up | Inhaltsverzeichniss | Kommentar

Manual page for SOCKET(2)

socket - create an endpoint for communication


#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>

int socket(domain, type, protocol)
int domain, type, protocol;


socket() creates an endpoint for communication and returns a descriptor.

The domain parameter specifies a communications domain within which communication will take place; this selects the protocol family which should be used. The protocol family generally is the same as the address family for the addresses supplied in later operations on the socket. These families are defined in the include file <sys/socket.h>. The currently understood formats are

(UNIX system internal protocols),
(ARPA Internet protocols), and
(IMP ``host at IMP'' link layer).

The socket has the indicated type, which specifies the semantics of communication. Currently defined types are:


A SOCK_STREAM type provides sequenced, reliable, two-way connection based byte streams. An out-of-band data transmission mechanism may be supported. A SOCK_DGRAM socket supports datagrams (connectionless, unreliable messages of a fixed (typically small) maximum length). A SOCK_SEQPACKET socket may provide a sequenced, reliable, two-way connection-based data transmission path for datagrams of fixed maximum length; a consumer may be required to read an entire packet with each read system call. This facility is protocol specific, and presently not implemented for any protocol family. SOCK_RAW sockets provide access to internal network interfaces. The types SOCK_RAW, which is available only to the super-user, and SOCK_RDM, for which no implementation currently exists, are not described here.

The protocol specifies a particular protocol to be used with the socket. Normally only a single protocol exists to support a particular socket type within a given protocol family. However, it is possible that many protocols may exist, in which case a particular protocol must be specified in this manner. The protocol number to use is particular to the ``communication domain'' in which communication is to take place; see protocols.5

Sockets of type SOCK_STREAM are full-duplex byte streams, similar to pipes. A stream socket must be in a connected state before any data may be sent or received on it. A connection to another socket is created with a connect.2 call. Once connected, data may be transferred using read.2v and write.2v calls or some variant of the send.2 and recv.2 calls. When a session has been completed a close.2v may be performed. Out-of-band data may also be transmitted as described in send.2 and received as described in recv.2

The communications protocols used to implement a SOCK_STREAM insure that data is not lost or duplicated. If a piece of data for which the peer protocol has buffer space cannot be successfully transmitted within a reasonable length of time, then the connection is considered broken and calls will indicate an error with -1 returns and with ETIMEDOUT as the specific code in the global variable errno. The protocols optionally keep sockets ``warm'' by forcing transmissions roughly every minute in the absence of other activity. An error is then indicated if no response can be elicited on an otherwise idle connection for a extended period (for instance 5 minutes). A SIGPIPE signal is raised if a process sends on a broken stream; this causes naive processes, which do not handle the signal, to exit.

SOCK_SEQPACKET sockets employ the same system calls as SOCK_STREAM sockets. The only difference is that read.2v calls will return only the amount of data requested, and any remaining in the arriving packet will be discarded.

SOCK_DGRAM and SOCK_RAW sockets allow sending of datagrams to correspondents named in send.2 calls. Datagrams are generally received with recv.2 which returns the next datagram with its return address.

An fcntl.2v call can be used to specify a process group to receive a SIGURG signal when the out-of-band data arrives. It may also enable non-blocking I/O and asynchronous notification of I/O events with SIGIO signals.

The operation of sockets is controlled by socket level options. These options are defined in the file socket.h. getsockopt.2 and setsockopt() are used to get and set options, respectively.


socket() returns a non-negative descriptor on success. On failure, it returns -1 and sets errno to indicate the error.


Permission to create a socket of the specified type and/or protocol is denied.
The per-process descriptor table is full.
The system file table is full.
Insufficient buffer space is available. The socket cannot be created until sufficient resources are freed.
The protocol type or the specified protocol is not supported within this domain.
The protocol is the wrong type for the socket.


accept.2 bind.2 close.2v connect.2 fcntl.2v getsockname.2 getsockopt.2 ioctl.2 listen.2 read.2v recv.2 select.2 send.2 shutdown.2 socketpair.2 write.2v protocols.5

[a manual with the abbreviation NETP]

index | Inhaltsverzeichniss | Kommentar

Created by unroff & hp-tools. © by Hans-Peter Bischof. All Rights Reserved (1997).

Last modified 21/April/97