This is altio/epoll_input.c (Listing 63-5, page 1362), an example from the book, The Linux Programming Interface.

The source code file is copyright 2022, Michael Kerrisk, and is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 3.

This page shows the "distribution" or "book" version of the file (why are there two versions?), or the differences between the two versions. You can switch between the views using the tabs below.

In the listing below, the names of Linux system calls and C library functions are hyperlinked to manual pages from the Linux man-pages project, and the names of functions implemented in the book are hyperlinked to the implementations of those functions.


Download altio/epoll_input.c

  Cover of The Linux Programming Interface

Function list (Bold in this list means a function is not static)

/* epoll_input.c

   Example of the use of the Linux epoll API.

   Usage: epoll_input file...

   This program opens all of the files named in its command-line arguments
   and monitors the resulting file descriptors for input events.

   This program is Linux (2.6 and later) specific.
#include <sys/epoll.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include "tlpi_hdr.h"

#define MAX_BUF     1000        /* Maximum bytes fetched by a single read() */
#define MAX_EVENTS     5        /* Maximum number of events to be returned from
                                   a single epoll_wait() call */
main(int argc, char *argv[])
    int epfd, ready, fd, s, j, numOpenFds;
    struct epoll_event ev;
    struct epoll_event evlist[MAX_EVENTS];
    char buf[MAX_BUF];

    if (argc < 2 || strcmp(argv[1], "--help") == 0)
        usageErr("%s file...\n", argv[0]);

    epfd = epoll_create(argc - 1);
    if (epfd == -1)

    /* Open each file on command line, and add it to the "interest
       list" for the epoll instance */

    for (j = 1; j < argc; j++) {
        fd = open(argv[j], O_RDONLY);
        if (fd == -1)
        printf("Opened \"%s\" on fd %d\n", argv[j], fd); = EPOLLIN;            /* Only interested in input events */ = fd;
        if (epoll_ctl(epfd, EPOLL_CTL_ADD, fd, &ev) == -1)

    numOpenFds = argc - 1;

    while (numOpenFds > 0) {

        /* Fetch up to MAX_EVENTS items from the ready list of the
           epoll instance */

        printf("About to epoll_wait()\n");
        ready = epoll_wait(epfd, evlist, MAX_EVENTS, -1);
        if (ready == -1) {
            if (errno == EINTR)
                continue;               /* Restart if interrupted by signal */

        printf("Ready: %d\n", ready);

        /* Deal with returned list of events */

        for (j = 0; j < ready; j++) {
            printf("  fd=%d; events: %s%s%s\n", evlist[j].data.fd,
                    (evlist[j].events & EPOLLIN)  ? "EPOLLIN "  : "",
                    (evlist[j].events & EPOLLHUP) ? "EPOLLHUP " : "",
                    (evlist[j].events & EPOLLERR) ? "EPOLLERR " : "");

            if (evlist[j].events & EPOLLIN) {
                s = read(evlist[j].data.fd, buf, MAX_BUF);
                if (s == -1)
                printf("    read %d bytes: %.*s\n", s, s, buf);

            } else if (evlist[j].events & (EPOLLHUP | EPOLLERR)) {

                /* After the epoll_wait(), EPOLLIN and EPOLLHUP may both have
                   been set. But we'll only get here, and thus close the file
                   descriptor, if EPOLLIN was not set. This ensures that all
                   outstanding input (possibly more than MAX_BUF bytes) is
                   consumed (by further loop iterations) before the file
                   descriptor is closed. */

                printf("    closing fd %d\n", evlist[j].data.fd);
                if (close(evlist[j].data.fd) == -1)

    printf("All file descriptors closed; bye\n");


Download altio/epoll_input.c

Note that, in most cases, the programs rendered in these web pages are not free standing: you'll typically also need a few other source files (mostly in the lib/ subdirectory) as well. Generally, it's easier to just download the entire source tarball and build the programs with make(1). By hovering your mouse over the various hyperlinked include files and function calls above, you can see which other source files this file depends on.

Valid XHTML 1.1