FOPEN(3) Linux Programmer's Manual FOPEN(3)
fopen, fdopen, freopen - stream open functions
FILE *fopen(const char *path, const char *mode);
FILE *fdopen(int fildes, const char *mode);
FILE *freopen(const char *path, const char *mode, FILE *stream);
The fopen function opens the file whose name is the string pointed to by path and asso-
ciates a stream with it.
The argument mode points to a string beginning with one of the following sequences (Addi-
tional characters may follow these sequences.):
r Open text file for reading. The stream is positioned at the beginning of the file.
r+ Open for reading and writing. The stream is positioned at the beginning of the
w Truncate file to zero length or create text file for writing. The stream is posi-
tioned at the beginning of the file.
w+ Open for reading and writing. The file is created if it does not exist, otherwise
it is truncated. The stream is positioned at the beginning of the file.
a Open for appending (writing at end of file). The file is created if it does not
exist. The stream is positioned at the end of the file.
a+ Open for reading and appending (writing at end of file). The file is created if it
does not exist. The stream is positioned at the end of the file.
The mode string can also include the letter ``b'' either as a last character or as a char-
acter between the characters in any of the two-character strings described above. This is
strictly for compatibility with ANSI X3.159-1989 (``ANSI C'') and has no effect; the ``b''
is ignored on all POSIX conforming systems, including Linux. (Other systems may treat
text files and binary files differently, and adding the ``b'' may be a good idea if you do
I/O to a binary file and expect that your program may be ported to non-Unix environments.)
Any created files will have mode S_IRUSR|S_IWUSR|S_IRGRP|S_IWGRP|S_IROTH|S_IWOTH (0666),
as modified by the process' umask value (see umask(2)).
Reads and writes may be intermixed on read/write streams in any order. Note that ANSI C
requires that a file positioning function intervene between output and input, unless an
input operation encounters end-of-file. (If this condition is not met, then a read is
allowed to return the result of writes other than the most recent.) Therefore it is good
practice (and indeed sometimes necessary under Linux) to put an fseek or fgetpos operation
between write and read operations on such a stream. This operation may be an apparent no-
op (as in fseek(..., 0L, SEEK_CUR) called for its synchronizing side effect.
Opening a file in append mode (a as the first character of mode) causes all subsequent
write operations to this stream to occur at end-of-file, as if preceded by an
The fdopen function associates a stream with the existing file descriptor, fildes. The
mode of the stream (one of the values "r", "r+", "w", "w+", "a", "a+") must be compatible
with the mode of the file descriptor. The file position indicator of the new stream is
set to that belonging to fildes, and the error and end-of-file indicators are cleared.
Modes "w" or "w+" do not cause truncation of the file. The file descriptor is not dup'ed,
and will be closed when the stream created by fdopen is closed. The result of applying
fdopen to a shared memory object is undefined.
The freopen function opens the file whose name is the string pointed to by path and asso-
ciates the stream pointed to by stream with it. The original stream (if it exists) is
closed. The mode argument is used just as in the fopen function. The primary use of the
freopen function is to change the file associated with a standard text stream (stderr,
stdin, or stdout).
Upon successful completion fopen, fdopen and freopen return a FILE pointer. Otherwise,
NULL is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the error.
EINVAL The mode provided to fopen, fdopen, or freopen was invalid.
The fopen, fdopen and freopen functions may also fail and set errno for any of the errors
specified for the routine malloc(3).
The fopen function may also fail and set errno for any of the errors specified for the
The fdopen function may also fail and set errno for any of the errors specified for the
The freopen function may also fail and set errno for any of the errors specified for the
routines open(2), fclose(3) and fflush(3).
The fopen and freopen functions conform to ANSI X3.159-1989 (``ANSI C''). The fdopen
function conforms to IEEE Std1003.1-1988 (``POSIX.1'').
open(2), fclose(3), fileno(3)
BSD MANPAGE 2002-01-03 FOPEN(3)