Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (7)
The POSIX shared memory API allows processes to communicate information by sharing a region of memory.
The interfaces employed in the API are:
- Create and open a new object, or open an existing object. This is analogous to open?(2). The call returns a file descriptor for use by the other interfaces listed below.:
- Set the size of the shared memory object. (A newly created shared memory object has a length of zero.):
- Map the shared memory object into the virtual address space of the calling process.:
- Unmap the shared memory object from the virtual address space of the calling process.:
- Remove a shared memory object name.:
- Close the file descriptor allocated by shm_open?(3) when it is no longer needed.:
- Obtain a stat structure that describes the shared memory object. Among the information returned by this call are the object's size (st_size), permissions (st_mode), owner (st_uid), and group (st_gid).:
- To change the ownership of a shared memory object.:
- To change the permissions of a shared memory object.:
POSIX shared memory objects have kernel persistence: a shared memory object will exist until the system is shut down, or until all processes have unmapped the object and it has been deleted with shm_unlink?(3)
Accessing shared memory objects via the filesystem
On Linux, shared memory objects are created in a (tmpfs) virtual filesystem, normally mounted under /dev/shm. Since kernel 2.6.19, Linux supports the use of access control lists (ACLs) to control the permissions of objects in the virtual filesystem.
Typically, processes must synchronize their access to a shared memory object, using, for example, POSIX semaphores.
System V shared memory (shmget?(2), shmop?(2), etc.) is an older shared memory API. POSIX shared memory provides a simpler, and better designed interface; on the other hand POSIX shared memory is somewhat less widely available (especially on older systems) than System V shared memory.
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