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As of 2019-03-08, this project will no longer be maintained and will be archived. Thank you to all the contributors and users of libphenom for their work over the years.

If you are looking for a comparable library (albeit in C++) that has many of the same features and more, you should check out the actively-maintained folly library.

The rest of the README is preserved as-is for historical purposes:


libPhenom is an eventing framework for building high performance and high scalability systems in C

System Requirements

libPhenom is known to compile and pass its test suite on:

  • Linux systems with epoll
  • OS X
  • Illumos and Solaris style systems that have port_create(3C).

libPhenom has been known to compile and pass its test suite on these systems, but they have not been tried in a little while, so may require a little bit of TLC:

  • BSDish systems that have the kqueue(2) facility, including FreeBSD 9.1 and OpenBSD 5.2

libPhenom depends on:

  • pkg-config to find dependencies.
  • Concurrency Kit for its excellent concurrency primitives and key data structures. If you are on OS/X, you can brew install concurrencykit. On other platforms, you will You will need to install CK yourself as it is not widely distributed at this time. We expect to be able to find CK using pkg-config.
  • OpenSSL is required; this should be provided by your OS. You will need to install openssl-devel or libssl-dev or a similarly named package.
  • autoconf, automake and libtool are required to build libPhenom

libPhenom works best if built with GCC version 4.3 or later, but should be able to build with any C99 compiler.

Build Status


  • Memory management with counters - record how much of which kinds of memory your application is using.
  • Jobs - decompose your application into portions of work and let the phenom scheduler manage getting them done
  • streaming I/O with buffers
  • Handy data structures (hash tables, lists, queues)
  • Variant data type to enable serialization and deserialization of JSON
  • A printf implementation with registerable object formatting


  • Balance ease of use with performance
  • Aim to be neutral wrt. your choice of threaded or event-based dispatch and work well with both.
  • Where possible, avoid contention points in our implementation so as to avoid limiting scalability with the number of cores in the system.

How to use these docs

If you're reading these on, simply start typing and the search box will suggest topics. You may select topics from the Topics menu or browse the header files via the Headers menu.

Getting it

You can obtain the sources from

$ git clone

or grab a snapshot of master


$ ./
$ ./configure
$ make
$ make check
$ sudo make install

Quick Start for using the library

You'll want to set up the main loop using something like this:

// Always include phenom/defs.h first to correctly set up the compilation env
#include "phenom/defs.h"
#include "phenom/configuration.h"
#include "phenom/job.h"
#include "phenom/log.h"
#include "phenom/sysutil.h"

int main(int argc, char **argv)
  // Must be called prior to calling any other phenom functions
  // Optional config file for tuning internals
  // Enable the non-blocking IO manager

  // Do stuff here to register client/server stuff.
  // This enables a very simple request/response console
  // that allows you to run diagnostic commands:
  // `echo memory | nc -UC /tmp/phenom-debug-console`
  // (on BSD systems, use `nc -Uc`!)
  // The code behind this is in

  // Run

  return 0;

And compile it using something like this: (you need optimization enabled)

$ gcc -O2 main.c `pkg-config libphenom --cflags --libs`

(this will link against libphenom).

A more detailed example can be found at

Want more inspiration? Take a look at the code in the test suite.


We're still hacking and evolving this library, so there may be some rough edges. We're very open to feedback; check out the Contributing section below.

Getting Help

We've started an IRC channel for realtime conversations; join us in #phenom @ freenode


If you're thinking of hacking on libPhenom we'd love to hear from you! Feel free to use the Github issue tracker and pull requests to discuss and submit code changes.

We (Facebook) have to ask for a "Contributor License Agreement" from someone who sends in a patch or code that we want to include in the codebase. This is a legal requirement; a similar situation applies to Apache and other ASF projects.

If we ask you to fill out a CLA we'll direct you to our online CLA page where you can complete it easily. We use the same form as the Apache CLA so that friction is minimal.


libPhenom is made available under the terms of the Apache License 2.0. See the LICENSE file that accompanies this distribution for the full text of the license.


An eventing framework for building high performance and high scalability systems in C.




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