lockf(3C) Standard C Library Functions lockf(3C)
lockf - record locking on files
int lockf(int fildes, int function, off_t size);
The lockf() function allows sections of a file to be locked; advisory or mandatory write locks depending on the mode bits of the file (see
chmod(2)). Calls to lockf() from other threads that attempt to lock the locked file section will either return an error value or be put to
sleep until the resource becomes unlocked. All the locks for a process are removed when the process terminates. See fcntl(2) for more
information about record locking.
The fildes argument is an open file descriptor. The file descriptor must have O_WRONLY or O_RDWR permission in order to establish locks
with this function call.
The function argument is a control value that specifies the action to be taken. The permissible values for function are defined in
<unistd.h> as follows:
#define F_ULOCK 0 /* unlock previously locked section */
#define F_LOCK 1 /* lock section for exclusive use */
#define F_TLOCK 2 /* test & lock section for exclusive use */
#define F_TEST 3 /* test section for other locks */
All other values of function are reserved for future extensions and will result in an error if not implemented.
F_TEST is used to detect if a lock by another process is present on the specified section. F_LOCK and F_TLOCK both lock a section of a file
if the section is available. F_ULOCK removes locks from a section of the file.
The size argument is the number of contiguous bytes to be locked or unlocked. The resource to be locked or unlocked starts at the current
offset in the file and extends forward for a positive size and backward for a negative size (the preceding bytes up to but not including
the current offset). If size is zero, the section from the current offset through the largest file offset is locked (that is, from the cur-
rent offset through the present or any future end-of-file). An area need not be allocated to the file in order to be locked as such locks
may exist past the end-of-file.
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. Locked sections will be unlocked starting at the point of the offset through size bytes or to the end of file if size is (off_t)
0. When this situation occurs, or if this situation occurs in adjacent sections, the sections are combined into a single section. If the
request requires that a new element be added to the table of active locks and this table is already full, an error is returned, and the new
section is not locked.
F_LOCK and F_TLOCK requests differ only by the action taken if the resource is not available. F_LOCK blocks the calling thread until the
resource is available. F_TLOCK causes the function to return -1 and set errno to EAGAIN if the section is already locked by another
File locks are released on first close by the locking process of any file descriptor for the file.
F_ULOCK requests may, in whole or in part, release one or more locked sections controlled by the process. When sections are not fully
released, the remaining sections are still locked by the process. Releasing the center section of a locked section requires an additional
element in the table of active locks. If this table is full, an errno is set to EDEADLK and the requested section is not released.
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 requested section.
A potential for deadlock occurs if the threads of a process controlling a locked resource is put to sleep by requesting another process's
locked resource. Thus calls to lockf() or fcntl(2) scan for a deadlock prior to sleeping on a locked resource. An error return is made if
sleeping on the locked resource would cause a deadlock.
Sleeping on a resource is interrupted with any signal. The alarm(2) function may be used to provide a timeout facility in applications that
require this facility.
Upon successful completion, 0 is returned. Otherwise, -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the error.
The lockf() function will fail if:
EBADF The fildes argument is not a valid open file descriptor; or function is F_LOCK or F_TLOCK and fildes is not a valid
file descriptor open for writing.
EACCES or EAGAIN The function argument is F_TLOCK or F_TEST and the section is already locked by another process.
EDEADLK The function argument is F_LOCK and a deadlock is detected.
EINTR A signal was caught during execution of the function.
ECOMM The fildes argument is on a remote machine and the link to that machine is no longer active.
EINVAL The function argument is not one of F_LOCK, F_TLOCK, F_TEST, or F_ULOCK; or size plus the current file offset is less
EOVERFLOW The offset of the first, or if size is not 0 then the last, byte in the requested section cannot be represented cor-
rectly in an object of type off_t.
The lockf() function may fail if:
EAGAIN The function argument is F_LOCK or F_TLOCK and the file is mapped with mmap(2).
EDEADLK or ENOLCK The function argument is F_LOCK, F_TLOCK, or F_ULOCK and the request would cause the number of locks to exceed a
EOPNOTSUPP or EINVAL The locking of files of the type indicated by the fildes argument is not supported.
Record-locking should not be used in combination with the fopen(3C), fread(3C), fwrite(3C) and other stdio functions. Instead, the more
primitive, non-buffered functions (such as open(2)) should be used. Unexpected results may occur in processes that do buffering in the
user address space. The process may later read/write data which is/was locked. The stdio functions are the most common source of unex-
The alarm(2) function may be used to provide a timeout facility in applications requiring it.
The lockf() function has a transitional interface for 64-bit file offsets. See lf64(5).
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
|Interface Stability |Standard |
|MT-Level |MT-Safe |
Intro(2), alarm(2), chmod(2), close(2), creat(2), fcntl(2), mmap(2), open(2), read(2), write(2), attributes(5), lf64(5), standards(5)
SunOS 5.11 10 Apr 2002 lockf(3C)