BRKSection: Linux Programmer's Manual (2)
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NAMEbrk, sbrk - change data segment size
int brk(void *addr);
void *sbrk(intptr_t increment);
Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):
DESCRIPTIONbrk() and sbrk() change the location of the program break, which defines the end of the process's data segment (i.e., the program break is the first location after the end of the uninitialized data segment). Increasing the program break has the effect of allocating memory to the process; decreasing the break deallocates memory.
brk() sets the end of the data segment to the value specified by addr, when that value is reasonable, the system has enough memory, and the process does not exceed its maximum data size (see setrlimit(2)).
RETURN VALUEOn success, brk() returns zero. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set to ENOMEM. (But see Linux Notes below.)
On success, sbrk() returns the previous program break. (If the break was increased, then this value is a pointer to the start of the newly allocated memory). On error, (void *) -1 is returned, and errno is set to ENOMEM.
CONFORMING TO4.3BSD; SUSv1, marked LEGACY in SUSv2, removed in POSIX.1-2001.
NOTESAvoid using brk() and sbrk(): the malloc(3) memory allocation package is the portable and comfortable way of allocating memory.
Linux NotesThe return value described above for brk() is the behavior provided by the glibc wrapper function for the Linux brk() system call. (On most other implementations, the return value from brk() is the same; this return value was also specified in SUSv2.) However, the actual Linux system call returns the new program break on success. On failure, the system call returns the current break. The glibc wrapper function does some work (i.e., checks whether the new break is less than addr) to provide the 0 and -1 return values described above.
SEE ALSOexecve(2), getrlimit(2), end(3), malloc(3)
COLOPHONThis 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/.