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semctl.2

SEMCTL

Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (2)
Updated: 2008-08-06
Index Return to Main Contents
 

NAME

semctl - semaphore control operations  

SYNOPSIS

#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/ipc.h>
#include <sys/sem.h>

int semctl(int semid, int semnum, int cmd, ...);
 

DESCRIPTION

semctl() performs the control operation specified by cmd on the semaphore set identified by semid, or on the semnum-th semaphore of that set. (The semaphores in a set are numbered starting at 0.)

This function has three or four arguments, depending on cmd. When there are four, the fourth has the type union semun. The calling program must define this union as follows:

union semun {
    int              val;    /* Value for SETVAL */
    struct semid_ds *buf;    /* Buffer for IPC_STAT, IPC_SET */
    unsigned short  *array;  /* Array for GETALL, SETALL */
    struct seminfo  *__buf;  /* Buffer for IPC_INFO
                                (Linux-specific) */
};

The semid_ds data structure is defined in <sys/sem.h> as follows:


struct semid_ds {
    struct ipc_perm sem_perm;  /* Ownership and permissions */
    time_t          sem_otime; /* Last semop time */
    time_t          sem_ctime; /* Last change time */
    unsigned short  sem_nsems; /* No. of semaphores in set */
};

The ipc_perm structure is defined in <sys/ipc.h> as follows (the highlighted fields are settable using IPC_SET):

struct ipc_perm {
    key_t          __key; /* Key supplied to semget(2) */
    uid_t          uid;   /* Effective UID of owner */
    gid_t          gid;   /* Effective GID of owner */
    uid_t          cuid;  /* Effective UID of creator */
    gid_t          cgid;  /* Effective GID of creator */
    unsigned short mode;  /* Permissions */
    unsigned short __seq; /* Sequence number */
};

Valid values for cmd are:

IPC_STAT
Copy information from the kernel data structure associated with semid into the semid_ds structure pointed to by arg.buf. The argument semnum is ignored. The calling process must have read permission on the semaphore set.
IPC_SET
Write the values of some members of the semid_ds structure pointed to by arg.buf to the kernel data structure associated with this semaphore set, updating also its sem_ctime member. The following members of the structure are updated: sem_perm.uid, sem_perm.gid, and (the least significant 9 bits of) sem_perm.mode. The effective UID of the calling process must match the owner (sem_perm.uid) or creator (sem_perm.cuid) of the semaphore set, or the caller must be privileged. The argument semnum is ignored.
IPC_RMID
Immediately remove the semaphore set, awakening all processes blocked in semop(2) calls on the set (with an error return and errno set to EIDRM). The effective user ID of the calling process must match the creator or owner of the semaphore set, or the caller must be privileged. The argument semnum is ignored.
IPC_INFO (Linux-specific)
Returns information about system-wide semaphore limits and parameters in the structure pointed to by arg.__buf. This structure is of type seminfo, defined in <sys/sem.h> if the _GNU_SOURCE feature test macro is defined:

struct  seminfo {
    int semmap;  /* Number of entries in semaphore
                    map; unused within kernel */
    int semmni;  /* Maximum number of semaphore sets */
    int semmns;  /* Maximum number of semaphores in all
                    semaphore sets */
    int semmnu;  /* System-wide maximum number of undo
                    structures; unused within kernel */
    int semmsl;  /* Maximum number of semaphores in a
                    set */
    int semopm;  /* Maximum number of operations for
                    semop(2) */
    int semume;  /* Maximum number of undo entries per
                    process; unused within kernel */
    int semusz;  /* Size of struct sem_undo */
    int semvmx;  /* Maximum semaphore value */
    int semaem;  /* Max. value that can be recorded for
                    semaphore adjustment (SEM_UNDO) */
};

The semmsl, semmns, semopm, and semmni settings can be changed via /proc/sys/kernel/sem; see proc(5) for details.
SEM_INFO (Linux-specific)
Returns a seminfo structure containing the same information as for IPC_INFO, except that the following fields are returned with information about system resources consumed by semaphores: the semusz field returns the number of semaphore sets that currently exist on the system; and the semaem field returns the total number of semaphores in all semaphore sets on the system.
SEM_STAT (Linux-specific)
Returns a semid_ds structure as for IPC_STAT. However, the semid argument is not a semaphore identifier, but instead an index into the kernel's internal array that maintains information about all semaphore sets on the system.
GETALL
Return semval (i.e., the current value) for all semaphores of the set into arg.array. The argument semnum is ignored. The calling process must have read permission on the semaphore set.
GETNCNT
The system call returns the value of semncnt (i.e., the number of processes waiting for the value of this semaphore to increase) for the semnum-th semaphore of the set (i.e., the number of processes waiting for an increase of semval for the semnum-th semaphore of the set). The calling process must have read permission on the semaphore set.
GETPID
The system call returns the value of sempid for the semnum-th semaphore of the set (i.e., the PID of the process that executed the last semop(2) call for the semnum-th semaphore of the set). The calling process must have read permission on the semaphore set.
GETVAL
The system call returns the value of semval for the semnum-th semaphore of the set. The calling process must have read permission on the semaphore set.
GETZCNT
The system call returns the value of semzcnt (i.e., the number of processes waiting for the value of this semaphore to become zero) for the semnum-th semaphore of the set (i.e., the number of processes waiting for semval of the semnum-th semaphore of the set to become 0). The calling process must have read permission on the semaphore set.
SETALL
Set semval for all semaphores of the set using arg.array, updating also the sem_ctime member of the semid_ds structure associated with the set. Undo entries (see semop(2)) are cleared for altered semaphores in all processes. If the changes to semaphore values would permit blocked semop(2) calls in other processes to proceed, then those processes are woken up. The argument semnum is ignored. The calling process must have alter (write) permission on the semaphore set.
SETVAL
Set the value of semval to arg.val for the semnum-th semaphore of the set, updating also the sem_ctime member of the semid_ds structure associated with the set. Undo entries are cleared for altered semaphores in all processes. If the changes to semaphore values would permit blocked semop(2) calls in other processes to proceed, then those processes are woken up. The calling process must have alter permission on the semaphore set.
 

RETURN VALUE

On failure semctl() returns -1 with errno indicating the error.

Otherwise the system call returns a non-negative value depending on cmd as follows:

GETNCNT
the value of semncnt.
GETPID
the value of sempid.
GETVAL
the value of semval.
GETZCNT
the value of semzcnt.
IPC_INFO
the index of the highest used entry in the kernel's internal array recording information about all semaphore sets. (This information can be used with repeated SEM_STAT operations to obtain information about all semaphore sets on the system.)
SEM_INFO
As for IPC_INFO.
SEM_STAT
the identifier of the semaphore set whose index was given in semid.

All other cmd values return 0 on success.  

ERRORS

On failure, errno will be set to one of the following:
EACCES
The argument cmd has one of the values GETALL, GETPID, GETVAL, GETNCNT, GETZCNT, IPC_STAT, SEM_STAT, SETALL, or SETVAL and the calling process does not have the required permissions on the semaphore set and does not have the CAP_IPC_OWNER capability.
EFAULT
The address pointed to by arg.buf or arg.array isn't accessible.
EIDRM
The semaphore set was removed.
EINVAL
Invalid value for cmd or semid. Or: for a SEM_STAT operation, the index value specified in semid referred to an array slot that is currently unused.
EPERM
The argument cmd has the value IPC_SET or IPC_RMID but the effective user ID of the calling process is not the creator (as found in sem_perm.cuid) or the owner (as found in sem_perm.uid) of the semaphore set, and the process does not have the CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability.
ERANGE
The argument cmd has the value SETALL or SETVAL and the value to which semval is to be set (for some semaphore of the set) is less than 0 or greater than the implementation limit SEMVMX.
 

CONFORMING TO

SVr4, POSIX.1-2001.  

NOTES

The IPC_INFO, SEM_STAT and SEM_INFO operations are used by the ipcs(8) program to provide information on allocated resources. In the future these may modified or moved to a /proc file system interface.

Various fields in a struct semid_ds were typed as short under Linux 2.2 and have become long under Linux 2.4. To take advantage of this, a recompilation under glibc-2.1.91 or later should suffice. (The kernel distinguishes old and new calls by an IPC_64 flag in cmd.)

In some earlier versions of glibc, the semun union was defined in <sys/sem.h>, but POSIX.1-2001 requires that the caller define this union. On versions of glibc where this union is not defined, the macro _SEM_SEMUN_UNDEFINED is defined in <sys/sem.h>.

The following system limit on semaphore sets affects a semctl() call:

SEMVMX
Maximum value for semval: implementation dependent (32767).

For greater portability it is best to always call semctl() with four arguments.  

SEE ALSO

ipc(2), semget(2), semop(2), capabilities(7), sem_overview(7), svipc(7)  

COLOPHON

This page is part of release 3.21 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
RETURN VALUE
ERRORS
CONFORMING TO
NOTES
SEE ALSO
COLOPHON

 

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