(PHP 4, PHP 5)

sem_acquireAcquire a semaphore


bool sem_acquire ( resource $sem_identifier )

sem_acquire() blocks (if necessary) until the semaphore can be acquired. A process attempting to acquire a semaphore which it has already acquired will block forever if acquiring the semaphore would cause its maximum number of semaphore to be exceeded.

After processing a request, any semaphores acquired by the process but not explicitly released will be released automatically and a warning will be generated.



sem_identifier is a semaphore resource, obtained from sem_get().

Return Values

Returns TRUE on success or FALSE on failure.

See Also

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User Contributed Notes 4 notes

2 years ago
sem_acquire() is blocking, meaning that subsequent calls with the same semaphore will block indefinitely until the semaphore is released. This ensures serialization, but it is not very practical if all you want to do is check if you should proceed or not. Unfortunately, PHP does not yet support any method of querying the state of a semaphore in a non-blocking manner.

It may seem possible to put together such a mechanism by hand, using shared memory (shm_ functions). However, be warned that it is not trivial and ultimately non-productive. You cannot, for example, simply pick a shared mem var, store the semaphore key and query it. Such an operation would be non-transactional and non-atomic ie. it is possible for two or more parallel processes to manage to read "not locked" from the shared mem var before one of them manages to mark it "locked". You would have to use a (blocking) semaphore to serialize access to the shared mem var, thus recreating the very problem you are trying to solve.

In other words, if non-blocking queries are crucial to you, you need to either request that this issue be solved by the PHP designers, or pick another mechanism to do your locking, one that already has this feature.
Sander Backus
1 year ago
Note that when you reset $sem_identifier the semaphore won't block anymore!

This code does NOT work:
    $key     = ftok(__FILE__,'m');
    $a        = sem_get($key);
    $a = false;

while this one does:

    $key     = ftok(__FILE__,'m');
    $a        = sem_get($key);
    //$a = false;

So: use unique var names for your identifier!
arjuna w
3 years ago
In my tests sem_acquire() is 150 times faster than flock()
gladd at trash dot eris dot qinetiq dot com
10 years ago
Just to clarify what is meant by "process" above:

On the Apache webserver, many PHP requests will be executed within the same process space because it is multithreaded. However, any semaphores got and acquired by a script and not released and removed will still be automatically cleaned up by the PHP interpreter each time the script terminates.

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