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



NAME
       access - check real user's permissions for a file

SYNOPSIS
       #include <unistd.h>

       int access(const char *pathname, int mode);

DESCRIPTION
       access()  checks  whether the calling process can access the file pathname.  If pathname is a symbolic link, it
       is dereferenced.

       The mode specifies the accessibility check(s) to be performed, and is either the value F_OK, or a mask consist-
       ing of the bitwise OR of one or more of R_OK, W_OK, and X_OK.  F_OK tests for the existence of the file.  R_OK,
       W_OK, and X_OK test whether the file exists and grants read, write, and execute permissions, respectively.

       The check is done using the calling process's real UID and GID, rather than the effective IDs as is  done  when
       actually  attempting  an  operation  (e.g.,  open(2))  on the file.  This allows set-user-ID programs to easily
       determine the invoking user's authority.

       If the calling process is privileged (i.e., its real UID is zero), then an X_OK check is successful for a regu-
       lar file if execute permission is enabled for any of the file owner, group, or other.

RETURN VALUE
       On success (all requested permissions granted), zero is returned.  On error (at least one bit in mode asked for
       a permission that is denied, or some other error occurred), -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.

ERRORS
       access() shall fail if:

       EACCES The requested access would be denied to the file, or search permission is denied for one of the directo-
              ries in the path prefix of pathname.  (See also path_resolution(7).)

       ELOOP  Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving pathname.

       ENAMETOOLONG
              pathname is too long.

       ENOENT A component of pathname does not exist or is a dangling symbolic link.

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

       EROFS  Write permission was requested for a file on a read-only file system.

       access() may fail if:

       EFAULT pathname points outside your accessible address space.

       EINVAL mode was incorrectly specified.

       EIO    An I/O error occurred.

       ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.

       ETXTBSY
              Write access was requested to an executable which is being executed.

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

NOTES
       Warning:  Using access() to check if a user is authorized to, for example, open a file before actually doing so
       using open(2) creates a security hole, because the user might exploit the short time interval between  checking
       and opening the file to manipulate it.  For this reason, the use of this system call should be avoided.

       access()  returns an error if any of the access types in mode is denied, even if some of the other access types
       in mode are permitted.

       If the calling process has appropriate privileges (i.e., is superuser), POSIX.1-2001 permits implementation  to
       indicate success for an X_OK check even if none of the execute file permission bits are set.  Linux does not do
       this.

       A file is only accessible if the permissions on each of the directories in the path prefix  of  pathname  grant
       search  (i.e., execute) access.  If any directory is inaccessible, then the access() call will fail, regardless
       of the permissions on the file itself.

       Only access bits are checked, not the file type or  contents.   Therefore,  if  a  directory  is  found  to  be
       writable, it probably means that files can be created in the directory, and not that the directory can be writ-
       ten as a file.  Similarly, a DOS file may be found to be "executable," but the execve(2) call will still  fail.

       access()  may  not  work correctly on NFS file systems with UID mapping enabled, because UID mapping is done on
       the server and hidden from the client, which checks permissions.

BUGS
       In kernel 2.4 (and earlier) there is some strangeness in the handling of X_OK tests for superuser.  If all cat-
       egories  of  execute permission are disabled for a non-directory file, then the only access() test that returns
       -1 is when mode is specified as just X_OK; if R_OK or W_OK is also specified in mode, then access()  returns  0
       for such files.  Early 2.6 kernels (up to and including 2.6.3) also behaved in the same way as kernel 2.4.

       In  kernels  before  2.6.20,  access()  ignored the effect of the MS_NOEXEC flag if it was used to mount(2) the
       underlying file system.  Since kernel 2.6.20, access() honors this flag.

SEE ALSO
       chmod(2), chown(2),  faccessat(2),  open(2),  setgid(2),  setuid(2),  stat(2),  euidaccess(3),  credentials(7),
       path_resolution(7)

COLOPHON
       This  page  is part of release 3.22 of the Linux man-pages project.  A description of the project, and informa-
       tion about reporting bugs, can be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.



Linux                             2007-07-10                         ACCESS(2)