INODE(7)                  (2020-08-13)                   INODE(7)

          inode - file inode information

          Each file has an inode containing metadata about the file.
          An application can retrieve this metadata using stat(2) (or
          related calls), which returns a stat structure, or statx(2),
          which returns a statx structure.

          The following is a list of the information typically found
          in, or associated with, the file inode, with the names of
          the corresponding structure fields returned by stat(2) and

          Device where inode resides
               stat.st_dev; statx.stx_dev_minor and

               Each inode (as well as the associated file) resides in
               a filesystem that is hosted on a device.  That device
               is identified by the combination of its major ID (which
               identifies the general class of device) and minor ID
               (which identifies a specific instance in the general

          Inode number
               stat.st_ino; statx.stx_ino

               Each file in a filesystem has a unique inode number.
               Inode numbers are guaranteed to be unique only within a
               filesystem (i.e., the same inode numbers may be used by
               different filesystems, which is the reason that hard
               links may not cross filesystem boundaries).  This field
               contains the file's inode number.

          File type and mode
               stat.st_mode; statx.stx_mode

               See the discussion of file type and mode, below.

          Link count
               stat.st_nlink; statx.stx_nlink

               This field contains the number of hard links to the
               file.  Additional links to an existing file are created
               using link(2).

          User ID
               st_uid stat.st_uid; statx.stx_uid

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               This field records the user ID of the owner of the
               file.  For newly created files, the file user ID is the
               effective user ID of the creating process.  The user ID
               of a file can be changed using chown(2).

          Group ID
               stat.st_gid; statx.stx_gid

               The inode records the ID of the group owner of the
               file.  For newly created files, the file group ID is
               either the group ID of the parent directory or the
               effective group ID of the creating process, depending
               on whether or not the set-group-ID bit is set on the
               parent directory (see below).  The group ID of a file
               can be changed using chown(2).

          Device represented by this inode
               stat.st_rdev; statx.stx_rdev_minor and

               If this file (inode) represents a device, then the
               inode records the major and minor ID of that device.

          File size
               stat.st_size; statx.stx_size

               This field gives the size of the file (if it is a regu-
               lar file or a symbolic link) in bytes.  The size of a
               symbolic link is the length of the pathname it con-
               tains, without a terminating null byte.

          Preferred block size for I/O
               stat.st_blksize; statx.stx_blksize

               This field gives the "preferred" blocksize for effi-
               cient filesystem I/O.  (Writing to a file in smaller
               chunks may cause an inefficient read-modify-rewrite.)

          Number of blocks allocated to the file
               stat.st_blocks; statx.stx_size

               This field indicates the number of blocks allocated to
               the file, 512-byte units, (This may be smaller than
               st_size/512 when the file has holes.)

               The POSIX.1 standard notes that the unit for the
               st_blocks member of the stat structure is not defined
               by the standard.  On many  implementations it is 512
               bytes; on a few systems, a different unit is used, such
               as 1024.  Furthermore, the unit may differ on a per-
               filesystem basis.

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          Last access timestamp (atime)
               stat.st_atime; statx.stx_atime

               This is the file's last access timestamp.  It is
               changed by file accesses, for example, by execve(2),
               mknod(2), pipe(2), utime(2), and read(2) (of more than
               zero bytes).  Other interfaces, such as mmap(2), may or
               may not update the atime timestamp

               Some filesystem types allow mounting in such a way that
               file and/or directory accesses do not cause an update
               of the atime timestamp.  (See noatime, nodiratime, and
               relatime in mount(8), and related information in
               mount(2).)  In addition, the atime timestamp is not
               updated if a file is opened with the O_NOATIME flag;
               see open(2).

          File creation (birth) timestamp (btime)
               (not returned in the stat structure); statx.stx_btime

               The file's creation timestamp.  This is set on file
               creation and not changed subsequently.

               The btime timestamp was not historically present on
               UNIX systems and is not currently supported by most
               Linux filesystems.

          Last modification timestamp (mtime)
               stat.st_mtime; statx.stx_mtime

               This is the file's last modification timestamp.  It is
               changed by file modifications, for example, by
               mknod(2), truncate(2), utime(2), and write(2) (of more
               than zero bytes).  Moreover, the mtime timestamp of a
               directory is changed by the creation or deletion of
               files in that directory.  The mtime timestamp is not
               changed for changes in owner, group, hard link count,
               or mode.

          Last status change timestamp (ctime)
               stat.st_ctime; statx.stx_ctime

               This is the file's last status change timestamp.  It is
               changed by writing or by setting inode information
               (i.e., owner, group, link count, mode, etc.).

          The timestamp fields report time measured with a zero point
          at the Epoch, 1970-01-02 00:00:00 +0000, UTC (see time(7)).

          Nanosecond timestamps are supported on XFS, JFS, Btrfs, and
          ext4 (since Linux 2.6.23).  Nanosecond timestamps are not
          supported in ext2, ext3, and Reiserfs.  In order to return

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          timestamps with nanosecond precision, the timestamp fields
          in the stat and statx structures are defined as structures
          that include a nanosecond component.  See stat(2) and
          statx(2) for details.  On filesystems that do not support
          subsecond timestamps, the nanosecond fields in the stat and
          statx structures are returned with the value 0.

        The file type and mode
          The stat.st_mode field (for statx(2), the statx.stx_mode
          field) contains the file type and mode.

          POSIX refers to the stat.st_mode bits corresponding to the
          mask S_IFMT (see below) as the file type, the 12 bits corre-
          sponding to the mask 07777 as the file mode bits and the
          least significant 9 bits (0777) as the file permission bits.

          The following mask values are defined for the file type:
              lB l l.  S_IFMT    0170000   bit mask for the file type
              bit field

              S_IFSOCK  0140000   socket S_IFLNK   0120000   symbolic
              link S_IFREG   0100000   regular file
              S_IFBLK   0060000   block device
              S_IFDIR   0040000   directory
              S_IFCHR   0020000   character device
              S_IFIFO   0010000   FIFO

          Thus, to test for a regular file (for example), one could

              stat(pathname, &sb);
              if ((sb.st_mode & S_IFMT) == S_IFREG) {
                  /* Handle regular file */

          Because tests of the above form are common, additional mac-
          ros are defined by POSIX to allow the test of the file type
          in st_mode to be written more concisely:

              S_ISREG(m)  is it a regular file?

              S_ISDIR(m)  directory?

              S_ISCHR(m)  character device?

              S_ISBLK(m)  block device?

              S_ISFIFO(m) FIFO (named pipe)?

              S_ISLNK(m)  symbolic link?  (Not in POSIX.1-1996.)

              S_ISSOCK(m) socket?  (Not in POSIX.1-1996.)

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          The preceding code snippet could thus be rewritten as:

              stat(pathname, &sb);
              if (S_ISREG(sb.st_mode)) {
                  /* Handle regular file */

          The definitions of most of the above file type test macros
          are provided if any of the following feature test macros is
          defined: _BSD_SOURCE (in glibc 2.19 and earlier),
          _SVID_SOURCE (in glibc 2.19 and earlier), or _DEFAULT_SOURCE
          (in glibc 2.20 and later).  In addition, definitions of all
          of the above macros except S_IFSOCK and S_ISSOCK() are pro-
          vided if _XOPEN_SOURCE is defined.

          The definition of S_IFSOCK can also be exposed either by
          defining _XOPEN_SOURCE with a value of 500 or greater or
          (since glibc 2.24) by defining both _XOPEN_SOURCE and

          The definition of S_ISSOCK() is exposed if any of the fol-
          lowing feature test macros is defined: _BSD_SOURCE (in glibc
          2.19 and earlier), _DEFAULT_SOURCE (in glibc 2.20 and
          later), _XOPEN_SOURCE with a value of 500 or greater,
          _POSIX_C_SOURCE with a value of 200112L or greater, or
          (since glibc 2.24) by defining both _XOPEN_SOURCE and

          The following mask values are defined for the file mode com-
          ponent of the st_mode field:
              lB l l.  S_ISUID     04000   set-user-ID bit (see
              execve(2)) S_ISGID     02000   set-group-ID bit (see
              below) S_ISVTX     01000   sticky bit (see below)

              S_IRWXU     00700   owner has read, write, and execute
              permission S_IRUSR     00400   owner has read permission
              S_IWUSR     00200   owner has write permission
              S_IXUSR     00100   owner has execute permission

              S_IRWXG     00070   group has read, write, and execute
              permission S_IRGRP     00040   group has read permission
              S_IWGRP     00020   group has write permission
              S_IXGRP     00010   group has execute permission

              S_IRWXO     00007   T{ others (not in group) have read,
              write, and execute permission T} S_IROTH
              00004   others have read permission S_IWOTH
              00002   others have write permission S_IXOTH
              00001   others have execute permission

          The set-group-ID bit (S_ISGID) has several special uses.
          For a directory, it indicates that BSD semantics are to be

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          used for that directory: files created there inherit their
          group ID from the directory, not from the effective group ID
          of the creating process, and directories created there will
          also get the S_ISGID bit set.  For an executable file, the
          set-group-ID bit causes the effective group ID of a process
          that executes the file to change as described in execve(2).
          For a file that does not have the group execution bit
          (S_IXGRP) set, the set-group-ID bit indicates mandatory
          file/record locking.

          The sticky bit (S_ISVTX) on a directory means that a file in
          that directory can be renamed or deleted only by the owner
          of the file, by the owner of the directory, and by a privi-
          leged process.

          If you need to obtain the definition of the blkcnt_t or
          blksize_t types from <sys/stat.h>, then define _XOPEN_SOURCE
          with the value 500 or greater (before including any header

          POSIX.1-1990 did not describe the S_IFMT, S_IFSOCK, S_IFLNK,
          stants, but instead specified the use of the macros
          S_ISDIR(), and so on.  The S_IF* constants are present in
          POSIX.1-2001 and later.

          The S_ISLNK() and S_ISSOCK() macros were not in POSIX.1-
          1996, but both are present in POSIX.1-2001; the former is
          from SVID 4, the latter from SUSv2.

          UNIX V7 (and later systems) had S_IREAD, S_IWRITE, S_IEXEC,
          where POSIX prescribes the synonyms S_IRUSR, S_IWUSR,

          For pseudofiles that are autogenerated by the kernel, the
          file size (stat.st_size; statx.stx_size) reported by the
          kernel is not accurate.  For example, the value 0 is
          returned for many files under the /proc directory, while
          various files under /sys report a size of 4096 bytes, even
          though the file content is smaller.  For such files, one
          should simply try to read as many bytes as possible (and
          append aq\0aq to the returned buffer if it is to be inter-
          preted as a string).

          stat(1), stat(2), statx(2), symlink(7)

          This page is part of release 5.10 of the Linux man-pages
          project.  A description of the project, information about

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          reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be
          found at

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