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pcap_get_selectable_fd - get a file descriptor on which a select() can
be done for a live capture
int pcap_get_selectable_fd(pcap_t *p);
pcap_get_selectable_fd() returns, on UNIX, a file descriptor number for
a file descriptor on which one can do a select(), poll(), or other such
call to wait for it to be possible to read packets without blocking, if
such a descriptor exists, or -1, if no such descriptor exists. Some
network devices opened with pcap_create() and pcap_activate(), or with
pcap_open_live(), do not support select() or poll() (for example, regu-
lar network devices on FreeBSD 4.3 and 4.4, and Endace DAG devices), so
-1 is returned for those devices.
Note that a descriptor on which a read can be done without blocking
may, on some platforms, not have any packets to read if the read time-
out has expired. A call to pcap_dispatch() will return 0 in this case,
but will not block.
Note that in:
FreeBSD prior to FreeBSD 4.6;
NetBSD prior to NetBSD 3.0;
OpenBSD prior to OpenBSD 2.4;
Mac OS X prior to Mac OS X 10.7;
select() and poll() do not work correctly on BPF devices;
pcap_get_selectable_fd() will return a file descriptor on most of those
versions (the exceptions being FreeBSD 4.3 and 4.4), but a simple
select() or poll() will not indicate that the descriptor is readable
until a full buffer's worth of packets is received, even if the read
timeout expires before then. To work around this, an application that
uses select() or poll() to wait for packets to arrive must put the
pcap_t in non-blocking mode, and must arrange that the select() or
poll() have a timeout less than or equal to the read timeout, and must
try to read packets after that timeout expires, regardless of whether
select() or poll() indicated that the file descriptor for the pcap_t is
ready to be read or not. (That workaround will not work in FreeBSD 4.3
and later; however, in FreeBSD 4.6 and later, select() and poll() work
correctly on BPF devices, so the workaround isn't necessary, although
it does no harm.)
Note also that poll() doesn't work on character special files, includ-
ing BPF devices, in Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5, so, while select() can be
used on the descriptor returned by pcap_get_selectable_fd(), poll()
cannot be used on it those versions of Mac OS X. Kqueues also don't
work on that descriptor. poll(), but not kqueues, work on that
descriptor in Mac OS X releases prior to 10.4; poll() and kqueues work
on that descriptor in Mac OS X 10.6 and later.
pcap_get_selectable_fd() is not available on Windows.
A selectable file descriptor is returned if one exists; otherwise, -1
pcap(3), select(2), poll(2)
18 October 2014 PCAP_GET_SELECTABLE_FD(3)