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分类: C/C++

2011-11-22 16:25:25

using select on a fifo
Filed under: Ubuntu — kees @ 5:00 pm

The right way to handle on-going input from file descriptors is to use select(). All readable events are flagged (one such event is “end of file”, which is indicated by a 0-sized read()). For example, if we’re reading from file descriptor fd:

fd_set rfds; int rc; FD_ZERO(&rfds); FD_SET(fd, &rfds); tv.tv_sec = 1; tv.tv_usec = 0; rc = select(fd + 1, &rfds, NULL, NULL, &tv); if (rc > 0) { char buf[80]; ssize_t got = read(fd, buf, sizeof(buf)); if (got < 0) { perror("read"); return 1; } else if (got == 0) { printf("EOF\\n"); return 1; } else { printf("read bytes: %d\\n", got); } }

When dealing with sockets, the above loop is sane — EOF means the other end hung up and you’ll never get more data from the file descriptor. In the case of a FIFO, however, “0 length read” means there are no more FIFO writers — but more could attach later and continue feeding in data! The problem with this is that select misbehaves and marks the file descriptor as “EOF” forever. Only the initial select() call blocks until there is something to read — once it hits EOF, select will always immediately return, defeating the purpose of select().

One solution is to re-open the FIFO, but you might miss writers between your 0-length read() and the next open().

The seemingly correct solution is rather simple: the FIFO reader should open the FIFO as a writer also. In this case, select() never thinks all the writers have vanished, so there is never an EOF condition, and the reader never misses any writers. So, instead of O_RDONLY, use:

fd = open(FIFO_PATHNAME, O_RDWR | O_NONBLOCK);
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