Provided by: manpages-dev_5.10-1ubuntu1_all bug


       getitimer, setitimer - get or set value of an interval timer


       #include <sys/time.h>

       int getitimer(int which, struct itimerval *curr_value);
       int setitimer(int which, const struct itimerval *new_value,
                     struct itimerval *old_value);


       These  system  calls  provide  access  to  interval timers, that is, timers that initially
       expire at some point in the future, and (optionally)  at  regular  intervals  after  that.
       When  a  timer  expires,  a  signal is generated for the calling process, and the timer is
       reset to the specified interval (if the interval is nonzero).

       Three types of timers—specified via the which argument—are provided, each of which  counts
       against a different clock and generates a different signal on timer expiration:

              This  timer  counts  down  in  real (i.e., wall clock) time.  At each expiration, a
              SIGALRM signal is generated.

              This timer counts down against the user-mode CPU  time  consumed  by  the  process.
              (The  measurement  includes  CPU  time consumed by all threads in the process.)  At
              each expiration, a SIGVTALRM signal is generated.

              This timer counts down against the total (i.e., both  user  and  system)  CPU  time
              consumed  by  the  process.   (The  measurement  includes  CPU time consumed by all
              threads in the process.)  At each expiration, a SIGPROF signal is generated.

              In conjunction with ITIMER_VIRTUAL, this timer can be  used  to  profile  user  and
              system CPU time consumed by the process.

       A process has only one of each of the three types of timers.

       Timer values are defined by the following structures:

           struct itimerval {
               struct timeval it_interval; /* Interval for periodic timer */
               struct timeval it_value;    /* Time until next expiration */

           struct timeval {
               time_t      tv_sec;         /* seconds */
               suseconds_t tv_usec;        /* microseconds */

       The  function  getitimer() places the current value of the timer specified by which in the
       buffer pointed to by curr_value.

       The it_value substructure is populated with the amount of time remaining  until  the  next
       expiration  of the specified timer.  This value changes as the timer counts down, and will
       be reset to it_interval when the timer expires.  If both fields of it_value are zero, then
       this timer is currently disarmed (inactive).

       The  it_interval  substructure  is  populated  with the timer interval.  If both fields of
       it_interval are zero, then this is a single-shot timer (i.e., it expires just once).

       The function setitimer() arms or disarms the timer specified  by  which,  by  setting  the
       timer to the value specified by new_value.  If old_value is non-NULL, the buffer it points
       to is used to return the previous value of the timer (i.e., the same information  that  is
       returned by getitimer()).

       If  either  field  in  new_value.it_value is nonzero, then the timer is armed to initially
       expire at the specified time.  If both fields in new_value.it_value  are  zero,  then  the
       timer is disarmed.

       The  new_value.it_interval  field specifies the new interval for the timer; if both of its
       subfields are zero, the timer is single-shot.


       On success, zero is returned.  On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.


       EFAULT new_value, old_value, or curr_value is not valid a pointer.

       EINVAL which is not one of ITIMER_REAL, ITIMER_VIRTUAL, or ITIMER_PROF;  or  (since  Linux
              2.6.22) one of the tv_usec fields in the structure pointed to by new_value contains
              a value outside the range 0 to 999999.


       POSIX.1-2001, SVr4, 4.4BSD (this call  first  appeared  in  4.2BSD).   POSIX.1-2008  marks
       getitimer()  and  setitimer()  obsolete,  recommending  the  use  of  the POSIX timers API
       (timer_gettime(2), timer_settime(2), etc.) instead.


       Timers will never expire before the requested time,  but  may  expire  some  (short)  time
       afterward,  which  depends  on  the  system  timer  resolution and on the system load; see
       time(7).  (But see BUGS below.)  If the timer expires while the process is active  (always
       true for ITIMER_VIRTUAL), the signal will be delivered immediately when generated.

       A  child  created  via  fork(2)  does  not inherit its parent's interval timers.  Interval
       timers are preserved across an execve(2).

       POSIX.1 leaves the interaction between setitimer()  and  the  three  interfaces  alarm(2),
       sleep(3), and usleep(3) unspecified.

       The standards are silent on the meaning of the call:

           setitimer(which, NULL, &old_value);

       Many systems (Solaris, the BSDs, and perhaps others) treat this as equivalent to:

           getitimer(which, &old_value);

       In  Linux, this is treated as being equivalent to a call in which the new_value fields are
       zero; that is, the timer is disabled.  Don't use this Linux misfeature: it is  nonportable
       and unnecessary.


       The generation and delivery of a signal are distinct, and only one instance of each of the
       signals listed above may  be  pending  for  a  process.   Under  very  heavy  loading,  an
       ITIMER_REAL  timer  may  expire  before  the  signal  from  a previous expiration has been
       delivered.  The second signal in such an event will be lost.

       On Linux kernels before 2.6.16, timer values are represented in jiffies.  If a request  is
       made  set  a  timer  with  a value whose jiffies representation exceeds MAX_SEC_IN_JIFFIES
       (defined in include/linux/jiffies.h), then the timer is silently truncated to this ceiling
       value.   On  Linux/i386  (where,  since Linux 2.6.13, the default jiffy is 0.004 seconds),
       this means that the ceiling value for a timer is approximately 99.42  days.   Since  Linux
       2.6.16, the kernel uses a different internal representation for times, and this ceiling is

       On certain systems (including i386), Linux kernels before version 2.6.12 have a bug  which
       will  produce  premature  timer  expirations  of up to one jiffy under some circumstances.
       This bug is fixed in kernel 2.6.12.

       POSIX.1-2001 says that setitimer() should fail if a tv_usec value  is  specified  that  is
       outside  of  the range 0 to 999999.  However, in kernels up to and including 2.6.21, Linux
       does not give an error, but instead silently adjusts the corresponding seconds  value  for
       the  timer.  From kernel 2.6.22 onward, this nonconformance has been repaired: an improper
       tv_usec value results in an EINVAL error.


       gettimeofday(2), sigaction(2), signal(2), timer_create(2), timerfd_create(2), time(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