The Single UNIX ® Specification, Version 2
Copyright © 1997 The Open Group


getitimer, setitimer - get or set value of interval timer


#include <sys/time.h>

int getitimer(int which, struct itimerval *value);
int setitimer(int which, const struct itimerval *value,
    struct itimerval *ovalue);


The getitimer() function stores the current value of the timer specified by which into the structure pointed to by value. The setitimer() function sets the timer specified by which to the value specified in the structure pointed to by value, and if ovalue is not a null pointer, stores the previous value of the timer in the structure pointed to by ovalue.

A timer value is defined by the itimerval structure. If it_value is non-zero, it indicates the time to the next timer expiration. If it_interval is non-zero, it specifies a value to be used in reloading it_value when the timer expires. Setting it_value to 0 disables a timer, regardless of the value of it_interval. Setting it_interval to 0 disables a timer after its next expiration (assuming it_value is non-zero).

Implementations may place limitations on the granularity of timer values. For each interval timer, if the requested timer value requires a finer granularity than the implementation supports, the actual timer value will be rounded up to the next supported value.

An XSI-conforming implementation provides each process with at least three interval timers, which are indicated by the which argument:

Decrements in real time. A SIGALRM signal is delivered when this timer expires.
Decrements in process virtual time. It runs only when the process is executing. A SIGVTALRM signal is delivered when it expires.
Decrements both in process virtual time and when the system is running on behalf of the process. It is designed to be used by interpreters in statistically profiling the execution of interpreted programs. Each time the ITIMER_PROF timer expires, the SIGPROF signal is delivered.

The interaction between setitimer() and any of alarm(), sleep() or usleep() is unspecified.


Upon successful completion, getitimer() or setitimer() returns 0. Otherwise, -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the error.


The setitimer() function will fail if:
The value argument is not in canonical form. (In canonical form, the number of microseconds is a non-negative integer less than 1,000,000 and the number of seconds is a non-negative integer.)

The getitimer() and setitimer() functions may fail if:

The which argument is not recognised.








alarm(), sleep(), timer_gettime(), timer_settime(), ualarm(), usleep(), <signal.h>, <sys/time.h>.

UNIX ® is a registered Trademark of The Open Group.
Copyright © 1997 The Open Group
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