fcntl - manipulate file descriptor
int fcntl(int fd, int cmd);
int fcntl(int fd, int cmd, long arg);
int fcntl(int fd, int cmd, struct flock * lock);
fcntl performs one of various miscellaneous operations on
fd. The operation in question is determined by cmd:
F_DUPFD Find the lowest numbered available file descrip
tor greater than or equal to arg and make it be a
copy of fd. This is different form dup2(2) which
uses exactly the descriptor specified.
The old and new descriptors may be used inter
changeably. They share locks, file position
pointers and flags; for example, if the file
position is modified by using lseek on one of the
descriptors, the position is also changed for the
The two descriptors do not share the close-on-
exec flag, however. The close-on-exec flag of
the copy is off, meaning that it will not be
closed on exec.
On success, the new descriptor is returned.
F_GETFD Read the close-on-exec flag. If the FD_CLOEXEC
bit is 0, the file will remain open across exec,
otherwise it will be closed.
F_SETFD Set the close-on-exec flag to the value specified
by the FD_CLOEXEC bit of arg.
F_GETFL Read the descriptor's flags (all flags (as set by
open(2)) are returned).
F_SETFL Set the descriptor's flags to the value specified
by arg. Only O_APPEND, O_NONBLOCK and O_ASYNC
may be set; the other flags are unaffected.
The flags are shared between copies (made with
dup(2), fork(2), etc.) of the same file descrip
The flags and their semantics are described in
tionary file locks. The third argument lock is a pointer
to a struct flock (that may be overwritten by this call).
Return the flock structure that prevents us from
obtaining the lock, or set the l_type field of the
lock to F_UNLCK if there is no obstruction.
The lock is set (when l_type is F_RDLCK or F_WRLCK)
or cleared (when it is F_UNLCK). If the lock is
held by someone else, this call returns -1 and sets
errno to EACCES or EAGAIN.
Like F_SETLK, but instead of returning an error we
wait for the lock to be released. If a signal that
is to be caught is received while fcntl is waiting,
it is interrupted and (after the signal handler has
returned) returns immediately (with return value -1
and errno set to EINTR).
F_GETOWN, F_SETOWN, F_GETSIG and F_SETSIG are used to man
age I/O availability signals:
Get the process ID or process group currently
receiving SIGIO and SIGURG signals for events on
file descriptor fd. Process groups are returned as
Set the process ID or process group that will
receive SIGIO and SIGURG signals for events on file
descriptor fd. Process groups are specified using
negative values. (F_SETSIG can be used to specify
a different signal instead of SIGIO).
If you set the O_ASYNC status flag on a file
descriptor (either by providing this flag with the
open(2) call, or by using the F_SETFL command of
fcntl), a SIGIO signal is sent whenever input or
output becomes possible on that file descriptor.
The process or process group to receive the signal
can be selected by using the F_SETOWN command to
the fcntl function. If the file descriptor is a
socket, this also selects the recipient of SIGURG
signals that are delivered when out-of-band data
arrives on that socket. (SIGURG is sent in any
situation where select(2) would report the socket
as having an "exceptional condition".) If the file
group of the terminal.
Get the signal sent when input or output becomes
possible. A value of zero means SIGIO is sent.
Any other value (including SIGIO) is the signal
sent instead, and in this case additional info is
available to the signal handler if installed with
Sets the signal sent when input or output becomes
possible. A value of zero means to send the
default SIGIO signal. Any other value (including
SIGIO) is the signal to send instead, and in this
case additional info is available to the signal
handler if installed with SA_SIGINFO.
By using F_SETSIG with a non-zero value, and set
ting SA_SIGINFO for the signal handler (see sigac
tion(2)), extra information about I/O events is
passed to the handler in a siginfo_t structure. If
the si_code field indicates the source is SI_SIGIO,
the si_fd field gives the file descriptor associ
ated with the event. Otherwise, there is no indi
cation which file descriptors are pending, and you
should use the usual mechanisms (select(2),
poll(2), read(2) with O_NONBLOCK set etc.) to
determine which file descriptors are available for
By selecting a POSIX.1b real time signal (value >=
SIGRTMIN), multiple I/O events may be queued using
the same signal numbers. (Queuing is dependent on
available memory). Extra information is available
if SA_SIGINFO is set for the signal handler, as
Using these mechanisms, a program can implement fully
asynchronous I/O without using select(2) or poll(2) most
of the time.
The use of O_ASYNC, F_GETOWN, F_SETOWN is specific to BSD
and Linux. F_GETSIG and F_SETSIG are Linux-specific.
POSIX has asynchronous I/O and the aio_sigevent structure
to achieve similar things; these are also available in
Linux as part of the GNU C Library (Glibc).
For a successful call, the return value depends on the
F_GETFL Value of flags.
F_GETOWN Value of descriptor owner.
F_GETSIG Value of signal sent when read or write becomes
possible, or zero for traditional SIGIO
All other commands
On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.
EACCES Operation is prohibited by locks held by other
EAGAIN Operation is prohibited because the file has been
memory-mapped by another process.
EBADF fd is not an open file descriptor.
EDEADLK It was detected that the specified F_SETLKW com
mand would cause a deadlock.
EFAULT lock is outside your accessible address space.
EINTR For F_SETLKW, the command was interrupted by a
signal. For F_GETLK and F_SETLK, the command was
interrupted by a signal before the lock was
checked or acquired. Most likely when locking a
remote file (e.g. locking over NFS), but can
sometimes happen locally.
EINVAL For F_DUPFD, arg is negative or is greater than
the maximum allowable value. For F_SETSIG, arg
is not an allowable signal number.
EMFILE For F_DUPFD, the process already has the maximum
number of file descriptors open.
ENOLCK Too many segment locks open, lock table is full,
or a remote locking protocol failed (e.g. locking
EPERM Attempted to clear the O_APPEND flag on a file
that has the append-only attribute set.
The errors returned by dup2 are different from those
returned by F_DUPFD.
SVr4, SVID, POSIX, X/OPEN, BSD 4.3. Only the operations
F_DUPFD, F_GETFD, F_SETFD, F_GETFL, F_SETFL, F_GETLK,
F_SETLK and F_SETLKW are specified in POSIX.1. F_GETOWN
and F_SETOWN are BSDisms not supported in SVr4; F_GETSIG
and F_SETSIG are specific to Linux. The flags legal for
F_GETFL/F_SETFL are those supported by open(2) and vary
between these systems; O_APPEND, O_NONBLOCK, O_RDONLY, and
O_RDWR are specified in POSIX.1. SVr4 supports several
other options and flags not documented here.
SVr4 documents additional EIO, ENOLINK and EOVERFLOW error
dup2(2), flock(2), open(2), socket(2)