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lseek.2

LSEEK

Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (2)
Updated: 2001-09-24
Index Return to Main Contents
 

NAME

lseek - reposition read/write file offset  

SYNOPSIS

#include <sys/types.h>
#include <unistd.h>

off_t lseek(int fd, off_t offset, int whence);  

DESCRIPTION

The lseek() function repositions the offset of the open file associated with the file descriptor fd to the argument offset according to the directive whence as follows:
SEEK_SET
The offset is set to offset bytes.
SEEK_CUR
The offset is set to its current location plus offset bytes.
SEEK_END
The offset is set to the size of the file plus offset bytes.

The lseek() function allows the file offset to be set beyond the end of the file (but this does not change the size of the file). If data is later written at this point, subsequent reads of the data in the gap (a "hole") return null bytes ('\0') until data is actually written into the gap.  

RETURN VALUE

Upon successful completion, lseek() returns the resulting offset location as measured in bytes from the beginning of the file. Otherwise, a value of (off_t) -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the error.  

ERRORS

EBADF
fd is not an open file descriptor.
EINVAL
whence is not one of SEEK_SET, SEEK_CUR, SEEK_END; or the resulting file offset would be negative, or beyond the end of a seekable device.
EOVERFLOW
The resulting file offset cannot be represented in an off_t.
ESPIPE
fd is associated with a pipe, socket, or FIFO.
 

CONFORMING TO

SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001.  

NOTES

This document's use of whence is incorrect English, but maintained for historical reasons.

Some devices are incapable of seeking and POSIX does not specify which devices must support lseek().

On Linux, using lseek() on a tty device returns ESPIPE.

When converting old code, substitute values for whence with the following macros:

oldnew
0SEEK_SET
1SEEK_CUR
2SEEK_END
L_SETSEEK_SET
L_INCRSEEK_CUR
L_XTNDSEEK_END

SVr1-3 returns long instead of off_t, BSD returns int.

Note that file descriptors created by dup(2) or fork(2) share the current file position pointer, so seeking on such files may be subject to race conditions.  

SEE ALSO

dup(2), fork(2), open(2), fseek(3), lseek64(3), posix_fallocate(3)  

COLOPHON

This page is part of release 3.21 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
RETURN VALUE
ERRORS
CONFORMING TO
NOTES
SEE ALSO
COLOPHON

 

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