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



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

SYNOPSIS
       #include <&lt;unistd.h>&gt;

       int unlink(const char *pathname);

DESCRIPTION
       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.

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

ERRORS
       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 permission.  (See also  path_reso-
              lution(7).)

       EBUSY (not on Linux)
              The file pathname cannot be unlinked because it is being used by
              the system or another process and the  implementation  considers
              this an error.

       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  path-
              name.

       ENAMETOOLONG
              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.

       ENOTDIR
              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 prescribed 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.

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

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

SEE ALSO
       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)

COLOPHON
       This page is part of release 3.05 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                             2004-06-23                         UNLINK(2)