rpcgen - an RPC protocol compiler
rpcgen [-Dname[=value]] [-I [-K seconds]] [-L] [-T] infile
rpcgen -c | -C | -h | -l | -m [-o outfile] [infile]
rpcgen -s transport [-o outfile] [infile]
-c Compiles into routines.
-C Generates header and stub files that can be used with ANSI C compilers.
Headers generated with this option can also be used with C++ compilers.
-D name [= value]
Defines a symbol name. Equivalent to the #define directive in the
source. If no value is given, name is defined as 1. This option may be
called more than once.
-h Compiles into C data-definitions (a header file)
-I Compiles support for inetd(8) in the server side stubs. Such servers
can be self started or can be started by inetd. When the server is
self-started, it backgrounds itself by default. A special define symbol
RPC_SVC_FG can be used to run the server process in foreground, or
alternately the user may just compile it without the -I option. If
there are no pending client requests, the inetd servers exit after 120
seconds (default). The default can be changed with the -K option. All
the error messages for inetd servers are always logged in with sys-
If the server was started by inetd, specifies the time in seconds after
which the server should exit if there is no further activity. This
option is useful for customization. If seconds is 0, the server exits
after serving that given request. If seconds is -1, the server hangs
around for ever after being started by inetd. This option is valid only
with the -I option.
-l Compiles into client-side stubs.
-L When the servers are started in foreground, uses syslog() to log the
server errors instead of printing them on the standard error.
-m Compiles into server-side stubs, but does not generate a main routine.
This option is useful for doing callback-routines and for people who
need to write their own main routine to do initialization. For inetd
support, they should be compiled with the -I option. In such cases, it
defines 2 global variables: _rpcpmstart and _rpcfdtype. The value of
_rpcpmstart should be 1 or 0 depending upon whether it was started by
inetd or not. The value of _rpcfdtype should be SOCK_STREAM or
SOCK_DGRAM depending upon the type of the connection.
Specifies the name of the output file. If none is specified, standard
output is used (-c, -h, -l, -m, -s, and -t modes only).
Compiles into server-side stubs, using the given transport. The sup-
ported transports are udp and tcp. This option may be invoked more than
once to compile a server that serves multiple transports. For inetd
support, they should be compiled with the -I option. -t Compile into
-T Generate the code to support dispatch tables.
The options -c, -h, -l, -m, -s and -t are used exclusively to generate a
particular type of file, while the options -D, -I, -L and -T are global and
can be used with the other options.
The rpcgen compiler is a tool that generates C code to implement an proto-
col. The input to rpcgen is the (Remote Procedure Call) Language, which is
similar to C.
The rpcgen command is normally used as in the first synopsis where it takes
an input file and generates four output files. If the infile is named
proto.x, rpcgen will generate a header file in <<proto.h>>, routines in
proto_xdr.c, server-side stubs in proto_svc.c, and client-side stubs in
The second synopsis provides special features which allow for the creation
of more sophisticated servers. These features include support for dispatch
tables, and user provided #defines. The entries in the dispatch table con-
+ pointers to the service routine corresponding to that procedure
+ a pointer to the input and output arguments
+ the size of these routines
A server can use the dispatch table to check authorization and then to exe-
cute the service routine; a client library may use it to deal with the
details of storage management and data conversion.
The other synopses are used when one wants to generate a particular output
file. Their usage is described in the section below.
The C-preprocessor, cpp(1), is run on all input files before they are actu-
ally interpreted by rpcgen, so all the cpp directives are legal within an
rpcgen input file. For each type of output file, rpcgen defines a special
cpp symbol for use by the rpcgen programmer:
Defined when compiling into header files
Defined when compiling into routines
Defined when compiling into server-side stubs
Defined when compiling into client-side stubs
Defined when compiling into dispatch tables
In addition, rpcgen does a little preprocessing of its own. Any line begin-
ning with `%' is passed directly into the output file, uninterpreted by
You can customize some of your routines by leaving those data types unde-
fined. For every data type that is undefined, rpcgen will assume that
there exists a routine with the name xdr_ prepended to the name of the
Nesting is not supported. However, structures can be declared at top-level,
and their name used inside other structures in order to achieve the same
Name clashes can occur when using program definitions, since the apparent
scoping does not really apply. Most of these can be avoided by giving
unique names for programs, versions, procedures and types.
1. The following example generates all the five files: <<prot.h>>,
prot_clnt.c, prot_svc.c, prot_xdr.c and prot_tbl.i. The server error
messages are logged, instead of being sent to the standard error.
rpcgen -LT prot.x
2. The following example generates <<prot.h>>, prot_clnt.c, prot_xdr.c and
prot_svc.c. The prot_svc.c supports server invocation by inetd. If the
server is started by inetd, the server exits after 20 seconds of inac-
example% rpcgen -I -K 20 prot.x
3. The following example sends the header file (with support for dispatch
tables) on the standard output.
example% rpcgen -hT prot.x
4. The following example sends the server side stubs file for the tran-
sport tcp on the standard output.
example% rpcgen -s tcp prot.x
Commands: cpp(1), inetd(8)