PRCTL(2) Linux Programmer's Manual PRCTL(2)
prctl - operations on a process
int prctl(int option, unsigned long arg2, unsigned long arg3,
unsigned long arg4, unsigned long arg5);
prctl() is called with a first argument describing what to do (with values defined in <linux/prctl.h>), and further arguments with a sig-
nificance depending on the first one. The first argument can be:
PR_CAPBSET_READ (since Linux 2.6.25)
Return (as the function result) 1 if the capability specified in arg2 is in the calling thread's capability bounding set, or 0 if it
is not. (The capability constants are defined in <linux/capability.h>.) The capability bounding set dictates whether the process
can receive the capability through a file's permitted capability set on a subsequent call to execve(2).
If the capability specified in arg2 is not valid, then the call fails with the error EINVAL.
PR_CAPBSET_DROP (since Linux 2.6.25)
If the calling thread has the CAP_SETPCAP capability, then drop the capability specified by arg2 from the calling thread's capabil-
ity bounding set. Any children of the calling thread will inherit the newly reduced bounding set.
The call fails with the error: EPERM if the calling thread does not have the CAP_SETPCAP; EINVAL if arg2 does not represent a valid
capability; or EINVAL if file capabilities are not enabled in the kernel, in which case bounding sets are not supported.
PR_SET_DUMPABLE (since Linux 2.3.20)
Set the state of the flag determining whether core dumps are produced for this process upon delivery of a signal whose default
behavior is to produce a core dump. (Normally this flag is set for a process by default, but it is cleared when a set-user-ID or
set-group-ID program is executed and also by various system calls that manipulate process UIDs and GIDs). In kernels up to and
including 2.6.12, arg2 must be either 0 (process is not dumpable) or 1 (process is dumpable). Between kernels 2.6.13 and 2.6.17,
the value 2 was also permitted, which caused any binary which normally would not be dumped to be dumped readable by root only; for
security reasons, this feature has been removed. (See also the description of /proc/sys/fs/suid_dumpable in proc(5).)
PR_GET_DUMPABLE (since Linux 2.3.20)
Return (as the function result) the current state of the calling process's dumpable flag.
PR_SET_ENDIAN (since Linux 2.6.18, PowerPC only)
Set the endian-ness of the calling process to the value given in arg2, which should be one of the following: PR_ENDIAN_BIG,
PR_ENDIAN_LITTLE, or PR_ENDIAN_PPC_LITTLE (PowerPC pseudo little endian).
PR_GET_ENDIAN (since Linux 2.6.18, PowerPC only)
Return the endian-ness of the calling process, in the location pointed to by (int *) arg2.
PR_SET_FPEMU (since Linux 2.4.18, 2.5.9, only on ia64)
Set floating-point emulation control bits to arg2. Pass PR_FPEMU_NOPRINT to silently emulate fp operations accesses, or
PR_FPEMU_SIGFPE to not emulate fp operations and send SIGFPE instead.
PR_GET_FPEMU (since Linux 2.4.18, 2.5.9, only on ia64)
Return floating-point emulation control bits, in the location pointed to by (int *) arg2.
PR_SET_FPEXC (since Linux 2.4.21, 2.5.32, only on PowerPC)
Set floating-point exception mode to arg2. Pass PR_FP_EXC_SW_ENABLE to use FPEXC for FP exception enables, PR_FP_EXC_DIV for float-
ing-point divide by zero, PR_FP_EXC_OVF for floating-point overflow, PR_FP_EXC_UND for floating-point underflow, PR_FP_EXC_RES for
floating-point inexact result, PR_FP_EXC_INV for floating-point invalid operation, PR_FP_EXC_DISABLED for FP exceptions disabled,
PR_FP_EXC_NONRECOV for async nonrecoverable exception mode, PR_FP_EXC_ASYNC for async recoverable exception mode, PR_FP_EXC_PRECISE
for precise exception mode.
PR_GET_FPEXC (since Linux 2.4.21, 2.5.32, only on PowerPC)
Return floating-point exception mode, in the location pointed to by (int *) arg2.
PR_SET_KEEPCAPS (since Linux 2.2.18)
Set the state of the thread's "keep capabilities" flag, which determines whether the threads's permitted capability set is cleared
when a change is made to the threads's user IDs such that the threads's real UID, effective UID, and saved set-user-ID all become
nonzero when at least one of them previously had the value 0. By default, the permitted capability set is cleared when such a
change is made; setting the "keep capabilities" flag prevents it from being cleared. arg2 must be either 0 (permitted capabilities
are cleared) or 1 (permitted capabilities are kept). (A thread's effective capability set is always cleared when such a credential
change is made, regardless of the setting of the "keep capabilities" flag.) The "keep capabilities" value will be reset to 0 on
subsequent calls to execve(2).
PR_GET_KEEPCAPS (since Linux 2.2.18)
Return (as the function result) the current state of the calling threads's "keep capabilities" flag.
PR_SET_NAME (since Linux 2.6.9)
Set the process name for the calling process, using the value in the location pointed to by (char *) arg2. The name can be up to 16
bytes long, and should be null-terminated if it contains fewer bytes.
PR_GET_NAME (since Linux 2.6.11)
Return the process name for the calling process, in the buffer pointed to by (char *) arg2. The buffer should allow space for up to
16 bytes; the returned string will be null-terminated if it is shorter than that.
PR_SET_PDEATHSIG (since Linux 2.1.57)
Set the parent process death signal of the calling process to arg2 (either a signal value in the range 1..maxsig, or 0 to clear).
This is the signal that the calling process will get when its parent dies. This value is cleared for the child of a fork(2).
PR_GET_PDEATHSIG (since Linux 2.3.15)
Return the current value of the parent process death signal, in the location pointed to by (int *) arg2.
PR_SET_PTRACER (since Ubuntu 10.10)
Sets the top of the process tree that is allowed to use PTRACE on the calling process, assuming other requirements are met (matching
uid, wasn't setuid, etc). The allowed process id is specified in arg2 (or 0 to clear). For more details, see
PR_SET_SECCOMP (since Linux 2.6.23)
Set the secure computing mode for the calling thread. In the current implementation, arg2 must be 1. After the secure computing
mode has been set to 1, the only system calls that the thread is permitted to make are read(2), write(2), _exit(2), and sigre-
turn(2). Other system calls result in the delivery of a SIGKILL signal. Secure computing mode is useful for number-crunching
applications that may need to execute untrusted byte code, perhaps obtained by reading from a pipe or socket. This operation is
only available if the kernel is configured with CONFIG_SECCOMP enabled.
PR_GET_SECCOMP (since Linux 2.6.23)
Return the secure computing mode of the calling thread. Not very useful for the current implementation (mode equals 1), but may be
useful for other possible future modes: if the caller is not in secure computing mode, this operation returns 0; if the caller is in
secure computing mode, then the prctl() call will cause a SIGKILL signal to be sent to the process. This operation is only avail-
able if the kernel is configured with CONFIG_SECCOMP enabled.
PR_SET_SECUREBITS (since Linux 2.6.26)
Set the "securebits" flags of the calling thread to the value supplied in arg2. See capabilities(7).
PR_GET_SECUREBITS (since Linux 2.6.26)
Return (as the function result) the "securebits" flags of the calling thread. See capabilities(7).
PR_SET_TIMING (since Linux 2.6.0-test4)
Set whether to use (normal, traditional) statistical process timing or accurate timestamp based process timing, by passing PR_TIM-
ING_STATISTICAL or PR_TIMING_TIMESTAMP to arg2. PR_TIMING_TIMESTAMP is not currently implemented (attempting to set this mode will
yield the error EINVAL).
PR_GET_TIMING (since Linux 2.6.0-test4)
Return (as the function result) which process timing method is currently in use.
PR_SET_TSC (since Linux 2.6.26, x86 only)
Set the state of the flag determining whether the timestamp counter can be read by the process. Pass PR_TSC_ENABLE to arg2 to allow
it to be read, or PR_TSC_SIGSEGV to generate a SIGSEGV when the process tries to read the timestamp counter.
PR_GET_TSC (since Linux 2.6.26, x86 only)
Return the state of the flag determining whether the timestamp counter can be read, in the location pointed to by (int *) arg2.
(Only on: ia64, since Linux 2.3.48; parisc, since Linux 2.6.15; PowerPC, since Linux 2.6.18; Alpha, since Linux 2.6.22) Set
unaligned access control bits to arg2. Pass PR_UNALIGN_NOPRINT to silently fix up unaligned user accesses, or PR_UNALIGN_SIGBUS to
generate SIGBUS on unaligned user access.
(see PR_SET_UNALIGN for information on versions and architectures) Return unaligned access control bits, in the location pointed to
by (int *) arg2.
PR_MCE_KILL (since Linux 2.6.32)
Set the machine check memory corruption kill policy for the current thread. If arg2 is PR_MCE_KILL_CLEAR, clear the thread memory
corruption kill policy and use the system-wide default. (The system-wide default is defined by /proc/sys/vm/memory_fail-
ure_early_kill; see proc(5).) If arg2 is PR_MCE_KILL_SET, use a thread-specific memory corruption kill policy. In this case, arg3
defines whether the policy is early kill (PR_MCE_KILL_EARLY), late kill (PR_MCE_KILL_LATE), or the system-wide default
(PR_MCE_KILL_DEFAULT). Early kill means that the task receives a SIGBUS signal as soon as hardware memory corruption is detected
inside its address space. In late kill mode, the process is only killed when it accesses a corrupted page. See sigaction(2) for
more information on the SIGBUS signal. The policy is inherited by children. The remaining unused prctl() arguments must be zero
for future compatibility.
PR_MCE_KILL_GET (since Linux 2.6.32)
Return the current per-process machine check kill policy. All unused prctl() arguments must be zero.
On success, PR_GET_DUMPABLE, PR_GET_KEEPCAPS, PR_CAPBSET_READ, PR_GET_TIMING, PR_GET_SECUREBITS, PR_MCE_KILL_GET, and (if it returns)
PR_GET_SECCOMP return the nonnegative values described above. All other option values return 0 on success. On error, -1 is returned, and
errno is set appropriately.
EFAULT arg2 is an invalid address.
EINVAL The value of option is not recognized.
EINVAL option is PR_MCE_KILL or PR_MCE_KILL_GET, and unused prctl() arguments were not specified as zero.
EINVAL arg2 is not valid value for this option.
EINVAL option is PR_SET_SECCOMP or PR_SET_SECCOMP, and the kernel was not configured with CONFIG_SECCOMP.
EPERM option is PR_SET_SECUREBITS, and the caller does not have the CAP_SETPCAP capability, or tried to unset a "locked" flag, or tried to
set a flag whose corresponding locked flag was set (see capabilities(7)).
EPERM option is PR_SET_KEEPCAPS, and the callers's SECURE_KEEP_CAPS_LOCKED flag is set (see capabilities(7)).
EPERM option is PR_CAPBSET_DROP, and the caller does not have the CAP_SETPCAP capability.
The prctl() system call was introduced in Linux 2.1.57.
This call is Linux-specific. IRIX has a prctl() system call (also introduced in Linux 2.1.44 as irix_prctl on the MIPS architecture), with
ptrdiff_t prctl(int option, int arg2, int arg3);
and options to get the maximum number of processes per user, get the maximum number of processors the calling process can use, find out
whether a specified process is currently blocked, get or set the maximum stack size, etc.
This page is part of release 3.27 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.
Linux 2010-05-13 PRCTL(2)