Name

flock — apply or remove an advisory lock on an open file

Synopsis

        #include <sys/file.h>
int flock( int fd,
  int operation);
 

DESCRIPTION

Apply or remove an advisory lock on the open file specified by fd. The argument operation is one of the following:

LOCK_SH

Place a shared lock. More than one process may hold a shared lock for a given file at a given time.

LOCK_EX

Place an exclusive lock. Only one process may hold an exclusive lock for a given file at a given time.

LOCK_UN

Remove an existing lock held by this process.

A call to flock() may block if an incompatible lock is held by another process. To make a nonblocking request, include LOCK_NB (by ORing) with any of the above operations.

A single file may not simultaneously have both shared and exclusive locks.

Locks created by flock() are associated with an open file description (see open(2)). This means that duplicate file descriptors (created by, for example, fork(2) or dup(2)) refer to the same lock, and this lock may be modified or released using any of these file descriptors. Furthermore, the lock is released either by an explicit LOCK_UN operation on any of these duplicate file descriptors, or when all such file descriptors have been closed.

If a process uses open(2) (or similar) to obtain more than one file descriptor for the same file, these file descriptors are treated independently by flock(). An attempt to lock the file using one of these file descriptors may be denied by a lock that the calling process has already placed via another file descriptor.

A process may hold only one type of lock (shared or exclusive) on a file. Subsequent flock() calls on an already locked file will convert an existing lock to the new lock mode.

Locks created by flock() are preserved across an execve(2).

A shared or exclusive lock can be placed on a file regardless of the mode in which the file was opened.

RETURN VALUE

On success, zero is returned. On error, −1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.

ERRORS

EBADF

fd is not an open file descriptor.

EINTR

While waiting to acquire a lock, the call was interrupted by delivery of a signal caught by a handler; see signal(7).

EINVAL

operation is invalid.

ENOLCK

The kernel ran out of memory for allocating lock records.

EWOULDBLOCK

The file is locked and the LOCK_NB flag was selected.

CONFORMING TO

4.4BSD (the flock() call first appeared in 4.2BSD). A version of flock(), possibly implemented in terms of fcntl(2), appears on most UNIX systems.

NOTES

Since kernel 2.0, flock() is implemented as a system call in its own right rather than being emulated in the GNU C library as a call to fcntl(2). With this implementation, there is no interaction between the types of lock placed by flock() and fcntl(2), and flock() does not detect deadlock. (Note, however, that on some systems, such as the modern BSDs, flock() and fcntl(2) locks do interact with one another.)

flock() places advisory locks only; given suitable permissions on a file, a process is free to ignore the use of flock() and perform I/O on the file.

flock() and fcntl(2) locks have different semantics with respect to forked processes and dup(2). On systems that implement flock() using fcntl(2), the semantics of flock() will be different from those described in this manual page.

Converting a lock (shared to exclusive, or vice versa) is not guaranteed to be atomic: the existing lock is first removed, and then a new lock is established. Between these two steps, a pending lock request by another process may be granted, with the result that the conversion either blocks, or fails if LOCK_NB was specified. (This is the original BSD behavior, and occurs on many other implementations.)

NFS details

In Linux kernels up to 2.6.11, flock() does not lock files over NFS (i.e., the scope of locks was limited to the local system). Instead, one could use fcntl(2) byte-range locking, which does work over NFS, given a sufficiently recent version of Linux and a server which supports locking.

Since Linux 2.6.12, NFS clients support flock() locks by emulating them as fcntl(2) byte-range locks on the entire file. This means that fcntl(2) and flock() locks do interact with one another over NFS. It also means that in order to place an exclusive lock, the file must be opened for writing.

Since Linux 2.6.37, the kernel supports a compatibility mode that allows flock() locks (and also fcntl(2) byte region locks) to be treated as local; see the discussion of the local_lock option in nfs(5).

SEE ALSO

flock(1), close(2), dup(2), execve(2), fcntl(2), fork(2), open(2), lockf(3), lslocks(8)

Documentation/filesystems/locks.txt in the Linux kernel source tree (Documentation/locks.txt in older kernels)

COLOPHON

This page is part of release 4.16 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at https://www.kernel.org/doc/man−pages/.


  Copyright 1993 Rickard E. Faith (faithcs.unc.edu) and
and Copyright 2002 Michael Kerrisk

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Modified Fri Jan 31 16:26:07 1997 by Eric S. Raymond <esrthyrsus.com>
Modified Fri Dec 11 17:57:27 1998 by Jamie Lokier <jamieimbolc.ucc.ie>
Modified 24 Apr 2002 by Michael Kerrisk <mtk.manpagesgmail.com>
Substantial rewrites and additions
2005-05-10 mtk, noted that lock conversions are not atomic.

FIXME Maybe document LOCK_MAND, LOCK_RW, LOCK_READ, LOCK_WRITE
which only have effect for SAMBA.