open(2)                                                 System Calls Manual                                                 open(2)

       open, openat, creat - open and possibly create a file

       Standard C library (libc, -lc)

       #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);

       int openat(int dirfd, const char *pathname, int flags);
       int openat(int dirfd, const char *pathname, int flags, mode_t mode);

       /* Documented separately, in openat2(2): */
       int openat2(int dirfd, const char *pathname,
                   const struct open_how *how, size_t size);

   Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

           Since glibc 2.10:
               _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
           Before glibc 2.10:

       The  open()  system  call opens the file specified by pathname.  If the specified file does not exist, it may optionally (if
       O_CREAT is specified in flags) be created by open().

       The return value of open() is a file descriptor, a small, nonnegative integer that is an index to an entry in the  process's
       table  of  open  file descriptors.  The file descriptor is used in subsequent system calls (read(2), write(2), lseek(2), fc‐
       ntl(2), etc.) to refer to the open file.  The file descriptor returned by a successful call will be the lowest-numbered file
       descriptor not currently open for the process.

       By default, the new file descriptor is set to remain open across an execve(2) (i.e., the FD_CLOEXEC file descriptor flag de‐
       scribed in fcntl(2) is initially disabled); the O_CLOEXEC flag, described below, can be used to change  this  default.   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.  The open file de‐
       scription records the file offset and the file status flags (see below).  A file descriptor is a reference to an  open  file
       description; this reference is unaffected if pathname is subsequently removed or modified to refer to a different file.  For
       further details on open file descriptions, see NOTES.

       The argument 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_CLOEXEC, O_CREAT, O_DIRECTORY, O_EXCL, O_NOCTTY, O_NOFOLLOW, O_TMPFILE, 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 creation flags affect
       the semantics of the open operation itself, while the file status flags affect the semantics of subsequent  I/O  operations.
       The file status flags can be retrieved and (in some cases) modified; see fcntl(2) for details.

       The full list of file creation flags and file status flags is as follows:

              The file is opened in append mode.  Before each write(2), the file offset is positioned at the end of the file, as if
              with lseek(2).  The modification of the file offset and the write operation are performed as a single atomic step.

              O_APPEND may lead to corrupted files on NFS filesystems 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 condition.

              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 available only for terminals, pseudoterminals,
              sockets, and (since Linux 2.6) pipes and FIFOs.  See fcntl(2) for further details.  See also BUGS, below.

       O_CLOEXEC (since Linux 2.6.23)
              Enable the close-on-exec flag for the new file descriptor.  Specifying this flag permits a  program  to  avoid  addi‐
              tional fcntl(2) F_SETFD operations to set the FD_CLOEXEC flag.

              Note that the use of this flag is essential in some multithreaded programs, because using a separate fcntl(2) F_SETFD
              operation to set the FD_CLOEXEC flag does not suffice to avoid race conditions where one thread opens a file descrip‐
              tor  and attempts to set its close-on-exec flag using fcntl(2) at the same time as another thread does a fork(2) plus
              execve(2).  Depending on the order of execution, the race may lead to the file descriptor returned  by  open()  being
              unintentionally  leaked  to  the  program executed by the child process created by fork(2).  (This kind of race is in
              principle possible for any system call that creates a file descriptor whose close-on-exec flag  should  be  set,  and
              various other Linux system calls provide an equivalent of the O_CLOEXEC flag to deal with this problem.)

              If pathname does not exist, create it as a regular file.

              The owner (user ID) of the new file is set to the effective user ID of the process.

              The  group  ownership (group ID) of the new file is set either to the effective group ID of the process (System V se‐
              mantics) or to the group ID of the parent directory (BSD semantics).  On Linux, the behavior depends on  whether  the
              set-group-ID mode bit is set on the parent directory: if that bit is set, then BSD semantics apply; otherwise, System
              V semantics apply.  For some filesystems, the behavior also depends on the bsdgroups and sysvgroups mount options de‐
              scribed in mount(8).

              The  mode  argument  specifies  the  file mode bits to be applied when a new file is created.  If neither O_CREAT nor
              O_TMPFILE is specified in flags, then mode is ignored (and can thus be specified as 0, or simply omitted).  The  mode
              argument  must be supplied if O_CREAT or O_TMPFILE is specified in flags; if it is not supplied, some arbitrary bytes
              from the stack will be applied as the file mode.

              The effective mode is modified by the process's umask in the usual way: in the absence of a default ACL, the mode  of
              the created file is (mode & ~umask).

              Note  that  mode  applies only 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:

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

              S_IRUSR  00400 user has read permission

              S_IWUSR  00200 user has write permission

              S_IXUSR  00100 user has execute permission

              S_IRWXG  00070 group has read, write, and execute permission

              S_IRGRP  00040 group has read permission

              S_IWGRP  00020 group has write permission

              S_IXGRP  00010 group has execute permission

              S_IRWXO  00007 others have read, write, and execute permission

              S_IROTH  00004 others have read permission

              S_IWOTH  00002 others have write permission

              S_IXOTH  00001 others have execute permission

              According to POSIX, the effect when other bits are set in mode is unspecified.  On Linux, the following bits are also
              honored in mode:

              S_ISUID  0004000 set-user-ID bit

              S_ISGID  0002000 set-group-ID bit (see inode(7)).

              S_ISVTX  0001000 sticky bit (see inode(7)).

       O_DIRECT (since Linux 2.4.10)
              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 O_DIRECT flag on its own makes an effort to transfer data synchronously, but does not give
              the guarantees of the O_SYNC flag that data and necessary metadata are transferred.  To  guarantee  synchronous  I/O,
              O_SYNC must be used in addition to O_DIRECT.  See NOTES below for further discussion.

              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 was added in Linux 2.1.126, to avoid denial-of-
              service problems if opendir(3) is called on a FIFO or tape device.

              Write operations on the file will complete according to the requirements of synchronized I/O data  integrity  comple‐

              By  the  time  write(2)  (and similar) return, the output data has been transferred to the underlying hardware, along
              with any file metadata that would be required to retrieve that data (i.e., as though each write(2) was followed by  a
              call to fdatasync(2)).  See NOTES below.

       O_EXCL Ensure  that  this call creates the file: if this flag is specified in conjunction with O_CREAT, and pathname already
              exists, then open() fails with the error EEXIST.

              When these two flags are specified, symbolic links are not followed: if pathname is  a  symbolic  link,  then  open()
              fails regardless of where the symbolic link points.

              In  general, the behavior of O_EXCL is undefined if it is used without O_CREAT.  There is one exception: on Linux 2.6
              and later, O_EXCL can be used without O_CREAT if pathname refers to a block device.  If the block device is in use by
              the system (e.g., mounted), open() fails with the error EBUSY.

              On  NFS, O_EXCL is supported only when using NFSv3 or later on kernel 2.6 or later.  In NFS environments where O_EXCL
              support is not provided, programs that rely on it for performing locking tasks will contain a race condition.  Porta‐
              ble programs that want to perform atomic file locking using a lockfile, and need to avoid reliance on NFS support for
              O_EXCL, can create a unique file on the same filesystem (e.g., incorporating hostname and PID), and  use  link(2)  to
              make  a  link  to  the lockfile.  If link(2) 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.
              The _LARGEFILE64_SOURCE macro must be defined (before including any header files) in order to obtain this definition.
              Setting the _FILE_OFFSET_BITS feature test macro to 64 (rather than using O_LARGEFILE) is the preferred method of ac‐
              cessing large files on 32-bit systems (see feature_test_macros(7)).

       O_NOATIME (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 can be employed only if one of the following conditions is true:

              •  The effective UID of the process matches the owner UID of the file.

              •  The  calling  process has the CAP_FOWNER capability in its user namespace and the owner UID of the file has a map‐
                 ping in the namespace.

              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
              process does not have one.

              If the trailing component (i.e., basename) of pathname is a symbolic link, then the open fails, with the error ELOOP.
              Symbolic links in earlier components of the pathname will still be followed.  (Note that the ELOOP error that can oc‐
              cur  in  this  case  is indistinguishable from the case where an open fails because there are too many symbolic links
              found while resolving components in the prefix part of the pathname.)

              This flag is a FreeBSD extension, which was added in  Linux  2.1.126,  and  has  subsequently  been  standardized  in

              See also O_PATH below.

              When  possible,  the file is opened in nonblocking mode.  Neither the open() nor any subsequent I/O operations on the
              file descriptor which is returned will cause the calling process to wait.

              Note that the setting of this flag has no effect on the operation of poll(2), select(2), epoll(7), and similar, since
              those  interfaces  merely inform the caller about whether a file descriptor is "ready", meaning that an I/O operation
              performed on the file descriptor with the O_NONBLOCK flag clear would not block.

              Note that this flag has no effect for regular files and block devices; that is, I/O operations will  (briefly)  block
              when  device activity is required, regardless of whether O_NONBLOCK is set.  Since O_NONBLOCK semantics might eventu‐
              ally be implemented, applications should not depend upon blocking behavior when  specifying  this  flag  for  regular
              files and block devices.

              For  the handling of FIFOs (named pipes), see also fifo(7).  For a discussion of the effect of O_NONBLOCK in conjunc‐
              tion with mandatory file locks and with file leases, see fcntl(2).

       O_PATH (since Linux 2.6.39)
              Obtain a file descriptor that can be used for two purposes: to indicate a location in the filesystem tree and to per‐
              form  operations  that act purely at the file descriptor level.  The file itself is not opened, and other file opera‐
              tions (e.g., read(2), write(2), fchmod(2), fchown(2), fgetxattr(2), ioctl(2), mmap(2)) fail with the error EBADF.

              The following operations can be performed on the resulting file descriptor:

              •  close(2).

              •  fchdir(2), if the file descriptor refers to a directory (since Linux 3.5).

              •  fstat(2) (since Linux 3.6).

              •  fstatfs(2) (since Linux 3.12).

              •  Duplicating the file descriptor (dup(2), fcntl(2) F_DUPFD, etc.).

              •  Getting and setting file descriptor flags (fcntl(2) F_GETFD and F_SETFD).

              •  Retrieving open file status flags using the fcntl(2) F_GETFL operation: the returned flags will  include  the  bit

              •  Passing  the  file descriptor as the dirfd argument of openat() and the other "*at()" system calls.  This includes
                 linkat(2) with AT_EMPTY_PATH (or via procfs using AT_SYMLINK_FOLLOW) even if the file is not a directory.

              •  Passing the file descriptor to another process via a UNIX domain socket (see SCM_RIGHTS in unix(7)).

              When O_PATH is specified in flags, flag bits other than O_CLOEXEC, O_DIRECTORY, and O_NOFOLLOW are ignored.

              Opening a file or directory with the O_PATH flag requires no permissions on the object itself (but does require  exe‐
              cute  permission on the directories in the path prefix).  Depending on the subsequent operation, a check for suitable
              file permissions may be performed (e.g., fchdir(2) requires execute permission on the directory referred  to  by  its
              file descriptor argument).  By contrast, obtaining a reference to a filesystem object by opening it with the O_RDONLY
              flag requires that the caller have read  permission  on  the  object,  even  when  the  subsequent  operation  (e.g.,
              fchdir(2), fstat(2)) does not require read permission on the object.

              If pathname is a symbolic link and the O_NOFOLLOW flag is also specified, then the call returns a file descriptor re‐
              ferring to the symbolic link.  This file descriptor can be used as the dirfd argument in calls  to  fchownat(2),  fs‐
              tatat(2), linkat(2), and readlinkat(2) with an empty pathname to have the calls operate on the symbolic link.

              If  pathname  refers  to an automount point that has not yet been triggered, so no other filesystem is mounted on it,
              then the call returns a file descriptor referring to the automount directory without triggering a mount.   fstatfs(2)
              can then be used to determine if it is, in fact, an untriggered automount point (.f_type == AUTOFS_SUPER_MAGIC).

              One  use of O_PATH for regular files is to provide the equivalent of POSIX.1's O_EXEC functionality.  This permits us
              to open a file for which we have execute permission but not read permission, and then execute that file,  with  steps
              something like the following:

                  char buf[PATH_MAX];
                  fd = open("some_prog", O_PATH);
                  snprintf(buf, PATH_MAX, "/proc/self/fd/%d", fd);
                  execl(buf, "some_prog", (char *) NULL);

              An O_PATH file descriptor can also be passed as the argument of fexecve(3).

       O_SYNC Write  operations  on the file will complete according to the requirements of synchronized I/O file integrity comple‐
              tion (by contrast with the synchronized I/O data integrity completion provided by O_DSYNC.)

              By the time write(2) (or similar) returns, the output data and associated file metadata have been transferred to  the
              underlying hardware (i.e., as though each write(2) was followed by a call to fsync(2)).  See NOTES below.

       O_TMPFILE (since Linux 3.11)
              Create an unnamed temporary regular file.  The pathname argument specifies a directory; an unnamed inode will be cre‐
              ated in that directory's filesystem.  Anything written to the resulting file will be lost when the last file descrip‐
              tor is closed, unless the file is given a name.

              O_TMPFILE must be specified with one of O_RDWR or O_WRONLY and, optionally, O_EXCL.  If O_EXCL is not specified, then
              linkat(2) can be used to link the temporary file into the filesystem, making it permanent, using code like  the  fol‐

                  char path[PATH_MAX];
                  fd = open("/path/to/dir", O_TMPFILE | O_RDWR,
                                          S_IRUSR | S_IWUSR);

                  /* File I/O on 'fd'... */

                  linkat(fd, "", AT_FDCWD, "/path/for/file", AT_EMPTY_PATH);

                  /* If the caller doesn't have the CAP_DAC_READ_SEARCH
                     capability (needed to use AT_EMPTY_PATH with linkat(2)),
                     and there is a proc(5) filesystem mounted, then the
                     linkat(2) call above can be replaced with:

                  snprintf(path, PATH_MAX,  "/proc/self/fd/%d", fd);
                  linkat(AT_FDCWD, path, AT_FDCWD, "/path/for/file",

              In this case, the open() mode argument determines the file permission mode, as with O_CREAT.

              Specifying  O_EXCL  in  conjunction with O_TMPFILE prevents a temporary file from being linked into the filesystem in
              the above manner.  (Note that the meaning of O_EXCL in this case is different from the meaning of O_EXCL otherwise.)

              There are two main use cases for O_TMPFILE:

              •  Improved tmpfile(3) functionality: race-free creation of temporary files that (1) are automatically  deleted  when
                 closed;  (2) can never be reached via any pathname; (3) are not subject to symlink attacks; and (4) do not require
                 the caller to devise unique names.

              •  Creating a file that is initially invisible, which is then populated with data and adjusted  to  have  appropriate
                 filesystem attributes (fchown(2), fchmod(2), fsetxattr(2), etc.)  before being atomically linked into the filesys‐
                 tem in a fully formed state (using linkat(2) as described above).

              O_TMPFILE requires support by the underlying filesystem; only a subset of Linux filesystems provide that support.  In
              the initial implementation, support was provided in the ext2, ext3, ext4, UDF, Minix, and tmpfs filesystems.  Support
              for other filesystems has subsequently been added as follows: XFS (Linux  3.15);  Btrfs  (Linux  3.16);  F2FS  (Linux
              3.16); and ubifs (Linux 4.9)

              If  the file already exists and is a regular file and the access 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.   Other‐
              wise, the effect of O_TRUNC is unspecified.

       A call to creat() is equivalent to calling open() with flags equal to O_CREAT|O_WRONLY|O_TRUNC.

       The openat() system call operates in exactly the same way as open(), except for the differences described here.

       The dirfd argument is used in conjunction with the pathname argument as follows:

       •  If the pathname given in pathname is absolute, then dirfd is ignored.

       •  If the pathname given in pathname is relative and dirfd is the special value AT_FDCWD, then pathname is interpreted rela‐
          tive to the current working directory of the calling process (like open()).

       •  If the pathname given in pathname is relative, then it is interpreted relative to the directory referred to by  the  file
          descriptor  dirfd (rather than relative to the current working directory of the calling process, as is done by open() for
          a relative pathname).  In this case, dirfd must be a directory that was opened for reading (O_RDONLY) or using the O_PATH

       If  the pathname given in pathname is relative, and dirfd is not a valid file descriptor, an error (EBADF) results.  (Speci‐
       fying an invalid file descriptor number in dirfd can be used as a means to ensure that pathname is absolute.)

       The openat2(2) system call is an extension of openat(), and provides a superset of the features of openat().   It  is  docu‐
       mented separately, in openat2(2).

       On  success, open(), openat(), and creat() return the new file descriptor (a nonnegative integer).  On error, -1 is returned
       and errno is set to indicate the error.

       open(), openat(), and creat() can fail with the following errors:

       EACCES The requested access to the file is not allowed, or search permission 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_resolution(7).)

       EACCES Where O_CREAT is specified, the protected_fifos or protected_regular sysctl is enabled, the file already  exists  and
              is  a  FIFO or regular file, the owner of the file is neither the current user nor the owner of the containing direc‐
              tory, and the containing directory is both world- or group-writable and sticky.  For details, see the descriptions of
              /proc/sys/fs/protected_fifos and /proc/sys/fs/protected_regular in proc(5).

       EBADF  (openat()) pathname is relative but dirfd is neither AT_FDCWD nor a valid file descriptor.

       EBUSY  O_EXCL  was  specified  in  flags  and  pathname  refers  to a block device that is in use by the system (e.g., it is

       EDQUOT Where O_CREAT is specified, the file does not exist, and the user's quota of disk blocks or inodes on the  filesystem
              has been exhausted.

       EEXIST pathname already exists and O_CREAT and O_EXCL were used.

       EFAULT pathname points outside your accessible address space.


       EINTR  While blocked waiting to complete an open of a slow device (e.g., a FIFO; see fifo(7)), the call was interrupted by a
              signal handler; see signal(7).

       EINVAL The filesystem does not support the O_DIRECT flag.  See NOTES for more information.

       EINVAL Invalid value in flags.

       EINVAL O_TMPFILE was specified in flags, but neither O_WRONLY nor O_RDWR was specified.

       EINVAL O_CREAT was specified in flags and the final component ("basename") of the new file's pathname is invalid  (e.g.,  it
              contains characters not permitted by the underlying filesystem).

       EINVAL The final component ("basename") of pathname is invalid (e.g., it contains characters not permitted by the underlying

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

       EISDIR pathname refers to an existing directory, O_TMPFILE and one of O_WRONLY or O_RDWR were specified in flags,  but  this
              kernel version does not provide the O_TMPFILE functionality.

       ELOOP  Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving pathname.

       ELOOP  pathname was a symbolic link, and flags specified O_NOFOLLOW but not O_PATH.

       EMFILE The  per-process  limit on the number of open file descriptors has been reached (see the description of RLIMIT_NOFILE
              in getrlimit(2)).

              pathname was too long.

       ENFILE The system-wide limit on the total number of open files has been reached.

       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.

       ENOENT A directory component in pathname does not exist or is a dangling symbolic link.

       ENOENT pathname refers to a nonexistent directory, O_TMPFILE and one of O_WRONLY or O_RDWR were specified in flags, but this
              kernel version does not provide the O_TMPFILE functionality.

       ENOMEM The named file is a FIFO, but memory for the FIFO buffer can't be allocated because the per-user hard limit on memory
              allocation for pipes has been reached and the caller is not privileged; see pipe(7).

       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 directory.

              (openat()) pathname is a relative pathname and dirfd is a file descriptor referring to a file other than a directory.

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

       ENXIO  The file is a device special file and no corresponding device exists.

       ENXIO  The file is a UNIX domain socket.

              The filesystem containing pathname does not support O_TMPFILE.

              pathname refers to a regular file that is too large to be opened.  The usual scenario here  is  that  an  application
              compiled on a 32-bit platform without -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 tried to open a file whose size exceeds (1<<31)-1 bytes;
              see also O_LARGEFILE above.  This is the error specified by POSIX.1; before Linux 2.6.24, Linux gave the error  EFBIG
              for this case.

       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.

       EPERM  The operation was prevented by a file seal; see fcntl(2).

       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.

              pathname refers to a file that is currently in use as a swap file, and the O_TRUNC flag was specified.

              pathname refers to a file that is currently being read by the kernel (e.g., for module/firmware loading),  and  write
              access was requested.

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

       openat() was added in Linux 2.6.16; library support was added in glibc 2.4.

       open(), creat() SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008.

       openat(): POSIX.1-2008.

       openat2(2) is Linux-specific.

       The  O_DIRECT, O_NOATIME, O_PATH, and O_TMPFILE flags are Linux-specific.  One must define _GNU_SOURCE to obtain their defi‐

       The O_CLOEXEC, O_DIRECTORY, and O_NOFOLLOW flags are not specified in  POSIX.1-2001,  but  are  specified  in  POSIX.1-2008.
       Since  glibc 2.12, one can obtain their definitions by defining either _POSIX_C_SOURCE with a value greater than or equal to
       200809L or _XOPEN_SOURCE with a value greater than or equal to 700.  In glibc 2.11 and earlier, one obtains the  definitions
       by defining _GNU_SOURCE.

       As  noted in feature_test_macros(7), feature test macros such as _POSIX_C_SOURCE, _XOPEN_SOURCE, and _GNU_SOURCE must be de‐
       fined before including any header files.

       Under Linux, the O_NONBLOCK flag is sometimes used in cases where one wants to open but does not necessarily have the inten‐
       tion  to  read  or  write.   For  example,  this may be used to open a device in order to get a file descriptor for use with

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

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

       If the file is newly created, its st_atime, st_ctime, st_mtime fields (respectively, time of last access, time of last  sta‐
       tus  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.

       The  files in the /proc/[pid]/fd directory show the open file descriptors of the process with the PID pid.  The files in the
       /proc/[pid]/fdinfo directory show even more information about these file descriptors.  See proc(5) for  further  details  of
       both of these directories.

       The Linux header file <asm/fcntl.h> doesn't define O_ASYNC; the (BSD-derived) FASYNC synonym is defined instead.

   Open file descriptions
       The  term open file description is the one used by POSIX to refer to the entries in the system-wide table of open files.  In
       other contexts, this object is variously also called an "open file object", a "file handle", an "open file table entry", or—
       in kernel-developer parlance—a struct file.

       When  a  file  descriptor is duplicated (using dup(2) or similar), the duplicate refers to the same open file description as
       the original file descriptor, and the two file descriptors consequently share the file offset and file status  flags.   Such
       sharing  can  also occur between processes: a child process created via fork(2) inherits duplicates of its parent's file de‐
       scriptors, and those duplicates refer to the same open file descriptions.

       Each open() of a file creates a new open file description; thus, there may be multiple open file descriptions  corresponding
       to a file inode.

       On  Linux,  one  can use the kcmp(2) KCMP_FILE operation to test whether two file descriptors (in the same process or in two
       different processes) refer to the same open file description.

   Synchronized I/O
       The POSIX.1-2008 "synchronized I/O" option specifies different variants of synchronized I/O, and specifies the open()  flags
       O_SYNC, O_DSYNC, and O_RSYNC for controlling the behavior.  Regardless of whether an implementation supports this option, it
       must at least support the use of O_SYNC for regular files.

       Linux implements O_SYNC and O_DSYNC, but not O_RSYNC.  Somewhat incorrectly, glibc defines O_RSYNC to have the same value as
       O_SYNC.  (O_RSYNC is defined in the Linux header file <asm/fcntl.h> on HP PA-RISC, but it is not used.)

       O_SYNC  provides  synchronized  I/O  file  integrity completion, meaning write operations will flush data and all associated
       metadata to the underlying hardware.  O_DSYNC provides synchronized I/O data integrity completion, meaning write  operations
       will  flush  data  to  the underlying hardware, but will only flush metadata updates that are required to allow a subsequent
       read operation to complete successfully.  Data integrity completion can reduce the number of disk operations  that  are  re‐
       quired for applications that don't need the guarantees of file integrity completion.

       To  understand the difference between the two types of completion, consider two pieces of file metadata: the file last modi‐
       fication timestamp (st_mtime) and the file length.  All write operations will update the last file  modification  timestamp,
       but  only  writes  that add data to the end of the file will change the file length.  The last modification timestamp is not
       needed to ensure that a read completes successfully, but the file length is.  Thus, O_DSYNC would only  guarantee  to  flush
       updates to the file length metadata (whereas O_SYNC would also always flush the last modification timestamp metadata).

       Before  Linux  2.6.33,  Linux  implemented  only  the  O_SYNC  flag for open().  However, when that flag was specified, most
       filesystems actually provided the equivalent of synchronized I/O data integrity completion (i.e., O_SYNC was actually imple‐
       mented as the equivalent of O_DSYNC).

       Since  Linux  2.6.33,  proper O_SYNC support is provided.  However, to ensure backward binary compatibility, O_DSYNC was de‐
       fined with the same value as the historical O_SYNC, and O_SYNC was defined as a new (two-bit) flag value that  includes  the
       O_DSYNC flag value.  This ensures that applications compiled against new headers get at least O_DSYNC semantics before Linux

   C library/kernel differences
       Since glibc 2.26, the glibc wrapper function for open() employs the openat() system call, rather than  the  kernel's  open()
       system call.  For certain architectures, this is also true before glibc 2.26.

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

       On  NFS filesystems with UID mapping enabled, open() may return a file descriptor but, for example, read(2) requests are de‐
       nied 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.

       Opening  the  read  or  write  end  of a FIFO blocks until the other end is also opened (by another process or thread).  See
       fifo(7) for further details.

   File access mode
       Unlike the other values that can be specified in flags, the access mode values O_RDONLY, O_WRONLY, and O_RDWR do not specify
       individual  bits.   Rather,  they  define  the low order two bits of flags, and are defined respectively as 0, 1, and 2.  In
       other words, the combination O_RDONLY | O_WRONLY is a logical error, and certainly does not have the same meaning as O_RDWR.

       Linux reserves the special, nonstandard access mode 3 (binary 11) in flags to mean: check for read and write  permission  on
       the  file  and  return a file descriptor that can't be used for reading or writing.  This nonstandard access mode is used by
       some Linux drivers to return a file descriptor that is to be used only for device-specific ioctl(2) operations.

   Rationale for openat() and other directory file descriptor APIs
       openat() and the other system calls and library functions that take a directory file descriptor argument (i.e., execveat(2),
       faccessat(2),  fanotify_mark(2), fchmodat(2), fchownat(2), fspick(2), fstatat(2), futimesat(2), linkat(2), mkdirat(2), mkno‐
       dat(2), mount_setattr(2), move_mount(2), name_to_handle_at(2), open_tree(2),  openat2(2),  readlinkat(2),  renameat(2),  re‐
       nameat2(2),  statx(2), symlinkat(2), unlinkat(2), utimensat(2), mkfifoat(3), and scandirat(3)) address two problems with the
       older interfaces that preceded them.  Here, the explanation is in terms of the openat() call, but the rationale is analogous
       for the other interfaces.

       First,  openat() allows an application to avoid race conditions that could occur when using open() to open files in directo‐
       ries other than the current working directory.  These race conditions result from the fact that some component of the direc‐
       tory  prefix  given  to  open() could be changed in parallel with the call to open().  Suppose, for example, that we wish to
       create the file dir1/dir2/xxx.dep if the file dir1/dir2/xxx exists.  The problem is that between the existence check and the
       file-creation  step,  dir1 or dir2 (which might be symbolic links) could be modified to point to a different location.  Such
       races can be avoided by opening a file descriptor for the target directory, and then specifying that file descriptor as  the
       dirfd argument of (say) fstatat(2) and openat().  The use of the dirfd file descriptor also has other benefits:

       •  the file descriptor is a stable reference to the directory, even if the directory is renamed; and

       •  the  open  file descriptor prevents the underlying filesystem from being dismounted, just as when a process has a current
          working directory on a filesystem.

       Second, openat() allows the implementation of a per-thread "current working directory", via file descriptor(s) maintained by
       the application.  (This functionality can also be obtained by tricks based on the use of /proc/self/fd/dirfd, but less effi‐

       The dirfd argument for these APIs can be obtained by using open() or openat() to open a directory (with either the  O_RDONLY
       or  the O_PATH flag).  Alternatively, such a file descriptor can be obtained by applying dirfd(3) to a directory stream cre‐
       ated using opendir(3).

       When these APIs are given a dirfd argument of AT_FDCWD or the specified pathname is absolute, then they handle  their  path‐
       name  argument  in  the  same way as the corresponding conventional APIs.  However, in this case, several of the APIs have a
       flags argument that provides access to functionality that is not available with the corresponding conventional APIs.

       The O_DIRECT flag may impose alignment restrictions on the length and address of user-space buffers and the file  offset  of
       I/Os.   In Linux alignment restrictions vary by filesystem and kernel version and might be absent entirely.  The handling of
       misaligned O_DIRECT I/Os also varies; they can either fail with EINVAL or fall back to buffered I/O.

       Since Linux 6.1, O_DIRECT support and  alignment  restrictions  for  a  file  can  be  queried  using  statx(2),  using  the
       STATX_DIOALIGN flag.  Support for STATX_DIOALIGN varies by filesystem; see statx(2).

       Some  filesystems provide their own interfaces for querying O_DIRECT alignment restrictions, for example the XFS_IOC_DIOINFO
       operation in xfsctl(3).  STATX_DIOALIGN should be used instead when it is available.

       If none of the above is available, then direct I/O support and alignment restrictions can only be assumed from known charac‐
       teristics  of  the filesystem, the individual file, the underlying storage device(s), and the kernel version.  In Linux 2.4,
       most filesystems based on block devices require that the file offset and the length and memory address of all  I/O  segments
       be  multiples  of  the  filesystem block size (typically 4096 bytes).  In Linux 2.6.0, this was relaxed to the logical block
       size of the block device (typically 512 bytes).  A block device's logical block size can be determined  using  the  ioctl(2)
       BLKSSZGET operation or from the shell using the command:

           blockdev --getss

       O_DIRECT  I/Os  should  never  be  run  concurrently with the fork(2) system call, if the memory buffer is a private mapping
       (i.e., any mapping created with the mmap(2) MAP_PRIVATE flag; this includes memory allocated on the heap and statically  al‐
       located buffers).  Any such I/Os, whether submitted via an asynchronous I/O interface or from another thread in the process,
       should be completed before fork(2) is called.  Failure to do so can result in data corruption and undefined behavior in par‐
       ent  and  child  processes.   This restriction does not apply when the memory buffer for the O_DIRECT I/Os was created using
       shmat(2) or mmap(2) with the MAP_SHARED flag.  Nor does this restriction apply when the memory buffer has  been  advised  as
       MADV_DONTFORK with madvise(2), ensuring that it will not be available to the child after fork(2).

       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 introduced a flag of the same name, but  with‐
       out alignment restrictions.

       O_DIRECT  support  was added in Linux 2.4.10.  Older Linux kernels simply ignore this flag.  Some filesystems may not imple‐
       ment the flag, in which case open() fails with the error EINVAL if it is used.

       Applications should avoid mixing O_DIRECT and normal I/O to the same file, and especially to overlapping byte regions in the
       same  file.   Even  when  the filesystem correctly handles the coherency issues in this situation, overall I/O throughput is
       likely to be slower than using either mode alone.  Likewise, applications should avoid mixing mmap(2) of files  with  direct
       I/O to the same files.

       The behavior of O_DIRECT with NFS will differ from local filesystems.  Older kernels, or kernels configured in certain ways,
       may not support this combination.  The NFS protocol does not support passing the flag to the server, so  O_DIRECT  I/O  will
       bypass  the  page  cache only on the client; the server may still cache the I/O.  The client asks the server to make the I/O
       synchronous to preserve the synchronous semantics of O_DIRECT.  Some servers will perform poorly under these  circumstances,
       especially  if  the  I/O  size is small.  Some servers may also be configured to lie to clients about the I/O having reached
       stable storage; this will avoid the performance penalty at some risk to data integrity in the event of server power failure.
       The Linux NFS client places no alignment restrictions on O_DIRECT I/O.

       In  summary,  O_DIRECT is a potentially powerful tool that should be used with caution.  It is recommended that applications
       treat use of O_DIRECT as a performance option which is disabled by default.

       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.

       One must check for two different error codes, EISDIR and ENOENT, when trying to determine whether the kernel supports O_TMP‐
       FILE functionality.

       When both O_CREAT and O_DIRECTORY are specified in flags and the file specified by pathname does not exist, open() will cre‐
       ate a regular file (i.e., O_DIRECTORY is ignored).

       chmod(2),  chown(2),  close(2), dup(2), fcntl(2), link(2), lseek(2), mknod(2), mmap(2), mount(2), open_by_handle_at(2), ope‐
       nat2(2), read(2), socket(2), stat(2), umask(2), unlink(2),  write(2),  fopen(3),  acl(5),  fifo(7),  inode(7),  path_resolu‐
       tion(7), symlink(7)

Linux man-pages 6.03                                         2023-02-05                                                     open(2)