12.19. Use POSIX Standards

FreeBSD ports generally expect POSIX compliance. Some software and build systems make assumptions based on a particular operating system or environment that can cause problems when used in a port.

Do not use /proc if there are any other ways of getting the information. For example, setprogname(argv[0]) in main() and then getprogname(3) to know the executable name.

Do not rely on behavior that is undocumented by POSIX.

Do not record timestamps in the critical path of the application if it also works without. Getting timestamps may be slow, depending on the accuracy of timestamps in the OS. If timestamps are really needed, determine how precise they have to be and use an API which is documented to just deliver the needed precision.

A number of simple syscalls (for example gettimeofday(2), getpid(2)) are much faster on Linux® than on any other operating system due to caching and the vsyscall performance optimizations. Do not rely on them being cheap in performance-critical applications. In general, try hard to avoid syscalls if possible.

Do not rely on Linux®-specific socket behavior. In particular, default socket buffer sizes are different (call setsockopt(2) with SO_SNDBUF and SO_RCVBUF, and while Linux®'s send(2) blocks when the socket buffer is full, FreeBSD's will fail and set ENOBUFS in errno.

If relying on non-standard behavior is required, encapsulate it properly into a generic API, do a check for the behavior in the configure stage, and stop if it is missing.

Check the man pages to see if the function used is a POSIX interface (in the STANDARDS section of the man page).

Do not assume that /bin/sh is bash. Ensure that a command line passed to system(3) will work with a POSIX compliant shell.

A list of common bashisms is available here.

Check that headers are included in the POSIX or man page recommended way. For example, sys/types.h is often forgotten, which is not as much of a problem for Linux® as it is for FreeBSD.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
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