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LSEEK(2)                            Linux Programmer's Manual                            LSEEK(2)



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.

   Seeking file data and holes
       Since version 3.1, Linux supports the following additional values for whence:

       SEEK_DATA
              Adjust  the  file  offset to the next location in the file greater than or equal to
              offset containing data.  If offset points to data, then the file offset is  set  to
              offset.

       SEEK_HOLE
              Adjust  the  file offset to the next hole in the file greater than or equal to off-
              set.  If offset points into the middle of a hole, then the file offset  is  set  to
              offset.   If  there is no hole past offset, then the file offset is adjusted to the
              end of the file (i.e., there is an implicit hole at the end of any file).

       In both of the above cases, lseek() fails if offset points past the end of the file.

       These operations allow applications to map holes in a sparsely allocated file.   This  can
       be  useful  for applications such as file backup tools, which can save space when creating
       backups and preserve holes, if they have a mechanism for discovering holes.

       For the purposes of these operations, a hole is a sequence of zeros  that  (normally)  has
       not  been allocated in the underlying file storage.  However, a file system is not obliged
       to report holes, so these operations are not a guaranteed mechanism for mapping the  stor-
       age  space  actually allocated to a file.  (Furthermore, a sequence of zeros that actually
       has been written to the underlying storage may not be reported as a hole.)   In  the  sim-
       plest  implementation, a file system can support the operations by making SEEK_HOLE always
       return the offset of the end of the file, and making SEEK_DATA always return offset (i.e.,
       even  if  the location referred to by offset is a hole, it can be considered to consist of
       data that is a sequence of zeros).

       The _GNU_SOURCE feature test macro must be defined in order to obtain the  definitions  of
       SEEK_DATA and SEEK_HOLE from <unistd.h>.

RETURN VALUE
       Upon  successful  completion, lseek() returns the resulting offset location as measured in
       bytes from the beginning of the file.  On error, the  value  (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  valid.  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.

       ENXIO  whence is SEEK_DATA or SEEK_HOLE, and the current file offset is beyond the end  of
              the file.

CONFORMING TO
       SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001.

       SEEK_DATA  and  SEEK_HOLE are nonstandard extensions also present in Solaris, FreeBSD, and
       DragonFly BSD; they are proposed for inclusion in the next POSIX revision (Issue 8).

NOTES
       Some devices are incapable of seeking and POSIX does not specify which devices  must  sup-
       port lseek().

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

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

        old       new
       0        SEEK_SET
       1        SEEK_CUR
       2        SEEK_END
       L_SET    SEEK_SET
       L_INCR   SEEK_CUR
       L_XTND   SEEK_END

       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 3.53 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/.



Linux                                       2013-03-27                                   LSEEK(2)

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