PTHREAD_MUTEX_LOCK(P) POSIX Programmer's Manual PTHREAD_MUTEX_LOCK(P)
pthread_mutex_lock, pthread_mutex_trylock, pthread_mutex_unlock - lock and unlock a mutex
int pthread_mutex_lock(pthread_mutex_t *mutex);
int pthread_mutex_trylock(pthread_mutex_t *mutex);
int pthread_mutex_unlock(pthread_mutex_t *mutex);
The mutex object referenced by mutex shall be locked by calling pthread_mutex_lock(). If
the mutex is already locked, the calling thread shall block until the mutex becomes avail-
able. This operation shall return with the mutex object referenced by mutex in the locked
state with the calling thread as its owner.
If the mutex type is PTHREAD_MUTEX_NORMAL, deadlock detection shall not be provided.
Attempting to relock the mutex causes deadlock. If a thread attempts to unlock a mutex
that it has not locked or a mutex which is unlocked, undefined behavior results.
If the mutex type is PTHREAD_MUTEX_ERRORCHECK, then error checking shall be provided. If a
thread attempts to relock a mutex that it has already locked, an error shall be returned.
If a thread attempts to unlock a mutex that it has not locked or a mutex which is
unlocked, an error shall be returned.
If the mutex type is PTHREAD_MUTEX_RECURSIVE, then the mutex shall maintain the concept of
a lock count. When a thread successfully acquires a mutex for the first time, the lock
count shall be set to one. Every time a thread relocks this mutex, the lock count shall be
incremented by one. Each time the thread unlocks the mutex, the lock count shall be decre-
mented by one. When the lock count reaches zero, the mutex shall become available for
other threads to acquire. If a thread attempts to unlock a mutex that it has not locked or
a mutex which is unlocked, an error shall be returned.
If the mutex type is PTHREAD_MUTEX_DEFAULT, attempting to recursively lock the mutex
results in undefined behavior. Attempting to unlock the mutex if it was not locked by the
calling thread results in undefined behavior. Attempting to unlock the mutex if it is not
locked results in undefined behavior.
The pthread_mutex_trylock() function shall be equivalent to pthread_mutex_lock(), except
that if the mutex object referenced by mutex is currently locked (by any thread, including
the current thread), the call shall return immediately. If the mutex type is
PTHREAD_MUTEX_RECURSIVE and the mutex is currently owned by the calling thread, the mutex
lock count shall be incremented by one and the pthread_mutex_trylock() function shall
immediately return success.
The pthread_mutex_unlock() function shall release the mutex object referenced by mutex.
The manner in which a mutex is released is dependent upon the mutex's type attribute. If
there are threads blocked on the mutex object referenced by mutex when
pthread_mutex_unlock() is called, resulting in the mutex becoming available, the schedul-
ing policy shall determine which thread shall acquire the mutex.
(In the case of PTHREAD_MUTEX_RECURSIVE mutexes, the mutex shall become available when the
count reaches zero and the calling thread no longer has any locks on this mutex.)
If a signal is delivered to a thread waiting for a mutex, upon return from the signal han-
dler the thread shall resume waiting for the mutex as if it was not interrupted.
If successful, the pthread_mutex_lock() and pthread_mutex_unlock() functions shall return
zero; otherwise, an error number shall be returned to indicate the error.
The pthread_mutex_trylock() function shall return zero if a lock on the mutex object ref-
erenced by mutex is acquired. Otherwise, an error number is returned to indicate the
The pthread_mutex_lock() and pthread_mutex_trylock() functions shall fail if:
EINVAL The mutex was created with the protocol attribute having the value
PTHREAD_PRIO_PROTECT and the calling thread's priority is higher than the mutex's
current priority ceiling.
The pthread_mutex_trylock() function shall fail if:
EBUSY The mutex could not be acquired because it was already locked.
The pthread_mutex_lock(), pthread_mutex_trylock(), and pthread_mutex_unlock() functions
may fail if:
EINVAL The value specified by mutex does not refer to an initialized mutex object.
EAGAIN The mutex could not be acquired because the maximum number of recursive locks for
mutex has been exceeded.
The pthread_mutex_lock() function may fail if:
The current thread already owns the mutex.
The pthread_mutex_unlock() function may fail if:
EPERM The current thread does not own the mutex.
These functions shall not return an error code of [EINTR].
The following sections are informative.
Mutex objects are intended to serve as a low-level primitive from which other thread syn-
chronization functions can be built. As such, the implementation of mutexes should be as
efficient as possible, and this has ramifications on the features available at the inter-
The mutex functions and the particular default settings of the mutex attributes have been
motivated by the desire to not preclude fast, inlined implementations of mutex locking and
For example, deadlocking on a double-lock is explicitly allowed behavior in order to avoid
requiring more overhead in the basic mechanism than is absolutely necessary. (More
"friendly" mutexes that detect deadlock or that allow multiple locking by the same thread
are easily constructed by the user via the other mechanisms provided. For example,
pthread_self() can be used to record mutex ownership.) Implementations might also choose
to provide such extended features as options via special mutex attributes.
Since most attributes only need to be checked when a thread is going to be blocked, the
use of attributes does not slow the (common) mutex-locking case.
Likewise, while being able to extract the thread ID of the owner of a mutex might be
desirable, it would require storing the current thread ID when each mutex is locked, and
this could incur unacceptable levels of overhead. Similar arguments apply to a
pthread_mutex_destroy() , pthread_mutex_timedlock() , the Base Definitions volume of
IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <pthread.h>
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std
1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System
Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by
the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the
event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group
Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The orig-
inal Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .
IEEE/The Open Group 2003 PTHREAD_MUTEX_LOCK(P)