RFR 9: 8087286 Need a way to handle control-C and possibly some other signals

David Holmes david.holmes at oracle.com
Wed Feb 3 03:05:49 UTC 2016

On 3/02/2016 8:08 AM, Stuart Marks wrote:
> Hi Roger,
> It will be good to get this into the JDK. Lots of people have been
> asking for this.

I think this API is a big mistake. The primary usecase seems to be 
control-C interception for utilities like jshell. Adding a general 
purpose signal raising and handling mechanism to the JDK does not seem 
like a good solution to me. While you would need to use signal 
management under the covers I think it would be much cleaner to expose 
an API that actually captures what it is you want here: a mechanism to 
manage "interrupt" and "terminate" events at the VM level, in a clean 
cross-platform way.

Aside: If you want to see some prior art in this area look at 
PosixSignalHandler API in the Real-Time Specification for Java.

Which reminds me - do you propose to support the POSIX real-time signals?


> I have a few comments on the API.
> 1) Is there a way to query the set of signals supported? This might be a
> Set<String> returned by a static method, for example. I agree that
> signal strings outside this set shouldn't be supported.
> 2) The Signal class spec mentions SIGINT, SIGHUP, and SIGTERM
> explicitly. Are these required to be implemented on all platforms, or
> just on "unix-like" platforms, are they just examples? What signals are
> available on Windows?
> 3) raise() is spec'd to throw an exception if there's no handler
> registered. But wouldn't it make sense to allow it if the default
> handler is registered?
> 4) In an earlier message you said that the Signal object is a
> capability, so the security check is on getting a reference. It seems to
> me that setting a handler is in a different category from raising a
> signal; this suggests to me that using the same object as a capability
> for both should be rethought.
> 5) I don't understand the asymmetry between register() and unregister().
> Your earlier exchanges with Chris and with Gerard touched on this,
> specifically, the requirement that the caller pass unregister() a
> reference to the old handler in order for unregistration to work. You
> had said this was safer, if there are uncoordinated pieces of code
> attempting to set/unset signal handlers.
> It looks to me like this API is really about maintaining process global
> state consisting of a single handler -- user-specified or default -- for
> each supported signal. (I agree that it shouldn't try to have a stack or
> a chain of handlers.) There are a few other things that are global like
> this, such as the security manager and policy, System.setIn/Out/Err, and
> so forth. As such, uncoordinated access to the signal API is pretty much
> broken no matter what. Thus I don't think it makes sense to have a
> CAS-like protocol for unregistering a handler, to protect against the
> case where "somebody else" might have registered a handler different
> from yours.
> Something like this might make sense:
>      void register(Consumer<Signal> handler);
>      void unregister();
> The register() call would be pretty much as currently specified; the
> unregister() call would restore the default handler. Alternatively,
> register(null) could be used instead of unregister(), but this is quite
> minor.
> Thanks,
> s'marks
> On 2/1/16 8:02 AM, Roger Riggs wrote:
>> Please review an API addition to handle signals such as SIGINT,
>> SIGHUP, and
>> This JEP 260 motivated alternative to sun.misc.Signal supports the use
>> case for
>> interactive applications that need to handle Control-C and other signals.
>> The new java.util.Signal class provides a settable primary signal
>> handler and a
>> default
>> signal handler.  The primary signal handler can be unregistered and
>> handling is
>> restored
>> to the default signal handler.  System initialization registers
>> default signal
>> handlers
>> to terminate on SIGINT, SIGHUP, and SIGTERM.  Use of the Signal API
>> requires
>> a permission if a SecurityManager is set.
>> The sun.misc.Signal implementation is modified to be layered on a common
>> thread and dispatch mechanism. The VM handling of native signals is
>> not affected.
>> The command option to reduce signal use by the runtime with -Xrs is
>> unmodified.
>> The changes to hotspot are minimal to rename the hardcoded callback to
>> the Java
>> Signal dispatcher.
>> Please review and comment on the API and implementation.
>> javadoc:
>>    http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~rriggs/signal-doc/
>> Webrev:
>> jdk:  http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~rriggs/webrev-signal-8087286/
>> hotspot: http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~rriggs/webrev-hs-signal-8087286/
>> Issue:
>>     https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8087286
>> JEP 260:
>>    https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8132928
>> Thanks, Roger

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