UNLINK(2) Linux Programmer's Manual UNLINK(2)
unlink - delete a name and possibly the file it refers to
int unlink(const char *pathname);
unlink deletes a name from the filesystem. If that name was the last link to a file and no
processes have the file open the file is deleted and the space it was using is made avail-
able for reuse.
If the name was the last link to a file but any processes still have the file open the
file will remain in existence until the last file descriptor referring to it is closed.
If the name referred to a symbolic link the link is removed.
If the name referred to a socket, fifo or device the name for it is removed but processes
which have the object open may continue to use it.
On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.
EACCES Write access to the directory containing pathname is not allowed for the process's
effective uid, or one of the directories in pathname did not allow search (execute)
EPERM or EACCES
The directory containing pathname has the sticky-bit (S_ISVTX) set and the
process's effective uid is neither the uid of the file to be deleted nor that of
the directory containing it.
EPERM (Linux only)
The filesystem does not allow unlinking of files.
EPERM The system does not allow unlinking of directories, or unlinking of directories
requires privileges that the current process doesn't have. (This is the POSIX pre-
scribed error return.)
EISDIR pathname refers to a directory. (This is the non-POSIX value returned by Linux
EBUSY (not on Linux)
The file pathname cannot be unlinked because it is being used by the system or
another process and the implementation considers this an error.
EFAULT pathname points outside your accessible address space.
pathname was too long.
ENOENT A component in pathname does not exist or is a dangling symbolic link, or pathname
A component used as a directory in pathname is not, in fact, a directory.
ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.
EROFS pathname refers to a file on a read-only filesystem.
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in translating pathname.
EIO An I/O error occurred.
SVr4, SVID, POSIX, X/OPEN, 4.3BSD. SVr4 documents additional error conditions EINTR,
EMULTIHOP, ETXTBSY, ENOLINK.
Infelicities in the protocol underlying NFS can cause the unexpected disappearance of
files which are still being used.
link(2), rename(2), open(2), rmdir(2), mknod(2), mkfifo(3), remove(3), rm(1)
Linux 2.0.30 1997-08-21 UNLINK(2)