Linux system calls: signalfd() and
          the more recent signalfd4().  The former system call does
          not implement a flags argument.  The latter system call
          implements the flags values described above.  Starting with
          glibc 2.9, the signalfd() wrapper function will use
          signalfd4() where it is available.

          In kernels before 2.6.25, the ssi_ptr and ssi_int fields are
          not filled in with the data accompanying a signal sent by

          The program below accepts the signals SIGINT and SIGQUIT via
          a signalfd file descriptor.  The program terminates after
          accepting a SIGQUIT signal.  The following shell session
          demonstrates the use of the program:

              $ ./signalfd_demo
              haC                   # Control-C generates SIGINT
              Got SIGINT
              Got SIGINT
              ha\                    # Control-\ generates SIGQUIT
              Got SIGQUIT

        Program source

          #include <sys/signalfd.h>
          #include <signal.h>
          #include <unistd.h>
          #include <stdlib.h>
          #include <stdio.h>

          #define handle_error(msg) \
              do { perror(msg); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); } while (0)

          main(int argc, char *argv[])
              sigset_t mask;
              int sfd;
              struct signalfd_siginfo fdsi;
              ssize_t s;

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              sigaddset(&mask, SIGINT);
              sigaddset(&mask, SIGQUIT);

              /* Block signals so that they arenaqt handled
                 according to their default dispositions */

              if (sigprocmask(SIG_BLOCK, &mask, NULL) == -1)

              sfd = signalfd(-1, &mask, 0);
              if (sfd == -1)

              for (;;) {
                  s = read(sfd, &fdsi, sizeof(fdsi));
                  if (s != sizeof(fdsi))

                  if (fdsi.ssi_signo == SIGINT) {
                      printf("Got SIGINT\n");
                  } else if (fdsi.ssi_signo == SIGQUIT) {
                      printf("Got SIGQUIT\n");
                  } else {
                      printf("Read unexpected signal\n");

          eventfd(2), poll(2), read(2), select(2), sigaction(2),
          sigprocmask(2), sigwaitinfo(2), timerfd_create(2),
          sigsetops(3), sigwait(3), epoll(7), signal(7)

          This page is part of release 5.10 of the Linux man-pages
          project.  A description of the project, information about
          reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be
          found at

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