OPEN(2)                    Linux Programmer's Manual                   OPEN(2)
       open, creat - open and possibly create a file or device

       #include <sys/types.h>
       #include <sys/stat.h>
       #include <fcntl.h>

       int open(const char *pathname, int flags);
       int open(const char *pathname, int flags, mode_t mode);
       int creat(const char *pathname, mode_t mode);

       Given a pathname for a file, open() returns a file descriptor, a small,
       non-negative integer for  use  in  subsequent  system  calls  (read(2),
       write(2), lseek(2), fcntl(2), etc.).  The file descriptor returned by a
       successful call will be the lowest-numbered file  descriptor  not  cur-
       rently open for the process.

       The  new  file  descriptor  is  set  to remain open across an execve(2)
       (i.e., the FD_CLOEXEC file descriptor flag  described  in  fcntl(2)  is
       initially  disabled).   The  file offset is set to the beginning of the
       file (see lseek(2)).

       A call to open() creates a new open file description, an entry  in  the
       system-wide  table  of  open files.  This entry records the file offset
       and the file status flags (modifiable via the  fcntl()  F_SETFL  opera-
       tion).   A file descriptor is a reference to one of these entries; this
       reference is unaffected if pathname is subsequently removed or modified
       to  refer  to  a different file.  The new open file description is ini-
       tially not shared with any other process, but  sharing  may  arise  via

       The  parameter  flags  must  include one of the following access modes:
       O_RDONLY, O_WRONLY, or O_RDWR.  These request opening  the  file  read-
       only, write-only, or read/write, respectively.

       In addition, zero or more file creation flags and file status flags can
       be bitwise-or'd in flags.  The file creation flags are O_CREAT, O_EXCL,
       O_NOCTTY,  and O_TRUNC.  The file status flags are all of the remaining
       flags listed below.  The distinction between these two groups of  flags
       is that the file status flags can be retrieved and (in some cases) mod-
       ified using fcntl(2).  The full list of file creation  flags  and  file
       status flags is as follows:

              The file is opened in append mode. Before each write(), the file
              offset is positioned at the end of the file, as if with lseek().
              O_APPEND may lead to corrupted files on NFS file systems if more
              than one process appends data  to  a  file  at  once.   This  is
              because  NFS does not support appending to a file, so the client
              kernel has to simulate it, which can't be done  without  a  race

              Enable  signal-driven  I/O: generate a signal (SIGIO by default,
              but this can be changed  via  fcntl(2))  when  input  or  output
              becomes  possible on this file descriptor.  This feature is only
              available for terminals, pseudo-terminals, sockets,  and  (since
              Linux 2.6) pipes and FIFOs.  See fcntl(2) for further details.

              If  the file does not exist it will be created.  The owner (user
              ID) of the file is set to the effective user ID of the  process.
              The  group  ownership  (group ID) is set either to the effective
              group ID of the process or to the group ID of the parent  direc-
              tory  (depending  on  filesystem type and mount options, and the
              mode of the parent directory, see, e.g., the mount options  bsd-
              groups  and  sysvgroups  of the ext2 filesystem, as described in

              Try to minimize cache effects of the I/O to and from this  file.
              In  general  this  will degrade performance, but it is useful in
              special situations, such  as  when  applications  do  their  own
              caching.   File I/O is done directly to/from user space buffers.
              The I/O is synchronous, i.e., at the completion of a read(2)  or
              write(2),  data  is  guaranteed to have been transferred.  Under
              Linux 2.4 transfer sizes, and the alignment of user  buffer  and
              file  offset  must all be multiples of the logical block size of
              the file system. Under Linux 2.6 alignment must  fit  the  block
              size of the device.

              A  semantically  similar  (but  deprecated)  interface for block
              devices is described in raw(8).

              If pathname is not a directory, cause the open  to  fail.   This
              flag is Linux-specific, and was added in kernel version 2.1.126,
              to avoid denial-of-service problems if opendir(3) is called on a
              FIFO  or  tape  device,  but  should  not be used outside of the
              implementation of opendir.

       O_EXCL When used with O_CREAT, if the file  already  exists  it  is  an
              error and the open() will fail. In this context, a symbolic link
              exists, regardless of where it points to.  O_EXCL is  broken  on
              NFS file systems; programs which rely on it for performing lock-
              ing tasks will contain a race condition.  The solution for  per-
              forming  atomic  file  locking  using  a lockfile is to create a
              unique file on the same file system (e.g.,  incorporating  host-
              name  and  pid),  use link(2) to make a link to the lockfile. If
              link() returns  0,  the  lock  is  successful.   Otherwise,  use
              stat(2)  on  the  unique  file  to  check  if its link count has
              increased to 2, in which case the lock is also successful.

              (LFS) Allow files whose sizes cannot be represented in an  off_t
              (but can be represented in an off64_t) to be opened.

              (Since  Linux  2.6.8)  Do  not  update the file last access time
              (st_atime in the inode) when the file is read(2).  This flag  is
              intended  for  use by indexing or backup programs, where its use
              can significantly reduce the amount of disk activity.  This flag
              may  not  be  effective on all filesystems.  One example is NFS,
              where the server maintains the access time.

              If pathname refers to a terminal device -- see tty(4) --  it  will
              not  become  the process's controlling terminal even if the pro-
              cess does not have one.

              If pathname is a symbolic link, then the open fails.  This is  a
              FreeBSD  extension, which was added to Linux in version 2.1.126.
              Symbolic links in earlier components of the pathname will  still
              be followed.

              When  possible, the file is opened in non-blocking mode. Neither
              the open() nor any subsequent operations on the file  descriptor
              which  is  returned will cause the calling process to wait.  For
              the handling of FIFOs (named pipes), see also  fifo(7).   For  a
              discussion  of  the  effect  of  O_NONBLOCK  in conjunction with
              mandatory file locks and with file leases, see fcntl(2).

       O_SYNC The file is opened for synchronous  I/O.  Any  write()s  on  the
              resulting  file  descriptor will block the calling process until
              the data has been physically written to the underlying hardware.
              But see RESTRICTIONS below.

              If  the  file  already exists and is a regular file and the open
              mode allows writing (i.e., is O_RDWR or  O_WRONLY)  it  will  be
              truncated to length 0.  If the file is a FIFO or terminal device
              file, the O_TRUNC flag  is  ignored.  Otherwise  the  effect  of
              O_TRUNC is unspecified.

       Some  of  these  optional  flags can be altered using fcntl() after the
       file has been opened.

       The argument mode specifies the permissions to use in case a  new  file
       is created. It is modified by the process's umask in the usual way: the
       permissions of the created file are (mode & ~umask).   Note  that  this
       mode  only  applies  to  future accesses of the newly created file; the
       open() call that creates a read-only file may well return a  read/write
       file descriptor.

       The following symbolic constants are provided for mode:

              00700 user (file owner) has read, write and execute permission

              00400 user has read permission

              00200 user has write permission

              00100 user has execute permission

              00070 group has read, write and execute permission

              00040 group has read permission

              00020 group has write permission

              00010 group has execute permission

              00007 others have read, write and execute permission

              00004 others have read permission

              00002 others have write permission

              00001 others have execute permission

       mode  must  be  specified  when O_CREAT is in the flags, and is ignored

       creat()   is   equivalent   to   open()    with    flags    equal    to

       open()  and  creat()  return the new file descriptor, or -1 if an error
       occurred (in which case, errno is set appropriately).

       Note that open() can open device special files, but creat() cannot cre-
       ate them; use mknod(2) instead.

       On  NFS file systems with UID mapping enabled, open() may return a file
       descriptor but e.g. read(2) requests are denied with EACCES.   This  is
       because the client performs open() by checking the permissions, but UID
       mapping is performed by the server upon read and write requests.

       If the file is newly created, its st_atime, st_ctime,  st_mtime  fields
       (respectively,  time  of  last  access, time of last status change, and
       time of last modification; see stat(2)) are set to  the  current  time,
       and  so  are  the st_ctime and st_mtime fields of the parent directory.
       Otherwise, if the file is modified because of  the  O_TRUNC  flag,  its
       st_ctime and st_mtime fields are set to the current time.

       EACCES The  requested access to the file is not allowed, or search per-
              mission is denied for one of the directories in the path  prefix
              of  pathname,  or the file did not exist yet and write access to
              the parent directory is not  allowed.   (See  also  path_resolu-

       EEXIST pathname already exists and O_CREAT and O_EXCL were used.

       EFAULT pathname points outside your accessible address space.

       EISDIR pathname refers to a directory and the access requested involved
              writing (that is, O_WRONLY or O_RDWR is set).

       ELOOP  Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving  pathname,
              or O_NOFOLLOW was specified but pathname was a symbolic link.

       EMFILE The process already has the maximum number of files open.

              pathname was too long.

       ENFILE The  system  limit  on  the  total number of open files has been

       ENODEV pathname refers to a device special file  and  no  corresponding
              device  exists.   (This is a Linux kernel bug; in this situation
              ENXIO must be returned.)

       ENOENT O_CREAT is not set and the named file does  not  exist.   Or,  a
              directory  component in pathname does not exist or is a dangling
              symbolic link.

       ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.

       ENOSPC pathname was to be created but the  device  containing  pathname
              has no room for the new file.

              A  component  used as a directory in pathname is not, in fact, a
              directory, or O_DIRECTORY was specified and pathname was  not  a

       ENXIO  O_NONBLOCK  |  O_WRONLY  is set, the named file is a FIFO and no
              process has the file open for reading.  Or, the file is a device
              special file and no corresponding device exists.

              pathname  refers  to a regular file, too large to be opened; see
              O_LARGEFILE above.

       EPERM  The O_NOATIME flag was specified, but the effective user  ID  of
              the  caller  did  not match the owner of the file and the caller
              was not privileged (CAP_FOWNER).

       EROFS  pathname refers to a file on a read-only  filesystem  and  write
              access was requested.

              pathname  refers to an executable image which is currently being
              executed and write access was requested.

              The O_NONBLOCK flag was specified, and an incompatible lease was
              held on the file (see fcntl(2)).

       Under  Linux,  the O_NONBLOCK flag indicates that one wants to open but
       does not necessarily have the intention to read or write.  This is typ-
       ically  used  to open devices in order to get a file descriptor for use
       with ioctl(2).

       SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001.  The O_NOATIME, O_NOFOLLOW, and O_DIRECTORY
       flags are Linux-specific.  One may have to define the _GNU_SOURCE macro
       to get their definitions.

       The (undefined) effect of O_RDONLY | O_TRUNC varies  among  implementa-
       tions. On many systems the file is actually truncated.

       The  O_DIRECT  flag  was introduced in SGI IRIX, where it has alignment
       restrictions similar to those of Linux 2.4.  IRIX has also  a  fcntl(2)
       call  to  query appropriate alignments, and sizes.   FreeBSD 4.x intro-
       duced a flag of same name, but without alignment restrictions.  Support
       was  added  under  Linux in kernel version 2.4.10.  Older Linux kernels
       simply ignore this flag.  One may have to define the _GNU_SOURCE  macro
       to get its definition.

       "The  thing  that  has  always  disturbed me about O_DIRECT is that the
       whole interface is just stupid, and was probably designed by a deranged
       monkey on some serious mind-controlling substances." -- Linus

       Currently, it is not possible to enable signal-driven I/O by specifying
       O_ASYNC when calling open(); use fcntl(2) to enable this flag.

       There are many infelicities in the protocol underlying  NFS,  affecting
       amongst others O_SYNC and O_NDELAY.

       POSIX provides for three different variants of synchronised I/O, corre-
       sponding to the flags O_SYNC, O_DSYNC and O_RSYNC.  Currently (2.1.130)
       these are all synonymous under Linux.

       close(2),  dup(2),  fcntl(2),  link(2),  lseek(2),  mknod(2), mount(2),
       mmap(2), openat(2), path_resolution(2),  read(2),  socket(2),  stat(2),
       umask(2),     unlink(2),     write(2),    fopen(3),    fifo(7),    fea-

Linux 2.6.12                      2005-06-22                           OPEN(2)