timeval.3bsd - Man Page

time structures


library “libbsd”


#include <sys/time.h> (See libbsd(7) for include usage.)
TIMEVAL_TO_TIMESPEC(struct timeval *tv, struct timespec *ts);

TIMESPEC_TO_TIMEVAL(struct timeval *tv, struct timespec *ts);


The <sys/time.h> header, included by <time.h>, defines various structures related to time and timers.

  1. The following structure is used by gettimeofday(2), among others:

    struct timeval {
    	time_t		tv_sec;
    	suseconds_t	tv_usec;

    The tv_sec member represents the elapsed time, in whole seconds. The tv_usec member captures rest of the elapsed time, represented as the number of microseconds.

  2. The following structure is used by nanosleep(2), among others:

    struct timespec {
    	time_t		tv_sec;
    	long		tv_nsec;

    The tv_sec member is again the elapsed time in whole seconds. The tv_nsec member represents the rest of the elapsed time in nanoseconds.

    A microsecond is equal to one millionth of a second, 1000 nanoseconds, or 1/1000 milliseconds. To ease the conversions, the macros TIMEVAL_TO_TIMESPEC() and TIMESPEC_TO_TIMEVAL() can be used to convert between struct timeval and struct timespec.


It can be stressed that the traditional UNIX timeval and timespec structures represent elapsed time, measured by the system clock. The following sketch implements a function suitable for use in a context where the timespec structure is required for a conditional timeout:

static void
example(struct timespec *spec, time_t minutes)
	struct timeval elapsed;

	(void)gettimeofday(&elapsed, NULL);

	TIMEVAL_TO_TIMESPEC(&elapsed, spec);

	/* Add the offset for timeout in minutes. */
	spec->tv_sec = spec->tv_sec + minutes * 60;

A better alternative would use the more precise clock_gettime(2).

See Also


Referenced By

The man pages TIMESPEC_TO_TIMEVAL.3bsd(3) and TIMEVAL_TO_TIMESPEC.3bsd(3) are aliases of timeval.3bsd(3).

April 12, 2011