COPYFILE(3) BSD Library Functions Manual COPYFILE(3)
copyfile, fcopyfile, copyfile_state_alloc, copyfile_state_free, copyfile_state_get, copyfile_state_set -- copy a file
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
copyfile(const char *from, const char *to, copyfile_state_t state, copyfile_flags_t flags);
fcopyfile(int from, int to, copyfile_state_t state, copyfile_flags_t flags);
copyfile_state_get(copyfile_state_t state, uint32_t flag, void * dst);
copyfile_state_set(copyfile_state_t state, uint32_t flag, const void * src);
(*copyfile_callback_t)(int what, int stage, copyfile_state_t state, const char * src, const char * dst, void * ctx);
These functions are used to copy a file's data and/or metadata. (Metadata consists of permissions, extended attributes, access control
lists, and so forth.)
The copyfile_state_alloc() function initializes a copyfile_state_t object (which is an opaque data type). This object can be passed to
copyfile() and fcopyfile(); copyfile_state_get() and copyfile_state_set() can be used to manipulate the state (see below). The
copyfile_state_free() function is used to deallocate the object and its contents.
The copyfile() function can copy the named from file to the named to file; the fcopyfile() function does the same, but using the file
descriptors of already-opened files. If the state parameter is the return value from copyfile_state_alloc(), then copyfile() and fcopyfile()
will use the information from the state object; if it is NULL, then both functions will work normally, but less control will be available to
the caller. The flags parameter controls which contents are copied:
COPYFILE_ACL Copy the source file's access control lists.
COPYFILE_STAT Copy the source file's POSIX information (mode, modification time, etc.).
COPYFILE_XATTR Copy the source file's extended attributes.
COPYFILE_DATA Copy the source file's data.
These values may be or'd together; several convenience macros are provided:
COPYFILE_SECURITY Copy the source file's POSIX and ACL information; equivalent to (COPYFILE_STAT|COPYFILE_ACL).
COPYFILE_METADATA Copy the metadata; equivalent to (COPYFILE_SECURITY|COPYFILE_XATTR).
COPYFILE_ALL Copy the entire file; equivalent to (COPYFILE_METADATA|COPYFILE_DATA).
The copyfile() and fcopyfile() functions can also have their behavior modified by the following flags:
COPYFILE_RECURSIVE Causes copyfile() to recursively copy a hierarchy. This flag is not used by fcopyfile(); see below for more informa-
COPYFILE_CHECK Return a bitmask (corresponding to the flags argument) indicating which contents would be copied; no data are actually
copied. (E.g., if flags was set to COPYFILE_CHECK|COPYFILE_METADATA, and the from file had extended attributes but no
ACLs, the return value would be COPYFILE_XATTR .)
COPYFILE_PACK Serialize the from file. The to file is an AppleDouble-format file.
COPYFILE_UNPACK Unserialize the from file. The from file is an AppleDouble-format file; the to file will have the extended
attributes, ACLs, resource fork, and FinderInfo data from the to file, regardless of the flags argument passed in.
COPYFILE_EXCL Fail if the to file already exists. (This is only applicable for the copyfile() function.)
COPYFILE_NOFOLLOW_SRC Do not follow the from file, if it is a symbolic link. (This is only applicable for the copyfile() function.)
COPYFILE_NOFOLLOW_DST Do not follow the to file, if it is a symbolic link. (This is only applicable for the copyfile() function.)
COPYFILE_MOVE Unlink (using remove(3)) the from file. (This is only applicable for the copyfile() function.) No error is returned
if remove(3) fails. Note that remove(3) removes a symbolic link itself, not the target of the link.
COPYFILE_UNLINK Unlink the to file before starting. (This is only applicable for the copyfile() function.)
COPYFILE_NOFOLLOW This is a convenience macro, equivalent to (COPYFILE_NOFOLLOW_DST|COPYFILE_NOFOLLOW_SRC).
The copyfile_state_get() and copyfile_state_set() functions can be used to manipulate the copyfile_state_t object returned by
copyfile_state_alloc(). In both functions, the dst parameter's type depends on the flag parameter that is passed in.
COPYFILE_STATE_DST_FD Get or set the file descriptor associated with the source (or destination) file. If this has not been initial-
ized yet, the value will be -2. The dst (for copyfile_state_get()) and src (for copyfile_state_set()) parame-
ters are pointers to int.
COPYFILE_STATE_DST_FILENAME Get or set the filename associated with the source (or destination) file. If it has not been initialized yet,
the value will be NULL. For copyfile_state_set(), the src parameter is a pointer to a C string (i.e., char* );
copyfile_state_set() makes a private copy of this string. For copyfile_state_get() function, the dst parameter
is a pointer to a pointer to a C string (i.e., char** ); the returned value is a pointer to the state 's copy,
and must not be modified or released.
COPYFILE_STATE_STATUS_CB Get or set the callback status function (currently only used for recursive copies; see below for details). The
src parameter is a pointer to a function of type copyfile_callback_t (see above).
COPYFILE_STATE_STATUS_CTX Get or set the context parameter for the status call-back function (see below for details). The src parameter
is a void *.
COPYFILE_STATE_QUARANTINE Get or set the quarantine information with the source file. The src parameter is a pointer to an opaque object
(type void * ).
COPYFILE_STATE_COPIED Get the number of data bytes copied so far. (Only valid for copyfile_state_get(); see below for more details
about callbacks.) The dst parameter is a pointer to off_t (type off_t * ).
COPYFILE_STATE_XATTRNAME Get the name of the extended attribute during a callback for COPYFILE_COPY_XATTR (see below for details). This
field cannot be set, and may be NULL.
When given the COPYFILE_RECURSIVE flag, copyfile() (but not fcopyfile()) will use the fts(3) functions to recursively descend into the source
file-system object. It then calls copyfile() on each of the entries it finds that way. If a call-back function is given (using
copyfile_state_set() and COPYFILE_STATE_STATUS_CB ), the call-back function will be called four times for each directory object, and twice
for all other objects. (Each directory will be examined twice, once on entry -- before copying each of the objects contained in the direc-
tory -- and once on exit -- after copying each object contained in the directory, in order to perform some final cleanup.)
The call-back function will have one of the following values as the first argument, indicating what is being copied:
COPYFILE_RECURSE_FILE The object being copied is a file (or, rather, something other than a directory).
COPYFILE_RECURSE_DIR The object being copied is a directory, and is being entered. (That is, none of the filesystem objects con-
tained within the directory have been copied yet.)
COPYFILE_RECURSE_DIR_CLEANUP The object being copied is a directory, and all of the objects contained have been copied. At this stage, the
destination directory being copied will have any extra permissions that were added to allow the copying will be
COPYFILE_RECURSE_ERROR There was an error in processing an element of the source hierarchy; this happens when fts(3) returns an error
or unknown file type. (Currently, the second argument to the call-back function will always be COPYFILE_ERR in
The second argument to the call-back function will indicate the stage of the copy, and will be one of the following values:
COPYFILE_START Before copying has begun. The third parameter will be a newly-created copyfile_state_t object with the call-back function
and context pre-loaded.
COPYFILE_FINISH After copying has successfully finished.
COPYFILE_ERR Indicates an error has happened at some stage. If the first argument to the call-back function is COPYFILE_RECURSE_ERROR,
then an error occurred while processing the source hierarchy; otherwise, it will indicate what type of object was being
copied, and errno will be set to indicate the error.
The fourth and fifth parameters are the source and destination paths that are to be copied (or have been copied, or failed to copy, depending
on the second argument).
The last argument to the call-back function will be the value set by COPYFILE_STATE_STATUS_CTX, if any.
The call-back function is required to return one of the following values:
COPYFILE_CONTINUE The copy will continue as expected.
COPYFILE_SKIP This object will be skipped, and the next object will be processed. (Note that, when entering a directory. returning
COPYFILE_SKIP from the call-back function will prevent the contents of the directory from being copied.)
COPYFILE_QUIT The entire copy is aborted at this stage. Any filesystem objects created up to this point will remain. copyfile() will
return -1, but errno will be unmodified.
The call-back function must always return one of the values listed above; if not, the results are undefined.
The call-back function will be called twice for each object (and an additional two times for directory cleanup); the first call will have a
stage parameter of COPYFILE_START; the second time, that value will be either COPYFILE_FINISH or COPYFILE_ERR to indicate a successful com-
pletion, or an error during processing. In the event of an error, the errno value will be set appropriately.
The COPYFILE_PACK, COPYFILE_UNPACK, COPYFILE_MOVE, and COPYFILE_UNLINK flags are not used during a recursive copy, and will result in an
error being returned.
In addition to the recursive callbacks described above, copyfile() and fcopyfile() will also use a callback to report data (e.g.,
COPYFILE_DATA) progress. If given, the callback will be invoked on each write(2) call. The first argument to the callback function will be
COPYFILE_COPY_DATA. The second argument will either be COPYFILE_PROGRESS (indicating that the write was successful), or COPYFILE_ERR (indi-
cating that there was an error of some sort).
The amount of data bytes copied so far can be retrieved using copyfile_state_get(), with the COPYFILE_STATE_COPIED requestor (the argument
type is a pointer to off_t ).
When copying extended attributes, the first argument to the callback function will be COPYFILE_COPY_XATTR. The other arguments will be as
described for COPYFILE_COPY_DATA; the name of the extended attribute being copied may be retrieved using copyfile_state_get() and the parame-
ter COPYFILE_STATE_XATTRNAME. When using COPYFILE_PACK, the callback may be called with COPYFILE_START for each of the extended attributes
first, followed by COPYFILE_PROGRESS before getting and packing the data for each individual attribute, and then COPYFILE_FINISH when fin-
ished with each individual attribute. (That is, COPYFILE_START may be called for all of the extended attributes, before the first callback
with COPYFILE_PROGRESS is invoked.) Any attribute skipped by returning COPYFILE_SKIP from the COPYFILE_START callback will not be placed
into the packed output file.
The return value for the data callback must be one of
COPYFILE_CONTINUE The copy will continue as expected. (In the case of error, it will attempt to write the data again.)
COPYFILE_SKIP The data copy will be aborted, but without error.
COPYFILE_QUIT The data copy will be aborted; in the case of COPYFILE_PROGRESS, errno will be set to ECANCELED.
While the src and dst parameters will be passed in, they may be NULL in the case of fcopyfile().
Except when given the COPYFILE_CHECK flag, copyfile() and fcopyfile() return less than 0 on error, and 0 on success. All of the other func-
tions return 0 on success, and less than 0 on error.
Both copyfile() and fcopyfile() can copy symbolic links; there is a gap between when the source link is examined and the actual copy is
started, and this can be a potential security risk, especially if the process has elevated privileges.
When performing a recursive copy, if the source hierarchy changes while the copy is occurring, the results are undefined.
fcopyfile() does not reset the seek position for either source or destination. This can result in the destination file being a different
size than the source file.
copyfile() and fcopyfile() will fail if:
[EINVAL] An invalid flag was passed in with COPYFILE_RECURSIVE.
[EINVAL] The from or to parameter to copyfile() was a NULL pointer.
[EINVAL] The from or to parameter to copyfile() was a negative number.
[ENOMEM] A memory allocation failed.
[ENOTSUP] The source file was not a directory, symbolic link, or regular file.
[ECANCELED] The copy was cancelled by callback.
In addition, both functions may set errno via an underlying library or system call.
/* Initialize a state variable */
s = copyfile_state_alloc();
/* Copy the data and extended attributes of one file to another */
copyfile("/tmp/f1", "/tmp/f2", s, COPYFILE_DATA | COPYFILE_XATTR);
/* Convert a file to an AppleDouble file for serialization */
copyfile("/tmp/f2", "/tmp/tmpfile", NULL, COPYFILE_ALL | COPYFILE_PACK);
/* Release the state variable */
/* A more complex way to call copyfile() */
s = copyfile_state_alloc();
copyfile_state_set(s, COPYFILE_STATE_SRC_FILENAME, "/tmp/foo");
/* One of src or dst must be set... rest can come from the state */
copyfile(NULL, "/tmp/bar", s, COPYFILE_ALL);
/* Now copy the same source file to another destination file */
copyfile(NULL, "/tmp/car", s, COPYFILE_ALL);
/* Remove extended attributes from a file */
copyfile("/dev/null", "/tmp/bar", NULL, COPYFILE_XATTR);
listxattr(2), getxattr(2), setxattr(2), acl(3)
Both copyfile() functions lack a way to set the input or output block size.
Recursive copies do not honor hard links.
The copyfile() API was introduced in Mac OS X 10.5.
April 27, 2006 BSD