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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 <unistd.h>

       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_resolution(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 pathname.

       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_reso-
       lution(7), symlink(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                             2004-06-23                         UNLINK(2)