UNLINK(2)                 (2017-09-15)                  UNLINK(2)

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

          #include <unistd.h>

          int unlink(const char *pathname);

          #include <fcntl.h>           /* Definition of AT_* constants */
          #include <unistd.h>

          int unlinkat(int dirfd, const char *pathname, int flags

     Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see

              Since glibc 2.10:
                  _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
              Before glibc 2.10:

          unlink() deletes a name from the filesystem.  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

          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.

          The unlinkat() system call operates in exactly the same  way
          as  either unlink() or rmdir(2) (depending on whether or not
          flags includes the AT_REMOVEDIR flag) except for the differ-
          ences described here.

          If the pathname given in pathname is relative,  then  it  is
          interpreted  relative  to  the  directory referred to by the
          file descriptor dirfd (rather than relative to  the  current
          working  directory  of  the  calling  process, as is done by

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          unlink() and rmdir(2) for a relative pathname).

          If the pathname given in pathname is relative and  dirfd  is
          the  special  value  AT_FDCWD,  then pathname is interpreted
          relative to the current working  directory  of  the  calling
          process (like unlink() and rmdir(2)).

          If the pathname given in pathname is absolute, then dirfd is

          flags is a bit mask that can either be specified as 0, or by
          ORing  together  flag  values  that control the operation of
          unlinkat().  Currently, only one such flag is defined:

               By  default,  unlinkat()  performs  the  equivalent  of
               unlink() on pathname. If the AT_REMOVEDIR flag is spec-
               ified, then performs  the  equivalent  of  rmdir(2)  on

          See openat(2) for an explanation of the need for unlinkat().

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

               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  per-
               mission.  (See also path_resolution(7).)

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

               pathname points outside your accessible address space.

          EIO  An I/O error occurred.

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

               Too many symbolic links were encountered in translating

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               pathname was too long.

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

               Insufficient kernel memory was available.

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

               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 filesystem 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 nei-
               ther the UID of the file to be deleted nor that of  the
               directory  containing it, and the process is not privi-
               leged (Linux: does not have the CAP_FOWNER capability).

               The file to be unlinked is marked immutable or  append-
               only.  (See ioctl_iflags(2).)

               pathname refers to a file on a read-only filesystem.

          The same errors that occur for  unlink()  and  rmdir(2)  can
          also  occur for unlinkat().  The following additional errors
          can occur for unlinkat():

               dirfd is not a valid file descriptor.

               An invalid flag value was specified in flags.

               pathname refers to a directory,  and  AT_REMOVEDIR  was
               not specified in flags.

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               pathname is relative and dirfd  is  a  file  descriptor
               referring to a file other than a directory.

          unlinkat() was added to Linux in kernel 2.6.16; library sup-
          port was added to glibc in version 2.4.

          unlink(): SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008.

          unlinkat(): POSIX.1-2008.

        Glibc notes
          On older kernels where unlinkat() is unavailable, the  glibc
          wrapper  function  falls  back  to  the  use  of unlink() or
          rmdir(2).  When pathname is a relative pathname, glibc  con-
          structs   a   pathname   based   on  the  symbolic  link  in
          /proc/self/fd that corresponds to the dirfd argument.

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

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

          This page is part of release 5.10  of  the  Linux  man-pages
          project.   A  description  of the project, information about
          reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can  be
          found at https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

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