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

       unlink - delete a name and possibly the file it refers to

       #include <unistd.h>

       int unlink(const char *pathname);

       unlink()  deletes  a  name from the file system.  If that name was the last link to a file
       and no processes have the file open the file is deleted and the space it was using is made
       available for reuse.

       If  the  name  was  the last link to a file but any processes still have the file open the
       file will remain in existence until the last file descriptor referring to it is closed.

       If the name referred to a symbolic link the link is removed.

       If the name referred to a socket, fifo or device the name for it is removed but  processes
       which have the object open may continue to use it.

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

       EACCES Write  access to the directory containing pathname is not allowed for the process's
              effective UID, or one of the directories in pathname did not allow  search  permis-
              sion.  (See also path_resolution(7).)

       EBUSY  The  file  pathname  cannot  be  unlinked because it is being used by the system or
              another process; for example, it is a mount point or the NFS client  software  cre-
              ated it to represent an active but otherwise nameless inode ("NFS silly renamed").

       EFAULT pathname points outside your accessible address space.

       EIO    An I/O error occurred.

       EISDIR pathname  refers  to  a  directory.  (This is the non-POSIX value returned by Linux
              since 2.1.132.)

       ELOOP  Too many symbolic links were encountered in translating pathname.

              pathname was too long.

       ENOENT A component in pathname does not exist or is a dangling symbolic link, or  pathname
              is empty.

       ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.

              A component used as a directory in pathname is not, in fact, a directory.

       EPERM  The  system  does  not  allow unlinking of directories, or unlinking of directories
              requires privileges that the calling process doesn't have.  (This is the POSIX pre-
              scribed error return; as noted above, Linux returns EISDIR for this case.)

       EPERM (Linux only)
              The file system does not allow unlinking of files.

       EPERM or EACCES
              The  directory  containing  pathname  has  the  sticky  bit  (S_ISVTX)  set and the
              process's effective UID is neither the UID of the file to be deleted  nor  that  of
              the  directory  containing  it,  and the process is not privileged (Linux: does not
              have the CAP_FOWNER capability).

       EROFS  pathname refers to a file on a read-only file system.

       SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001.

       Infelicities in the protocol underlying NFS can  cause  the  unexpected  disappearance  of
       files which are still being used.

       rm(1),  chmod(2), link(2), mknod(2), open(2), rename(2), rmdir(2), unlinkat(2), mkfifo(3),
       remove(3), path_resolution(7), symlink(7)

       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

Linux                                       2011-09-15                                  UNLINK(2)

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