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FLOCK(2) System Calls Manual FLOCK(2)

flockapply or remove an advisory lock on an open file

library “libc”

#include <fcntl.h>

#define LOCK_SH 1 /* shared lock */
#define LOCK_EX 2 /* exclusive lock */
#define LOCK_NB 4 /* don't block when locking */
#define LOCK_UN 8 /* unlock */

int
flock(int fd, int operation);

flock() applies or removes an advisory lock on the file associated with the file descriptor fd. A lock is applied by specifying an operation parameter that is one of LOCK_SH or LOCK_EX with the optional addition of LOCK_NB. To unlock an existing lock operation should be LOCK_UN.

Advisory locks allow cooperating processes to perform consistent operations on files, but do not guarantee consistency (i.e., processes may still access files without using advisory locks possibly resulting in inconsistencies).

The locking mechanism allows two types of locks: shared locks and exclusive locks. At any time multiple shared locks may be applied to a file, but at no time are multiple exclusive, or both shared and exclusive, locks allowed simultaneously on a file.

A shared lock may be upgraded to an exclusive lock, and vice versa, simply by specifying the appropriate lock type; this results in the previous lock being released and the new lock applied (possibly after other processes have gained and released the lock).

Requesting a lock on an object that is already locked normally causes the caller to be blocked until the lock may be acquired. If LOCK_NB is included in operation, then this will not happen; instead the call will fail and the error EAGAIN will be returned.

Locks are on files, not file descriptors. That is, file descriptors duplicated through dup(2) or fork(2) do not result in multiple instances of a lock, but rather multiple references to a single lock. If a process holding a lock on a file forks and the child explicitly unlocks the file, the parent will lose its lock.

Processes blocked awaiting a lock may be awakened by signals.

Zero is returned if the operation was successful; on an error a -1 is returned and an error code is left in the global location errno.

The flock() call fails if:

[]
The file is locked and the LOCK_NB option was specified.
[]
The argument fd is an invalid descriptor.
[]
The argument operation does not include exactly one of LOCK_EX, LOCK_SH, or LOCK_UN.
[]
The argument fd refers to an object other than a file.

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

The flock() function call appeared in 4.2BSD.

October 15, 2011 NetBSD-7.0.1