REALPATH(3) Linux Programmer's Manual REALPATH(3)
realpath - return the canonicalized absolute pathname
char *realpath(const char *path, char *resolved_path);
Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):
_BSD_SOURCE || _XOPEN_SOURCE >= 500 || _XOPEN_SOURCE && _XOPEN_SOURCE_EXTENDED
realpath() expands all symbolic links and resolves references to /./, /../ and extra '/'
characters in the null-terminated string named by path to produce a canonicalized absolute
pathname. The resulting pathname is stored as a null-terminated string, up to a maximum
of PATH_MAX bytes, in the buffer pointed to by resolved_path. The resulting path will
have no symbolic link, /./ or /../ components.
If resolved_path is specified as NULL, then realpath() uses malloc(3) to allocate a buffer
of up to PATH_MAX bytes to hold the resolved pathname, and returns a pointer to this buf-
fer. The caller should deallocate this buffer using free(3).
If there is no error, realpath() returns a pointer to the resolved_path.
Otherwise, it returns a NULL pointer, the contents of the array resolved_path are unde-
fined, and errno is set to indicate the error.
EACCES Read or search permission was denied for a component of the path prefix.
EINVAL path is NULL. (In glibc versions before 2.3, this error is also returned if
resolved_path is NULL.)
EIO An I/O error occurred while reading from the filesystem.
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in translating the pathname.
A component of a pathname exceeded NAME_MAX characters, or an entire pathname
exceeded PATH_MAX characters.
ENOENT The named file does not exist.
A component of the path prefix is not a directory.
On Linux, this function appeared in libc 4.5.21.
POSIX.1-2001 says that the behavior if resolved_path is NULL is implementation-defined.
POSIX.1-2008 specifies the behavior described in this page.
In 4.4BSD and Solaris, the limit on the pathname length is MAXPATHLEN (found in
<sys/param.h>). SUSv2 prescribes PATH_MAX and NAME_MAX, as found in <limits.h> or pro-
vided by the pathconf(3) function. A typical source fragment would be
path_max = PATH_MAX;
path_max = pathconf(path, _PC_PATH_MAX);
if (path_max <= 0)
path_max = 4096;
(But see the BUGS section.)
The prototype of realpath() is given in <unistd.h> in libc4 and libc5, but in <stdlib.h>
If the call fails with either EACCES or ENOENT and resolved_path is not NULL, then the
prefix of path that is not readable or does not exist is returned in resolved_path.
The POSIX.1-2001 standard version of this function is broken by design, since it is impos-
sible to determine a suitable size for the output buffer, resolved_path. According to
POSIX.1-2001 a buffer of size PATH_MAX suffices, but PATH_MAX need not be a defined con-
stant, and may have to be obtained using pathconf(3). And asking pathconf(3) does not
really help, since, on the one hand POSIX warns that the result of pathconf(3) may be huge
and unsuitable for mallocing memory, and on the other hand pathconf(3) may return -1 to
signify that PATH_MAX is not bounded. The resolved_path == NULL feature, not standardized
in POSIX.1-2001, but standardized in POSIX.1-2008, allows this design problem to be
The libc4 and libc5 implementation contained a buffer overflow (fixed in libc-5.4.13).
Thus, set-user-ID programs like mount(8) needed a private version.
readlink(2), canonicalize_file_name(3), getcwd(3), pathconf(3), sysconf(3)
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