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Linux / Unix Command: flock
Command Library


flock - apply or remove an advisory lock on an open file  


#include <sys/file.h>

int flock(int fd, int operation);  


Apply or remove an advisory lock on the open file specified by fd. The parameter operation is one of the following:

Place a shared lock. More than one process may hold a shared lock for a given file at a given time.
Place an exclusive lock. Only one process may hold an exclusive lock for a given file at a given time.
Remove an existing lock held by this process.

A call to flock() may block if an incompatible lock is held by another process. To make a non-blocking request, include LOCK_NB (by ORing) with any of the above operations.

A single file may not simultaneously have both shared and exclusive locks.

Locks created by flock() are associated with a file, or, more precisely, an open file table entry. This means that duplicate file descriptors (created by, for example, fork(2) or dup(2)) refer to the same lock, and this lock may be modified or released using any of these descriptors. Furthermore, the lock is released either by an explicit LOCK_UN operation on any of these duplicate descriptors, or when all such descriptors have been closed.

A process may only hold one type of lock (shared or exclusive) on a file. Subsequent flock() calls on an already locked file will convert an existing lock to the new lock mode.

Locks created by flock() are preserved across an execve(2).

A shared or exclusive lock can be placed on a file regardless of the mode in which the file was opened.  


On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.  


The file is locked and the LOCK_NB flag was selected.
fd is not a not an open file descriptor.
While waiting to acquire a lock, the call was interrupted by delivery of a signal caught by a handler.
operation is invalid.
The kernel ran out of memory for allocating lock records.


4.4BSD (the flock(2) call first appeared in 4.2BSD). A version of flock(2), possibly implemented in terms of fcntl(2), appears on most Unices.  


open(2), close(2), dup(2), execve(2), fcntl(2), fork(2), lockf(3)

There are also locks.txt and mandatory.txt in /usr/src/linux/Documentation.

Important: Use the man command (% man) to see how a command is used on your particular computer.

>> Linux/Unix Command Library

>> Shell Command Library

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