Serial Programming HOWTO

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
    1.1. Copyright Information
    1.2. Disclaimer
    1.3. New Versions
    1.4. Credits
    1.5. Feedback
   
   
2. Getting started
    2.1. Debugging
    2.2. Port Settings
    2.3. Input Concepts for Serial Devices
        2.3.1. Canonical Input Processing
        2.3.2. Non-Canonical Input Processing
        2.3.3. Asynchronous Input
        2.3.4. Waiting for Input from Multiple Sources
       
       
   
   
3. Program Examples
    3.1. Canonical Input Processing
    3.2. Non-Canonical Input Processing
    3.3. Asynchronous Input
    3.4. Waiting for Input from Multiple Sources
   
   
4. Other Sources of Information

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Introduction

This is the Linux Serial Programming HOWTO. All about how to program
communications with other devices / computers over a serial line under Linux.
Different techniques are explained: Canonical I/O (only complete lines are
transmitted/received), asyncronous I/O, and waiting for input from multiple
sources.

This is the first update to the initial release of the Linux Serial
Programming HOWTO. The primary purpose of this update is to change the author
information and convert the document to DocBook format. In terms of technical
content, very little if anything has changed at this time. Sweeping changes
to the technical content aren't going to happen overnight, but I'll work on
it as much as time allows.

If you've been waiting in the wings for someone to take over this HOWTO,
you've gotten your wish. Please send me any and all feedback you have, it'd
be very much appreciated.

All examples were tested using a i386 Linux Kernel 2.0.29.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.1. Copyright Information

This document is copyrighted (c) 1997 Peter Baumann, (c) 2001 Gary Frerking
and is distributed under the terms of the Linux Documentation Project (LDP)
license, stated below.

Unless otherwise stated, Linux HOWTO documents are copyrighted by their
respective authors. Linux HOWTO documents may be reproduced and distributed
in whole or in part, in any medium physical or electronic, as long as this
copyright notice is retained on all copies. Commercial redistribution is
allowed and encouraged; however, the author would like to be notified of any
such distributions.

All translations, derivative works, or aggregate works incorporating any
Linux HOWTO documents must be covered under this copyright notice. That is,
you may not produce a derivative work from a HOWTO and impose additional
restrictions on its distribution. Exceptions to these rules may be granted
under certain conditions; please contact the Linux HOWTO coordinator at the
address given below.

In short, we wish to promote dissemination of this information through as
many channels as possible. However, we do wish to retain copyright on the
HOWTO documents, and would like to be notified of any plans to redistribute
the HOWTOs.

If you have any questions, please contact <linux-howto@metalab.unc.edu>
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.2. Disclaimer

No liability for the contents of this documents can be accepted. Use the
concepts, examples and other content at your own risk. As this is a new
edition of this document, there may be errors and inaccuracies, that may of
course be damaging to your system. Proceed with caution, and although this is
highly unlikely, the author(s) do not take any responsibility for that.

All copyrights are held by their by their respective owners, unless
specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be
regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before major
installation and backups at regular intervals.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.3. New Versions

As previously mentioned, not much is new in terms of technical content yet.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.4. Credits

The original author thanked Mr. Strudthoff, Michael Carter, Peter Waltenberg,
Antonino Ianella, Greg Hankins, Dave Pfaltzgraff, Sean Lincolne, Michael
Wiedmann, and Adrey Bonar.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.5. Feedback

Feedback is most certainly welcome for this document. Without your
submissions and input, this document wouldn't exist. Please send your
additions, comments and criticisms to the following email address : <
gary@frerking.org>.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Getting started

2.1. Debugging

The best way to debug your code is to set up another Linux box, and connect
the two computers via a null-modem cable. Use miniterm (available from the
LDP programmers guide (ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/LDP/
programmers-guide/lpg-0.4.tar.gz in the examples directory) to transmit
characters to your Linux box. Miniterm can be compiled very easily and will
transmit all keyboard input raw over the serial port. Only the define
statement #define MODEMDEVICE "/dev/ttyS0" has to be checked. Set it to ttyS0
for COM1, ttyS1 for COM2, etc.. It is essential for testing, that all
characters are transmitted raw (without output processing) over the line. To
test your connection, start miniterm on both computers and just type away.
The characters input on one computer should appear on the other computer and
vice versa. The input will not be echoed to the attached screen.

To make a null-modem cable you have to cross the TxD (transmit) and RxD
(receive) lines. For a description of a cable see sect. 7 of the
Serial-HOWTO.

It is also possible to perform this testing with only one computer, if you
have two unused serial ports. You can then run two miniterms off two virtual
consoles. If you free a serial port by disconnecting the mouse, remember to
redirect /dev/mouse if it exists. If you use a multiport serial card, be sure
to configure it correctly. I had mine configured wrong and everything worked
fine as long as I was testing only on my computer. When I connected to
another computer, the port started loosing characters. Executing two programs
on one computer just isn't fully asynchronous.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.2. Port Settings

The devices /dev/ttyS* are intended to hook up terminals to your Linux box,
and are configured for this use after startup. This has to be kept in mind
when programming communication with a raw device. E.g. the ports are
configured to echo characters sent from the device back to it, which normally
has to be changed for data transmission.

All parameters can be easily configured from within a program. The
configuration is stored in a structure struct termios, which is defined in <
asm/termbits.h>:
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|        #define NCCS 19                                                    |
|        struct termios {                                                   |
|                tcflag_t c_iflag;               /* input mode flags */     |
|                tcflag_t c_oflag;               /* output mode flags */    |
|                tcflag_t c_cflag;               /* control mode flags */   |
|                tcflag_t c_lflag;               /* local mode flags */     |
|                cc_t c_line;                    /* line discipline */      |
|                cc_t c_cc[NCCS];                /* control characters */   |
|        };                                                                 |
|                                                                           |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+

This file also includes all flag definitions. The input mode flags in c_iflag
handle all input processing, which means that the characters sent from the
device can be processed before they are read with read. Similarly c_oflag
handles the output processing. c_cflag contains the settings for the port, as
the baudrate, bits per character, stop bits, etc.. The local mode flags
stored in c_lflag determine if characters are echoed, signals are sent to
your program, etc.. Finally the array c_cc defines the control characters for
end of file, stop, etc.. Default values for the control characters are
defined in <asm/termios.h>. The flags are described in the manual page
termios(3). The structure termios contains the c_line (line discipline)
element, which is not used in POSIX compliant systems.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.3. Input Concepts for Serial Devices

Here three different input concepts will be presented. The appropriate
concept has to be chosen for the intended application. Whenever possible, do
not loop reading single characters to get a complete string. When I did this,
I lost characters, whereas a read for the whole string did not show any
errors.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.3.1. Canonical Input Processing

This is the normal processing mode for terminals, but can also be useful for
communicating with other dl input is processed in units of lines, which means
that a read will only return a full line of input. A line is by default
terminated by a NL (ASCII LF), an end of file, or an end of line character. A
CR (the DOS/Windows default end-of-line) will not terminate a line with the
default settings.

Canonical input processing can also handle the erase, delete word, and
reprint characters, translate CR to NL, etc..
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.3.2. Non-Canonical Input Processing

Non-Canonical Input Processing will handle a fixed amount of characters per
read, and allows for a character timer. This mode should be used if your
application will always read a fixed number of characters, or if the
connected device sends bursts of characters.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.3.3. Asynchronous Input

The two modes described above can be used in synchronous and asynchronous
mode. Synchronous is the default, where a read statement will block, until
the read is satisfied. In asynchronous mode the read statement will return
immediatly and send a signal to the calling program upon completion. This
signal can be received by a signal handler.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.3.4. Waiting for Input from Multiple Sources

This is not a different input mode, but might be useful, if you are handling
multiple devices. In my application I was handling input over a TCP/IP socket
and input over a serial connection from another computer
quasi-simultaneously. The program example given below will wait for input
from two different input sources. If input from one source becomes available,
it will be processed, and the program will then wait for new input.

The approach presented below seems rather complex, but it is important to
keep in mind that Linux is a multi-processing operating system. The select
system call will not load the CPU while waiting for input, whereas looping
until input becomes available would slow down other processes executing at
the same time.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Program Examples

All examples have been derived from miniterm.c. The type ahead buffer is
limited to 255 characters, just like the maximum string length for canonical
input processing (<linux/limits.h> or <posix1_lim.h>).

See the comments in the code for explanation of the use of the different
input modes. I hope that the code is understandable. The example for
canonical input is commented best, the other examples are commented only
where they differ from the example for canonical input to emphasize the
differences.

The descriptions are not complete, but you are encouraged to experiment with
the examples to derive the best solution for your application.

Don't forget to give the appropriate serial ports the right permissions (e.
g.: chmod a+rw /dev/ttyS1)!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.1. Canonical Input Processing

 
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|        #include <sys/types.h>                                                        |
|        #include <sys/stat.h>                                                         |
|        #include <fcntl.h>                                                            |
|        #include <termios.h>                                                          |
|        #include <stdio.h>                                                            |
|                                                                                      |
|        /* baudrate settings are defined in <asm/termbits.h>, which is                |
|        included by <termios.h> */                                                    |
|        #define BAUDRATE B38400                                                       |
|        /* change this definition for the correct port */                             |
|        #define MODEMDEVICE "/dev/ttyS1"                                              |
|        #define _POSIX_SOURCE 1 /* POSIX compliant source */                          |
|                                                                                      |
|        #define FALSE 0                                                               |
|        #define TRUE 1                                                                |
|                                                                                      |
|        volatile int STOP=FALSE;                                                      |
|                                                                                      |
|        main()                                                                        |
|        {                                                                             |
|          int fd,c, res;                                                              |
|          struct termios oldtio,newtio;                                               |
|          char buf[255];                                                              |
|        /*                                                                            |
|          Open modem device for reading and writing and not as controlling tty        |
|          because we don't want to get killed if linenoise sends CTRL-C.              |
|        */                                                                            |
|         fd = open(MODEMDEVICE, O_RDWR | O_NOCTTY );                                  |
|         if (fd <0) {perror(MODEMDEVICE); exit(-1); }                                 |
|                                                                                      |
|         tcgetattr(fd,&oldtio); /* save current serial port settings */               |
|         bzero(&newtio, sizeof(newtio)); /* clear struct for new port settings */     |
|                                                                                      |
|        /*                                                                            |
|          BAUDRATE: Set bps rate. You could also use cfsetispeed and cfsetospeed.     |
|          CRTSCTS : output hardware flow control (only used if the cable has          |
|                    all necessary lines. See sect. 7 of Serial-HOWTO)                 |
|          CS8     : 8n1 (8bit,no parity,1 stopbit)                                    |
|          CLOCAL  : local connection, no modem contol                                 |
|          CREAD   : enable receiving characters                                       |
|        */                                                                            |
|         newtio.c_cflag = BAUDRATE | CRTSCTS | CS8 | CLOCAL | CREAD;                  |
|                                                                                      |
|        /*                                                                            |
|          IGNPAR  : ignore bytes with parity errors                                   |
|          ICRNL   : map CR to NL (otherwise a CR input on the other computer          |
|                    will not terminate input)                                         |
|          otherwise make device raw (no other input processing)                       |
|        */                                                                            |
|         newtio.c_iflag = IGNPAR | ICRNL;                                             |
|                                                                                      |
|        /*                                                                            |
|         Raw output.                                                                  |
|        */                                                                            |
|         newtio.c_oflag = 0;                                                          |
|                                                                                      |
|        /*                                                                            |
|          ICANON  : enable canonical input                                            |
|          disable all echo functionality, and don't send signals to calling program   |
|        */                                                                            |
|         newtio.c_lflag = ICANON;                                                     |
|                                                                                      |
|        /*                                                                            |
|          initialize all control characters                                           |
|          default values can be found in /usr/include/termios.h, and are given        |
|          in the comments, but we don't need them here                                |
|        */                                                                            |
|         newtio.c_cc[VINTR]    = 0;     /* Ctrl-c */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VQUIT]    = 0;     /* Ctrl-\ */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VERASE]   = 0;     /* del */                                     |
|         newtio.c_cc[VKILL]    = 0;     /* @ */                                       |
|         newtio.c_cc[VEOF]     = 4;     /* Ctrl-d */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VTIME]    = 0;     /* inter-character timer unused */            |
|         newtio.c_cc[VMIN]     = 1;     /* blocking read until 1 character arrives */ |
|         newtio.c_cc[VSWTC]    = 0;     /* '\0' */                                    |
|         newtio.c_cc[VSTART]   = 0;     /* Ctrl-q */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VSTOP]    = 0;     /* Ctrl-s */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VSUSP]    = 0;     /* Ctrl-z */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VEOL]     = 0;     /* '\0' */                                    |
|         newtio.c_cc[VREPRINT] = 0;     /* Ctrl-r */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VDISCARD] = 0;     /* Ctrl-u */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VWERASE]  = 0;     /* Ctrl-w */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VLNEXT]   = 0;     /* Ctrl-v */                                  |
|         newtio.c_cc[VEOL2]    = 0;     /* '\0' */                                    |
|                                                                                      |
|        /*                                                                            |
|          now clean the modem line and activate the settings for the port             |
|        */                                                                            |
|         tcflush(fd, TCIFLUSH);                                                       |
|         tcsetattr(fd,TCSANOW,&newtio);                                               |
|                                                                                      |
|        /*                                                                            |
|          terminal settings done, now handle input                                    |
|          In this example, inputting a 'z' at the beginning of a line will            |
|          exit the program.                                                           |
|        */                                                                            |
|         while (STOP==FALSE) {     /* loop until we have a terminating condition */   |
|         /* read blocks program execution until a line terminating character is       |
|            input, even if more than 255 chars are input. If the number               |
|            of characters read is smaller than the number of chars available,         |
|            subsequent reads will return the remaining chars. res will be set         |
|            to the actual number of characters actually read */                       |
|            res = read(fd,buf,255);                                                   |
|            buf[res]=0;             /* set end of string, so we can printf */         |
|            printf(":%s:%d\n", buf, res);                                             |
|            if (buf[0]=='z') STOP=TRUE;                                               |
|         }                                                                            |
|         /* restore the old port settings */                                          |
|         tcsetattr(fd,TCSANOW,&oldtio);                                               |
|        }                                                                             |
|                                                                                      |
|                                                                                      |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.2. Non-Canonical Input Processing

In non-canonical input processing mode, input is not assembled into lines and
input processing (erase, kill, delete, etc.) does not occur. Two parameters
control the behavior of this mode: c_cc[VTIME] sets the character timer, and
c_cc[VMIN] sets the minimum number of characters to receive before satisfying
the read.

If MIN > 0 and TIME = 0, MIN sets the number of characters to receive before
the read is satisfied. As TIME is zero, the timer is not used.

If MIN = 0 and TIME > 0, TIME serves as a timeout value. The read will be
satisfied if a single character is read, or TIME is exceeded (t = TIME *0.1
s). If TIME is exceeded, no character will be returned.

If MIN > 0 and TIME > 0, TIME serves as an inter-character timer. The read
will be satisfied if MIN characters are received, or the time between two
characters exceeds TIME. The timer is restarted every time a character is
received and only becomes active after the first character has been received.

If MIN = 0 and TIME = 0, read will be satisfied immediately. The number of
characters currently available, or the number of characters requested will be
returned. According to Antonino (see contributions), you could issue a fcntl
(fd, F_SETFL, FNDELAY); before reading to get the same result.

By modifying newtio.c_cc[VTIME] and newtio.c_cc[VMIN] all modes described
above can be tested.

 
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|      #include <sys/types.h>                                                    |
|      #include <sys/stat.h>                                                     |
|      #include <fcntl.h>                                                        |
|      #include <termios.h>                                                      |
|      #include <stdio.h>                                                        |
|                                                                                |
|      #define BAUDRATE B38400                                                   |
|      #define MODEMDEVICE "/dev/ttyS1"                                          |
|      #define _POSIX_SOURCE 1 /* POSIX compliant source */                      |
|      #define FALSE 0                                                           |
|      #define TRUE 1                                                            |
|                                                                                |
|      volatile int STOP=FALSE;                                                  |
|                                                                                |
|      main()                                                                    |
|      {                                                                         |
|        int fd,c, res;                                                          |
|        struct termios oldtio,newtio;                                           |
|        char buf[255];                                                          |
|                                                                                |
|        fd = open(MODEMDEVICE, O_RDWR | O_NOCTTY );                             |
|        if (fd <0) {perror(MODEMDEVICE); exit(-1); }                            |
|                                                                                |
|        tcgetattr(fd,&oldtio); /* save current port settings */                 |
|                                                                                |
|        bzero(&newtio, sizeof(newtio));                                         |
|        newtio.c_cflag = BAUDRATE | CRTSCTS | CS8 | CLOCAL | CREAD;             |
|        newtio.c_iflag = IGNPAR;                                                |
|        newtio.c_oflag = 0;                                                     |
|                                                                                |
|        /* set input mode (non-canonical, no echo,...) */                       |
|        newtio.c_lflag = 0;                                                     |
|                                                                                |
|        newtio.c_cc[VTIME]    = 0;   /* inter-character timer unused */         |
|        newtio.c_cc[VMIN]     = 5;   /* blocking read until 5 chars received */ |
|                                                                                |
|        tcflush(fd, TCIFLUSH);                                                  |
|        tcsetattr(fd,TCSANOW,&newtio);                                          |
|                                                                                |
|                                                                                |
|        while (STOP==FALSE) {       /* loop for input */                        |
|          res = read(fd,buf,255);   /* returns after 5 chars have been input */ |
|          buf[res]=0;               /* so we can printf... */                   |
|          printf(":%s:%d\n", buf, res);                                         |
|          if (buf[0]=='z') STOP=TRUE;                                           |
|        }                                                                       |
|        tcsetattr(fd,TCSANOW,&oldtio);                                          |
|      }                                                                         |
|                                                                                |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.3. Asynchronous Input

 
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|      #include <termios.h>                                                         |
|      #include <stdio.h>                                                           |
|      #include <unistd.h>                                                          |
|      #include <fcntl.h>                                                           |
|      #include <sys/signal.h>                                                      |
|      #include <sys/types.h>                                                       |
|                                                                                   |
|      #define BAUDRATE B38400                                                      |
|      #define MODEMDEVICE "/dev/ttyS1"                                             |
|      #define _POSIX_SOURCE 1 /* POSIX compliant source */                         |
|      #define FALSE 0                                                              |
|      #define TRUE 1                                                               |
|                                                                                   |
|      volatile int STOP=FALSE;                                                     |
|                                                                                   |
|      void signal_handler_IO (int status);   /* definition of signal handler */    |
|      int wait_flag=TRUE;                    /* TRUE while no signal received */   |
|                                                                                   |
|      main()                                                                       |
|      {                                                                            |
|        int fd,c, res;                                                             |
|        struct termios oldtio,newtio;                                              |
|        struct sigaction saio;           /* definition of signal action */         |
|        char buf[255];                                                             |
|                                                                                   |
|        /* open the device to be non-blocking (read will return immediatly) */     |
|        fd = open(MODEMDEVICE, O_RDWR | O_NOCTTY | O_NONBLOCK);                    |
|        if (fd <0) {perror(MODEMDEVICE); exit(-1); }                               |
|                                                                                   |
|        /* install the signal handler before making the device asynchronous */     |
|        saio.sa_handler = signal_handler_IO;                                       |
|        saio.sa_mask = 0;                                                          |
|        saio.sa_flags = 0;                                                         |
|        saio.sa_restorer = NULL;                                                   |
|        sigaction(SIGIO,&saio,NULL);                                               |
|                                                                                   |
|        /* allow the process to receive SIGIO */                                   |
|        fcntl(fd, F_SETOWN, getpid());                                             |
|        /* Make the file descriptor asynchronous (the manual page says only        |
|           O_APPEND and O_NONBLOCK, will work with F_SETFL...) */                  |
|        fcntl(fd, F_SETFL, FASYNC);                                                |
|                                                                                   |
|        tcgetattr(fd,&oldtio); /* save current port settings */                    |
|        /* set new port settings for canonical input processing */                 |
|        newtio.c_cflag = BAUDRATE | CRTSCTS | CS8 | CLOCAL | CREAD;                |
|        newtio.c_iflag = IGNPAR | ICRNL;                                           |
|        newtio.c_oflag = 0;                                                        |
|        newtio.c_lflag = ICANON;                                                   |
|        newtio.c_cc[VMIN]=1;                                                       |
|        newtio.c_cc[VTIME]=0;                                                      |
|        tcflush(fd, TCIFLUSH);                                                     |
|        tcsetattr(fd,TCSANOW,&newtio);                                             |
|                                                                                   |
|        /* loop while waiting for input. normally we would do something            |
|           useful here */                                                          |
|        while (STOP==FALSE) {                                                      |
|          printf(".\n");usleep(100000);                                            |
|          /* after receiving SIGIO, wait_flag = FALSE, input is available          |
|             and can be read */                                                    |
|          if (wait_flag==FALSE) {                                                  |
|            res = read(fd,buf,255);                                                |
|            buf[res]=0;                                                            |
|            printf(":%s:%d\n", buf, res);                                          |
|            if (res==1) STOP=TRUE; /* stop loop if only a CR was input */          |
|            wait_flag = TRUE;      /* wait for new input */                        |
|          }                                                                        |
|        }                                                                          |
|        /* restore old port settings */                                            |
|        tcsetattr(fd,TCSANOW,&oldtio);                                             |
|      }                                                                            |
|                                                                                   |
|      /*************************************************************************** |
|      * signal handler. sets wait_flag to FALSE, to indicate above loop that     * |
|      * characters have been received.                                           * |
|      ***************************************************************************/ |
|                                                                                   |
|      void signal_handler_IO (int status)                                          |
|      {                                                                            |
|        printf("received SIGIO signal.\n");                                        |
|        wait_flag = FALSE;                                                         |
|      }                                                                            |
|                                                                                   |
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.4. Waiting for Input from Multiple Sources

This section is kept to a minimum. It is just intended to be a hint, and
therefore the example code is kept short. This will not only work with serial
ports, but with any set of file descriptors.

The select call and accompanying macros use a fd_set. This is a bit array,
which has a bit entry for every valid file descriptor number. select will
accept a fd_set with the bits set for the relevant file descriptors and
returns a fd_set, in which the bits for the file descriptors are set where
input, output, or an exception occurred. All handling of fd_set is done with
the provided macros. See also the manual page select(2).

 
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|      #include <sys/time.h>                                                |
|      #include <sys/types.h>                                               |
|      #include <unistd.h>                                                  |
|                                                                           |
|      main()                                                               |
|      {                                                                    |
|        int    fd1, fd2;  /* input sources 1 and 2 */                      |
|        fd_set readfs;    /* file descriptor set */                        |
|        int    maxfd;     /* maximum file desciptor used */                |
|        int    loop=1;    /* loop while TRUE */                            |
|                                                                           |
|        /* open_input_source opens a device, sets the port correctly, and  |
|           returns a file descriptor */                                    |
|        fd1 = open_input_source("/dev/ttyS1");   /* COM2 */                |
|        if (fd1<0) exit(0);                                                |
|        fd2 = open_input_source("/dev/ttyS2");   /* COM3 */                |
|        if (fd2<0) exit(0);                                                |
|        maxfd = MAX (fd1, fd2)+1;  /* maximum bit entry (fd) to test */    |
|                                                                           |
|        /* loop for input */                                               |
|        while (loop) {                                                     |
|          FD_SET(fd1, &readfs);  /* set testing for source 1 */            |
|          FD_SET(fd2, &readfs);  /* set testing for source 2 */            |
|          /* block until input becomes available */                        |
|          select(maxfd, &readfs, NULL, NULL, NULL);                        |
|          if (FD_ISSET(fd1))         /* input from source 1 available */   |
|            handle_input_from_source1();                                   |
|          if (FD_ISSET(fd2))         /* input from source 2 available */   |
|            handle_input_from_source2();                                   |
|        }                                                                  |
|      }                                                                    |
|                                                                           |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+

The given example blocks indefinitely, until input from one of the sources
becomes available. If you need to timeout on input, just replace the select
call by:
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|        int res;                                                            |
|        struct timeval Timeout;                                             |
|                                                                            |
|        /* set timeout value within input loop */                           |
|        Timeout.tv_usec = 0;  /* milliseconds */                            |
|        Timeout.tv_sec  = 1;  /* seconds */                                 |
|        res = select(maxfd, &readfs, NULL, NULL, &Timeout);                 |
|        if (res==0)                                                         |
|        /* number of file descriptors with input = 0, timeout occurred. */  |
|                                                                            |
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

This example will timeout after 1 second. If a timeout occurs, select will
return 0, but beware that Timeout is decremented by the time actually waited
for input by select. If the timeout value is zero, select will return
immediatly.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Other Sources of Information

 

  * The Linux Serial-HOWTO describes how to set up serial ports and contains
    hardware information.
   
  * [http://www.easysw.com/~mike/serial] Serial Programming Guide for POSIX
    Compliant Operating Systems, by Michael Sweet.
   
  * The manual page termios(3) describes all flags for the termios structure.