Section (1) unlink
unlink — call the unlink function to remove the specified file
Call the unlink function to remove the specified FILE.
display this help and exit
output version information and exit
GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
Report any translation bugs to <https://translationproject.org/team/>
Full documentation <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/unlink>
or available locally via: info _zsingle_quotesz_(coreutils) unlink invocation_zsingle_quotesz_
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Section (2) unlink
unlink, unlinkat — delete a name and possibly the file it refers to
||const char *pathname
#include <fcntl.h> /* Definition of AT_* constants */ #include <unistd.h>
|const char *pathname,|
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 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.
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 differences described here.
If the pathname given in
pathname is relative, then it
is interpreted relative to the directory referred to by the
dirfd (rather than relative
to the current working directory of the calling process, as
is done by
rmdir(2) for a relative
If the pathname given in
pathname is relative and
dirfd is the
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
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:
unlinkat() performs the equivalent of
pathname. If the
AT_REMOVEDIRflag is specified, then performs the equivalent of rmdir(2) on
See openat(2) for an
explanation of the need for
On success, zero is returned. On error, −1 is
errno is set
Write access to the directory containing
pathnameis not allowed for the process_zsingle_quotesz_s effective UID, or one of the directories in
pathnamedid not allow search permission. (See also path_resolution(7).)
pathnamecannot be unlinked because it is being used by the system or another process; for example, it is a mount point or the NFS client software created it to represent an active but otherwise nameless inode (NFS silly renamed).
pathnamepoints outside your accessible address space.
An I/O error occurred.
pathnamerefers to a directory. (This is the non-POSIX value returned by Linux since 2.1.132.)
Too many symbolic links were encountered in translating
pathnamewas too long.
A component in
pathnamedoes not exist or is a dangling symbolic link, or
Insufficient kernel memory was available.
A component used as a directory in
pathnameis not, in fact, a directory.
The system does not allow unlinking of directories, or unlinking of directories requires privileges that the calling process doesn_zsingle_quotesz_t have. (This is the POSIX prescribed 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
pathnamehas the sticky bit (
S_ISVTX) set and the process_zsingle_quotesz_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
The file to be unlinked is marked immutable or append-only. (See ioctl_iflags(2).)
pathnamerefers 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
dirfdis not a valid file descriptor.
An invalid flag value was specified in
pathnamerefers to a directory, and
AT_REMOVEDIRwas not specified in
pathnameis relative and
dirfdis a file descriptor referring to a file other than a directory.
unlinkat() was added to
Linux in kernel 2.6.16; library support was added to glibc in
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 constructs a pathname based on the symbolic
corresponds to the
Infelicities in the protocol underlying NFS can cause the unexpected disappearance of files which are still being used.
This page is part of release 4.16 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
This manpage is Copyright (C) 1992 Drew Eckhardt;
and Copyright (C) 1993 Ian Jackson
and Copyright (C) 2006, 2014 Michael Kerrisk.
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manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are
preserved on all copies.
Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this
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Since the Linux kernel and libraries are constantly changing, this
manual page may be incorrect or out-of-date. The author(s) assume no
responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from
the use of the information contained herein. The author(s) may not
have taken the same level of care in the production of this manual,
which is licensed free of charge, as they might when working
Formatted or processed versions of this manual, if unaccompanied by
the source, must acknowledge the copyright and authors of this work.
Modified 1993-07-24 by Rik Faith <faithcs.unc.edu>
Modified 1996-09-08 by Arnt Gulbrandsen <agulbratroll.no>
Modified 1997-01-31 by Eric S. Raymond <esrthyrsus.com>
Modified 2001-05-17 by aeb
Modified 2004-06-23 by Michael Kerrisk <mtk.manpagesgmail.com>