In noncanonical input mode, the special editing characters such as
ERASE and KILL are ignored. The system facilities for the user to edit
input are disabled in noncanonical mode, so that all input characters
(unless they are special for signal or flow-control purposes) are passed
to the application program exactly as typed. It is up to the
application program to give the user ways to edit the input, if
Noncanonical mode offers special parameters called MIN and TIME for
controlling whether and how long to wait for input to be available. You
can even use them to avoid ever waiting—to return immediately with
whatever input is available, or with no input.
The MIN and TIME are stored in elements of the c_cc array, which
is a member of the struct termios structure. Each element of
this array has a particular role, and each element has a symbolic
constant that stands for the index of that element. VMIN and
VMAX are the names for the indices in the array of the MIN and
— Macro: int VMIN
This is the subscript for the MIN slot in the c_cc array. Thus,
termios.c_cc[VMIN] is the value itself.
The MIN slot is only meaningful in noncanonical input mode; it
specifies the minimum number of bytes that must be available in the
input queue in order for read to return.
— Macro: int VTIME
This is the subscript for the TIME slot in the c_cc array. Thus,
termios.c_cc[VTIME] is the value itself.
The TIME slot is only meaningful in noncanonical input mode; it
specifies how long to wait for input before returning, in units of 0.1
The MIN and TIME values interact to determine the criterion for when
read should return; their precise meanings depend on which of
them are nonzero. There are four possible cases:
Both TIME and MIN are nonzero.
In this case, TIME specifies how long to wait after each input character
to see if more input arrives. After the first character received,
read keeps waiting until either MIN bytes have arrived in all, or
TIME elapses with no further input.
read always blocks until the first character arrives, even if
TIME elapses first. read can return more than MIN characters if
more than MIN happen to be in the queue.
Both MIN and TIME are zero.
In this case, read always returns immediately with as many
characters as are available in the queue, up to the number requested.
If no input is immediately available, read returns a value of
MIN is zero but TIME has a nonzero value.
In this case, read waits for time TIME for input to become
available; the availability of a single byte is enough to satisfy the
read request and cause read to return. When it returns, it
returns as many characters as are available, up to the number requested.
If no input is available before the timer expires, read returns a
value of zero.
TIME is zero but MIN has a nonzero value.
In this case, read waits until at least MIN bytes are available
in the queue. At that time, read returns as many characters as
are available, up to the number requested. read can return more
than MIN characters if more than MIN happen to be in the queue.
What happens if MIN is 50 and you ask to read just 10 bytes?
Normally, read waits until there are 50 bytes in the buffer (or,
more generally, the wait condition described above is satisfied), and
then reads 10 of them, leaving the other 40 buffered in the operating
system for a subsequent call to read.
Portability note: On some systems, the MIN and TIME slots are
actually the same as the EOF and EOL slots. This causes no serious
problem because the MIN and TIME slots are used only in noncanonical
input and the EOF and EOL slots are used only in canonical input, but it
isn't very clean. The GNU library allocates separate slots for these
— Function: int cfmakeraw (struct termios *termios-p)
This function provides an easy way to set up *termios-p for
what has traditionally been called “raw mode” in BSD. This uses
noncanonical input, and turns off most processing to give an unmodified
channel to the terminal.