Poster of Linux kernelThe best gift for a Linux geek
WRITE

WRITE

Section: POSIX Programmer's Manual (P) Updated: 2003
Local index Up
 

NAME

pwrite, write - write on a file  

SYNOPSIS

#include <unistd.h>

ssize_t pwrite(int fildes, const void *buf, size_t nbyte,
       off_t offset);

ssize_t write(int
fildes, const void *buf, size_t nbyte);
 

DESCRIPTION

The write() function shall attempt to write nbyte bytes from the buffer pointed to by buf to the file associated with the open file descriptor, fildes.

Before any action described below is taken, and if nbyte is zero and the file is a regular file, the write() function may detect and return errors as described below. In the absence of errors, or if error detection is not performed, the write() function shall return zero and have no other results. If nbyte is zero and the file is not a regular file, the results are unspecified.

On a regular file or other file capable of seeking, the actual writing of data shall proceed from the position in the file indicated by the file offset associated with fildes. Before successful return from write(), the file offset shall be incremented by the number of bytes actually written. On a regular file, if this incremented file offset is greater than the length of the file, the length of the file shall be set to this file offset.

On a file not capable of seeking, writing shall always take place starting at the current position. The value of a file offset associated with such a device is undefined.

If the O_APPEND flag of the file status flags is set, the file offset shall be set to the end of the file prior to each write and no intervening file modification operation shall occur between changing the file offset and the write operation.

If a write() requests that more bytes be written than there is room for (for example,  the process' file size limit or the physical end of a medium), only as many bytes as there is room for shall be written. For example, suppose there is space for 20 bytes more in a file before reaching a limit. A write of 512 bytes will return 20. The next write of a non-zero number of bytes would give a failure return (except as noted below).

If the request would cause the file size to exceed the soft file size limit for the process and there is no room for any bytes to be written, the request shall fail and the implementation shall generate the SIGXFSZ signal for the thread.

If write() is interrupted by a signal before it writes any data, it shall return -1 with errno set to [EINTR].

If write() is interrupted by a signal after it successfully writes some data, it shall return the number of bytes written.

If the value of nbyte is greater than {SSIZE_MAX}, the result is implementation-defined.

After a write() to a regular file has successfully returned:

*
Any successful read() from each byte position in the file that was modified by that write shall return the data specified by the write() for that position until such byte positions are again modified.

*
Any subsequent successful write() to the same byte position in the file shall overwrite that file data.

Write requests to a pipe or FIFO shall be handled in the same way as a regular file with the following exceptions:

*
There is no file offset associated with a pipe, hence each write request shall append to the end of the pipe.

*
Write requests of {PIPE_BUF} bytes or less shall not be interleaved with data from other processes doing writes on the same pipe. Writes of greater than {PIPE_BUF} bytes may have data interleaved, on arbitrary boundaries, with writes by other processes, whether or not the O_NONBLOCK flag of the file status flags is set.

*
If the O_NONBLOCK flag is clear, a write request may cause the thread to block, but on normal completion it shall return nbyte.

*
If the O_NONBLOCK flag is set, write() requests shall be handled differently, in the following ways:
*
The write() function shall not block the thread.

*
A write request for {PIPE_BUF} or fewer bytes shall have the following effect: if there is sufficient space available in the pipe, write() shall transfer all the data and return the number of bytes requested. Otherwise, write() shall transfer no data and return -1 with errno set to [EAGAIN].

*
A write request for more than {PIPE_BUF} bytes shall cause one of the following:
*
When at least one byte can be written, transfer what it can and return the number of bytes written. When all data previously written to the pipe is read, it shall transfer at least {PIPE_BUF} bytes.

*
When no data can be written, transfer no data, and return -1 with errno set to [EAGAIN].

When attempting to write to a file descriptor (other than a pipe or FIFO) that supports non-blocking writes and cannot accept the data immediately:

*
If the O_NONBLOCK flag is clear, write() shall block the calling thread until the data can be accepted.

*
If the O_NONBLOCK flag is set, write() shall not block the thread. If some data can be written without blocking the thread, write() shall write what it can and return the number of bytes written. Otherwise, it shall return -1 and set errno to [EAGAIN].

Upon successful completion, where nbyte is greater than 0, write() shall mark for update the st_ctime and st_mtime fields of the file, and if the file is a regular file, the S_ISUID and S_ISGID bits of the file mode may be cleared.

For regular files, no data transfer shall occur past the offset maximum established in the open file description associated with fildes.

If fildes refers to a socket, write() shall be equivalent to send() with no flags set.

If the O_DSYNC bit has been set, write I/O operations on the file descriptor shall complete as defined by synchronized I/O data integrity completion.

If the O_SYNC bit has been set, write I/O operations on the file descriptor shall complete as defined by synchronized I/O file integrity completion.

If fildes refers to a shared memory object, the result of the write() function is unspecified.

If fildes refers to a typed memory object, the result of the write() function is unspecified.

If fildes refers to a STREAM, the operation of write() shall be determined by the values of the minimum and maximum nbyte range (packet size) accepted by the STREAM. These values are determined by the topmost STREAM module. If nbyte falls within the packet size range, nbyte bytes shall be written. If nbyte does not fall within the range and the minimum packet size value is 0, write() shall break the buffer into maximum packet size segments prior to sending the data downstream (the last segment may contain less than the maximum packet size). If nbyte does not fall within the range and the minimum value is non-zero, write() shall fail with errno set to [ERANGE]. Writing a zero-length buffer ( nbyte is 0) to a STREAMS device sends 0 bytes with 0 returned. However, writing a zero-length buffer to a STREAMS-based pipe or FIFO sends no message and 0 is returned. The process may issue I_SWROPT ioctl() to enable zero-length messages to be sent across the pipe or FIFO.

When writing to a STREAM, data messages are created with a priority band of 0. When writing to a STREAM that is not a pipe or FIFO:

*
If O_NONBLOCK is clear, and the STREAM cannot accept data (the STREAM write queue is full due to internal flow control conditions), write() shall block until data can be accepted.

*
If O_NONBLOCK is set and the STREAM cannot accept data, write() shall return -1 and set errno to [EAGAIN].

*
If O_NONBLOCK is set and part of the buffer has been written while a condition in which the STREAM cannot accept additional data occurs, write() shall terminate and return the number of bytes written.

In addition, write() shall fail if the STREAM head has processed an asynchronous error before the call. In this case, the value of errno does not reflect the result of write(), but reflects the prior error.

The pwrite() function shall be equivalent to write(), except that it writes into a given position without changing the file pointer. The first three arguments to pwrite() are the same as write() with the addition of a fourth argument offset for the desired position inside the file.  

RETURN VALUE

Upon successful completion, write()  and pwrite() shall return the number of bytes actually written to the file associated with fildes. This number shall never be greater than nbyte. Otherwise, -1 shall be returned and errno set to indicate the error.  

ERRORS

The write() and pwrite() functions shall fail if:

EAGAIN
The O_NONBLOCK flag is set for the file descriptor and the thread would be delayed in the write() operation.
EBADF
The fildes argument is not a valid file descriptor open for writing.
EFBIG
An attempt was made to write a file that exceeds the implementation-defined maximum file size  or the process' file size limit,  and there was no room for any bytes to be written.
EFBIG
The file is a regular file, nbyte is greater than 0, and the starting position is greater than or equal to the offset maximum established in the open file description associated with fildes.
EINTR
The write operation was terminated due to the receipt of a signal, and no data was transferred.
EIO
The process is a member of a background process group attempting to write to its controlling terminal, TOSTOP is set, the process is neither ignoring nor blocking SIGTTOU, and the process group of the process is orphaned. This error may also be returned under implementation-defined conditions.
ENOSPC
There was no free space remaining on the device containing the file.
EPIPE
An attempt is made to write to a pipe or FIFO that is not open for reading by any process, or that only has one end open. A SIGPIPE signal shall also be sent to the thread.
ERANGE
The transfer request size was outside the range supported by the STREAMS file associated with fildes.

The write() function shall fail if:

EAGAIN or EWOULDBLOCK

The file descriptor is for a socket, is marked O_NONBLOCK, and write would block.

ECONNRESET
A write was attempted on a socket that is not connected.
EPIPE
A write was attempted on a socket that is shut down for writing, or is no longer connected. In the latter case, if the socket is of type SOCK_STREAM, the SIGPIPE signal is generated to the calling process.

The write() and pwrite() functions may fail if:

EINVAL
The STREAM or multiplexer referenced by fildes is linked (directly or indirectly) downstream from a multiplexer.
EIO
A physical I/O error has occurred.
ENOBUFS
Insufficient resources were available in the system to perform the operation.
ENXIO
A request was made of a nonexistent device, or the request was outside the capabilities of the device.
ENXIO
A hangup occurred on the STREAM being written to.

A write to a STREAMS file may fail if an error message has been received at the STREAM head. In this case, errno is set to the value included in the error message.

The write() function may fail if:

EACCES
A write was attempted on a socket and the calling process does not have appropriate privileges.
ENETDOWN
A write was attempted on a socket and the local network interface used to reach the destination is down.
ENETUNREACH

A write was attempted on a socket and no route to the network is present.

The pwrite() function shall fail and the file pointer remain unchanged if:

EINVAL
The offset argument is invalid. The value is negative.
ESPIPE
fildes is associated with a pipe or FIFO.

The following sections are informative.  

EXAMPLES

 

Writing from a Buffer

The following example writes data from the buffer pointed to by buf to the file associated with the file descriptor fd.


#include <sys/types.h>
#include <string.h>
...
char buf[20];
size_t nbytes;
ssize_t bytes_written;
int fd;
...
strcpy(buf, "This is a test\n");
nbytes = strlen(buf);


bytes_written = write(fd, buf, nbytes);
...

 

APPLICATION USAGE

None.  

RATIONALE

See also the RATIONALE section in read() .

An attempt to write to a pipe or FIFO has several major characteristics:

*
Atomic/non-atomic: A write is atomic if the whole amount written in one operation is not interleaved with data from any other process. This is useful when there are multiple writers sending data to a single reader. Applications need to know how large a write request can be expected to be performed atomically. This maximum is called {PIPE_BUF}. This volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 does not say whether write requests for more than {PIPE_BUF} bytes are atomic, but requires that writes of {PIPE_BUF} or fewer bytes shall be atomic.

*
Blocking/immediate: Blocking is only possible with O_NONBLOCK clear. If there is enough space for all the data requested to be written immediately, the implementation should do so. Otherwise, the process may block; that is, pause until enough space is available for writing. The effective size of a pipe or FIFO (the maximum amount that can be written in one operation without blocking) may vary dynamically, depending on the implementation, so it is not possible to specify a fixed value for it.

*
Complete/partial/deferred: A write request:


int fildes;
size_t nbyte;
ssize_t ret;
char *buf;


ret = write(fildes, buf, nbyte);

may return:

Complete
ret=nbyte
Partial
ret<nbyte

This shall never happen if nbyte<= {PIPE_BUF}. If it does happen (with nbyte> {PIPE_BUF}), this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 does not guarantee atomicity, even if ret<= {PIPE_BUF}, because atomicity is guaranteed according to the amount requested, not the amount written.

Deferred:
ret=-1, errno=[EAGAIN]

This error indicates that a later request may succeed. It does not indicate that it shall succeed, even if nbyte<= {PIPE_BUF}, because if no process reads from the pipe or FIFO, the write never succeeds. An application could usefully count the number of times [EAGAIN] is caused by a particular value of nbyte> {PIPE_BUF} and perhaps do later writes with a smaller value, on the assumption that the effective size of the pipe may have decreased.

Partial and deferred writes are only possible with O_NONBLOCK set.

The relations of these properties are shown in the following tables:
Write to a Pipe or FIFO with O_NONBLOCK clear      
Immediately Writable:NoneSomenbyte
nbyte<={PIPE_BUF}Atomic blockingAtomic blockingAtomic immediate
 nbytenbytenbyte
nbyte>{PIPE_BUF}Blocking nbyteBlocking nbyteBlocking nbyte

If the O_NONBLOCK flag is clear, a write request shall block if the amount writable immediately is less than that requested. If the flag is set (by fcntl()), a write request shall never block.
Write to a Pipe or FIFO with O_NONBLOCK set      
Immediately Writable:NoneSomenbyte
nbyte<={PIPE_BUF}-1, [EAGAIN]-1, [EAGAIN]Atomic nbyte
nbyte>{PIPE_BUF}-1, [EAGAIN]<nbyte or -1,<=nbyte or -1,
  [EAGAIN][EAGAIN]

There is no exception regarding partial writes when O_NONBLOCK is set. With the exception of writing to an empty pipe, this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 does not specify exactly when a partial write is performed since that would require specifying internal details of the implementation. Every application should be prepared to handle partial writes when O_NONBLOCK is set and the requested amount is greater than {PIPE_BUF}, just as every application should be prepared to handle partial writes on other kinds of file descriptors.

The intent of forcing writing at least one byte if any can be written is to assure that each write makes progress if there is any room in the pipe. If the pipe is empty, {PIPE_BUF} bytes must be written; if not, at least some progress must have been made.

Where this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 requires -1 to be returned and errno set to [EAGAIN], most historical implementations return zero (with the O_NDELAY flag set, which is the historical predecessor of O_NONBLOCK, but is not itself in this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001). The error indications in this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 were chosen so that an application can distinguish these cases from end-of-file. While write() cannot receive an indication of end-of-file, read() can, and the two functions have similar return values. Also, some existing systems (for example, Eighth Edition) permit a write of zero bytes to mean that the reader should get an end-of-file indication; for those systems, a return value of zero from write() indicates a successful write of an end-of-file indication.

Implementations are allowed, but not required, to perform error checking for write() requests of zero bytes.

The concept of a {PIPE_MAX} limit (indicating the maximum number of bytes that can be written to a pipe in a single operation) was considered, but rejected, because this concept would unnecessarily limit application writing.

See also the discussion of O_NONBLOCK in read() .

Writes can be serialized with respect to other reads and writes. If a read() of file data can be proven (by any means) to occur after a write() of the data, it must reflect that write(), even if the calls are made by different processes. A similar requirement applies to multiple write operations to the same file position. This is needed to guarantee the propagation of data from write() calls to subsequent read() calls. This requirement is particularly significant for networked file systems, where some caching schemes violate these semantics.

Note that this is specified in terms of read() and write(). The XSI extensions readv() and writev() also obey these semantics. A new "high-performance" write analog that did not follow these serialization requirements would also be permitted by this wording. This volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 is also silent about any effects of application-level caching (such as that done by stdio).

This volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 does not specify the value of the file offset after an error is returned; there are too many cases. For programming errors, such as [EBADF], the concept is meaningless since no file is involved. For errors that are detected immediately, such as [EAGAIN], clearly the pointer should not change. After an interrupt or hardware error, however, an updated value would be very useful and is the behavior of many implementations.

This volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 does not specify behavior of concurrent writes to a file from multiple processes. Applications should use some form of concurrency control.  

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

None.  

SEE ALSO

chmod() , creat() , dup() , fcntl() , getrlimit() , lseek() , open() , pipe() , ulimit() , writev() , the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <limits.h>, <stropts.h>, <sys/uio.h>, <unistd.h>  

COPYRIGHT

Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
RETURN VALUE
ERRORS
EXAMPLES
Writing from a Buffer
APPLICATION USAGE
RATIONALE
FUTURE DIRECTIONS
SEE ALSO
COPYRIGHT

This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 21:53:22 GMT, April 16, 2011