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The GNU C Library

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16. Sockets

This chapter describes the GNU facilities for interprocess communication using sockets.

A socket is a generalized interprocess communication channel. Like a pipe, a socket is represented as a file descriptor. Unlike pipes sockets support communication between unrelated processes, and even between processes running on different machines that communicate over a network. Sockets are the primary means of communicating with other machines; telnet, rlogin, ftp, talk and the other familiar network programs use sockets.

Not all operating systems support sockets. In the GNU library, the header file `sys/socket.h' exists regardless of the operating system, and the socket functions always exist, but if the system does not really support sockets these functions always fail.

Incomplete: We do not currently document the facilities for broadcast messages or for configuring Internet interfaces. The reentrant functions and some newer functions that are related to IPv6 aren't documented either so far.

16.1 Socket Concepts  Basic concepts you need to know about.
16.2 Communication Styles  Stream communication, datagrams and other styles.
16.3 Socket Addresses  How socket names ("addresses") work.
16.4 Interface Naming  Identifying specific network interfaces.
16.5 The Local Namespace  Details about the local namespace.
16.6 The Internet Namespace  Details about the Internet namespace.
16.7 Other Namespaces  Other namespaces not documented fully here.
16.8 Opening and Closing Sockets  Creating sockets and destroying them.
16.9 Using Sockets with Connections  Operations on sockets with connection state.
16.10 Datagram Socket Operations  Operations on datagram sockets.
16.11 The inetd Daemon  Inetd is a daemon that starts servers on request. The most convenient way to write a server is to make it work with Inetd.
16.12 Socket Options  Miscellaneous low-level socket options.
16.13 Networks Database  Accessing the database of network names.

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