alarm (2) manual page

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alarm - set an alarm clock for delivery of a signal


#include <unistd.h>

unsigned int alarm(unsigned int seconds);


alarm() arranges for a SIGALRM signal to be delivered to the process in seconds seconds.

If seconds is zero, no new alarm() is scheduled.

In any event any previously set alarm() is cancelled.

Return Value

alarm() returns the number of seconds remaining until any previously scheduled alarm was due to be delivered, or zero if there was no previously scheduled alarm.


alarm() and setitimer() share the same timer; calls to one will interfere with use of the other.

sleep() may be implemented using SIGALRM; mixing calls to alarm() and sleep() is a bad idea.

Scheduling delays can, as ever, cause the execution of the process to be delayed by an arbitrary amount of time.

Conforming to

SVr4, POSIX.1-2001, 4.3BSD

See Also

gettimeofday(2) , pause(2) , select(2) , setitimer(2) , sigaction(2) , signal(2) , sleep(3)

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