Unix offers two system calls, select() and poll(), which
accept a list of file descriptors, block until one of the set
is ready for I/O, and return a list of the ready file descriptors.
The time to execute these calls is proportional to the number
of file descriptors, which means they become inefficient above
a couple thousand file descriptors.
Various implementations of Unix offer high-performance, scalable
replacements for these system calls, e.g. kqueue(), /dev/epoll,
and Linux's realtime signal readiness notification, all with
significantly different interfaces. This makes them difficult to
learn, and makes it hard to write portable code.
(See The C10K Problem for more about the problem.)
rn is a tiny lightweight library written in C, licensed under the LGPL,
that provides a common abstraction for several readiness notification schemes.
It is significantly easier to use then sigio, and
about as easy to use as kqueue, epoll, and the edge-triggered variant of sys_epoll.
New readiness notification schemes can easily be supported by
writing a new "subclass" of rn.
It currently only supports edge-triggered readiness notification schemes.
It could easily be used with level-triggered schemes, but IMHO
edge-triggered readiness notification is more convenient when you get
used to it, and has slightly less CPU overhead.
To install rn, do the usual
$ tar -xzvf rn-0.4.tar.gz
$ cd rn-0.4
# make install
This will install rn.h and librn.a.
The api is fairly simple; see rn.html for documentation, and
rn_test.c for an example.
Last change: 15 Oct 2003
Portions Copyright 2002 Dan Kegel
Portions Copyright 2003 Ixia Communications
Licensed under the LGPL
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