The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6
IEEE Std 1003.1, 2004 Edition
Copyright © 2001-2004 The IEEE and The Open Group, All Rights reserved.
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pthread_getspecific, pthread_setspecific - thread-specific data management


[THR] [Option Start] #include <pthread.h>

void *pthread_getspecific(pthread_key_t
int pthread_setspecific(pthread_key_t
key, const void *value); [Option End]


The pthread_getspecific() function shall return the value currently bound to the specified key on behalf of the calling thread.

The pthread_setspecific() function shall associate a thread-specific value with a key obtained via a previous call to pthread_key_create(). Different threads may bind different values to the same key. These values are typically pointers to blocks of dynamically allocated memory that have been reserved for use by the calling thread.

The effect of calling pthread_getspecific() or pthread_setspecific() with a key value not obtained from pthread_key_create() or after key has been deleted with pthread_key_delete() is undefined.

Both pthread_getspecific() and pthread_setspecific() may be called from a thread-specific data destructor function. A call to pthread_getspecific() for the thread-specific data key being destroyed shall return the value NULL, unless the value is changed (after the destructor starts) by a call to pthread_setspecific(). Calling pthread_setspecific() from a thread-specific data destructor routine may result either in lost storage (after at least PTHREAD_DESTRUCTOR_ITERATIONS attempts at destruction) or in an infinite loop.

Both functions may be implemented as macros.


The pthread_getspecific() function shall return the thread-specific data value associated with the given key. If no thread-specific data value is associated with key, then the value NULL shall be returned.

If successful, the pthread_setspecific() function shall return zero; otherwise, an error number shall be returned to indicate the error.


No errors are returned from pthread_getspecific().

The pthread_setspecific() function shall fail if:

Insufficient memory exists to associate the non-NULL value with the key.

The pthread_setspecific() function may fail if:

The key value is invalid.

These functions shall not return an error code of [EINTR].

The following sections are informative.






Performance and ease-of-use of pthread_getspecific() are critical for functions that rely on maintaining state in thread-specific data. Since no errors are required to be detected by it, and since the only error that could be detected is the use of an invalid key, the function to pthread_getspecific() has been designed to favor speed and simplicity over error reporting.




pthread_key_create(), the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <pthread.h>


First released in Issue 5. Included for alignment with the POSIX Threads Extension.

Issue 6

The pthread_getspecific() and pthread_setspecific() functions are marked as part of the Threads option.

IEEE PASC Interpretation 1003.1c #3 (Part 6) is applied, updating the DESCRIPTION.

IEEE Std 1003.1-2001/Cor 2-2004, item XSH/TC2/D6/96 is applied, updating the ERRORS section so that the [ENOMEM] error case is changed from ``to associate the value with the key'' to ``to associate the non-NULL value with the key''.

End of informative text.

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