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OSX 10.6.2 - man page for access (osx section 2)

ACCESS(2)						      BSD System Calls Manual							 ACCESS(2)

NAME
access -- check access permissions of a file or pathname
SYNOPSIS
#include <unistd.h> int access(const char *path, int amode);
DESCRIPTION
The access() function checks the accessibility of the file named by path for the access permissions indicated by amode. The value of amode is the bitwise inclusive OR of the access permissions to be checked (R_OK for read permission, W_OK for write permission and X_OK for exe- cute/search permission) or the existence test, F_OK. All components of the pathname path are checked for access permissions (including F_OK). The real user ID is used in place of the effective user ID and the real group access list (including the real group ID) are used in place of the effective ID for verifying permission. Even if a process has appropriate privileges and indicates success for X_OK, the file may not actually have execute permission bits set. Likewise for R_OK and W_OK.
RETURN VALUES
If path cannot be found or if any of the desired access modes would not be granted, then a -1 value is returned and the global integer vari- able errno is set to indicate the error. Otherwise, a 0 value is returned.
ERRORS
Access to the file is denied if: [EACCES] Permission bits of the file mode do not permit the requested access, or search permission is denied on a component of the path prefix. The owner of a file has permission checked with respect to the ``owner'' read, write, and execute mode bits, members of the file's group other than the owner have permission checked with respect to the ``group'' mode bits, and all others have permissions checked with respect to the ``other'' mode bits. [EFAULT] Path points outside the process's allocated address space. [EINVAL] An invalid value was specified for amode. [EIO] An I/O error occurred while reading from or writing to the file system. [ELOOP] Too many symbolic links were encountered in translating the pathname. [ENAMETOOLONG] A component of a pathname exceeded {NAME_MAX} characters, or an entire path name exceeded {PATH_MAX} characters. [ENOENT] The named file does not exist. [ENOTDIR] A component of the path prefix is not a directory. [EROFS] Write access is requested for a file on a read-only file system. [ETXTBSY] Write access is requested for a pure procedure (shared text) file that is presently being executed.
SEE ALSO
chmod(2), stat(2)
STANDARDS
The access() function conforms to ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990 (``POSIX.1'').
CAVEAT
Access() is a potential security hole and should never be used. 4th Berkeley Distribution April 1, 1994 4th Berkeley Distribution
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