RANDOM(3) | Library Functions Manual | RANDOM(3) |

`random`

,
`srandom`

,
`srandom_deterministic`

,
`srandomdev`

,
`initstate`

,
`setstate`

—
pseudo-random number generator; routines for changing
generators

```
#include
<stdlib.h>
```

`random`

(`srandom`

(`srandom_deterministic`

(`srandomdev`

(`initstate`

(`setstate`

(Standards insist that this interface return deterministic
results. Unsafe usage is very common, so OpenBSD
changed the subsystem to return non-deterministic results by default.

To satisfy portable code, `srandom`

() or
`srandomdev`

() may be called to initialize
the subsystem. In OpenBSD the
`srandom_deterministic`

() can be substituted
for `srandom`

(), then subsequent
`random`

() calls will return results using
the deterministic algorithm.
In non-deterministic (default) mode, the
`random`

() function returns results from
arc4random(3) in the range
from 0 to (2**31)-1.
In deterministic mode, the `random`

() function
uses a non-linear additive feedback random number generator employing a
default table of size 31 long integers to return successive pseudo-random
numbers in the range from 0 to (2**31)-1. The period of this random number
generator is very large, approximately 16*((2**31)-1), but the results are a
deterministic sequence from the seed.
The `initstate`

() routine allows a state array,
passed in as an argument, to be initialized for future use. The size of the
state array (in bytes) is used by
`initstate`

() to decide how sophisticated a
random number generator it should use — the more state, the better the
random numbers will be. (Current "optimal" values for the amount of
state information are 8, 32, 64, 128, and 256 bytes; other amounts will be
rounded down to the nearest known amount. Using less than 8 bytes will cause
an error.) The seed for the initialization (which specifies a starting point
for the random number sequence, and provides for restarting at the same point)
is also an argument. The `initstate`

()
function returns a pointer to the previous state information array.
Once a state has been initialized, the
`setstate`

() routine provides for rapid
switching between states. The `setstate`

()
function returns a pointer to the previous state array; its argument state
array is used for further random number generation until the next call to
`initstate`

() or
`setstate`

().
Once a state array has been initialized, it may be restarted at a different
point either by calling `initstate`

() (with
the desired seed, the state array, and its size) or by calling both
`setstate`

() (with the state array) and
`srandom`

() (with the desired seed). The
advantage of calling both `setstate`

() and
`srandom`

() is that the size of the state
array does not have to be remembered after it is initialized.
Use of `srandom_deterministic`

(),
`initstate`

(), or
`setstate`

() forces the subsystem into
deterministic mode.
`initstate`

() is called with less than 8
bytes of state information, or if
`setstate`

() detects that the state
information has been garbled, error messages are printed on the standard error
output.
`random`

(),
`initstate`

(), and
`setstate`

() functions conform to
X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4,
Version 2 (“XPG4.2”).
The `srandom`

() function does not conform to
X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4,
Version 2 (“XPG4.2”), intentionally.
The `srandomdev`

() function is an extension.
The `srandom_deterministic`

() function is an
OpenBSD extension.
December 9, 2014 | OpenBSD-current |