LOCKF(3) Library Functions Manual LOCKF(3)
lockf - record locking on files
lockf(int filedes, int function, off_t size);
The lockf() function allows sections of a file to be locked with
advisory-mode locks. Calls to lockf() from other processes which attempt
to lock the locked file section will either return an error value or
block until the section becomes unlocked. All the locks for a process
are removed when the process terminates.
The argument filedes is an open file descriptor. The file descriptor
must have been opened either for write-only (O_WRONLY) or read/write
The function argument is a control value which specifies the action to be
taken. The permissible values for function are as follows:
F_ULOCK Unlock locked sections.
F_LOCK Lock a section for exclusive use.
F_TLOCK Test and lock a section for exclusive use.
F_TEST Test a section for locks by other processes.
The F_ULOCK function removes locks from a section of the file; F_LOCK and
F_TLOCK both lock a section of a file if the section is available; F_TEST
detects if a lock by another process is present on the specified section.
The size argument is the number of contiguous bytes to be locked or
unlocked. The section to be locked or unlocked starts at the current
offset in the file and extends forward for a positive size or backward
for a negative size (the preceding bytes up to but not including the
current offset). However, it is not permitted to lock a section that
starts or extends before the beginning of the file. If size is 0, the
section from the current offset through the largest possible file offset
is locked (that is, from the current offset through the present or any
The sections locked with F_LOCK or F_TLOCK may, in whole or in part,
contain or be contained by a previously locked section for the same
process. When this occurs, or if adjacent locked sections would occur,
the sections are combined into a single locked section. If the request
would cause the number of locks to exceed a system-imposed limit, the
request will fail.
The F_LOCK and F_TLOCK requests differ only by the action taken if the
section is not available. F_LOCK blocks the calling process until the
section is available. F_TLOCK makes the function fail if the section is
already locked by another process.
File locks are released on first close by the locking process of any file
descriptor for the file.
F_ULOCK requests release (wholly or in part) of one or more locked
sections controlled by the process. Locked sections will be unlocked
starting at the current file offset through size bytes or to the end of
the file if size is 0. When all of a locked section is not released
(that is, when the beginning or end of the area to be unlocked falls
within a locked section), the remaining portions of that section are
still locked by the process. Releasing the center portion of a locked
section will cause the remaining locked beginning and end portions to
become two separate locked sections. If the request would cause the
number of locks in the system to exceed a system-imposed limit, the
request will fail.
An F_ULOCK request in which size is non-zero and the offset of the last
byte of the requested section is the maximum value for an object of type
off_t, when the process has an existing lock in which size is 0 and which
includes the last byte of the requested section, will be treated as a
request to unlock from the start of the requested section with a size
equal to 0. Otherwise an F_ULOCK request will attempt to unlock only the
A potential for deadlock occurs if a process controlling a locked region
is put to sleep by attempting to lock the locked region of another
process. This implementation detects that sleeping until a locked region
is unlocked would cause a deadlock and fails with an EDEADLK error.
lockf(), fcntl(2), and flock(2) locks may be safely used concurrently.
Blocking on a section is interrupted by any signal.
If successful, the lockf() function returns 0. Otherwise, it returns -1,
sets the global variable errno to indicate an error, and existing locks
are not changed.
lockf() will fail if:
[EAGAIN] The argument function is F_TLOCK or F_TEST and the
section is already locked by another process.
[EBADF] The argument filedes is not a valid open file
The argument function is F_LOCK or F_TLOCK, and
filedes is not a valid file descriptor open for
[EDEADLK] The argument function is F_LOCK and a deadlock is
[EINTR] The argument function is F_LOCK and lockf() was
interrupted by the delivery of a signal.
[EINVAL] The argument function is not one of F_ULOCK, F_LOCK,
F_TLOCK, or F_TEST.
The argument filedes refers to a file that does not
[ENOLCK] The argument function is F_ULOCK, F_LOCK, or F_TLOCK,
and satisfying the lock or unlock request would result
in the number of locked regions in the system
exceeding a system-imposed limit.
The lockf() function conforms to X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4,
Version 2 ("XPG4.2").
OpenBSD 6.2 June 5, 2013 OpenBSD 6.2
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