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NAME

       close - close a file descriptor

SYNOPSIS

       #include <unistd.h>

       int close(int fd);

DESCRIPTION

       close()  closes  a  file  descriptor,  so  that it no longer refers to any file and may be
       reused.  Any record locks (see fcntl(2)) held on the file  it  was  associated  with,  and
       owned  by  the  process,  are  removed (regardless of the file descriptor that was used to
       obtain the lock).

       If fd is the last file descriptor referring to the underlying open file  description  (see
       open(2)),  the  resources associated with the open file description are freed; if the file
       descriptor was the last reference to a file which has been removed  using  unlink(2),  the
       file is deleted.

RETURN VALUE

       close()   returns  zero  on  success.   On  error,  -1  is  returned,  and  errno  is  set
       appropriately.

ERRORS

       EBADF  fd isn't a valid open file descriptor.

       EINTR  The close() call was interrupted by a signal; see signal(7).

       EIO    An I/O error occurred.

       ENOSPC, EDQUOT
              On NFS, these errors are not  normally  reported  against  the  first  write  which
              exceeds  the  available  storage  space, but instead against a subsequent write(2),
              fsync(2), or close(2).

       See NOTES for a discussion of why close() should not be retried after an error.

CONFORMING TO

       POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008, SVr4, 4.3BSD.

NOTES

       A successful close does not guarantee that the data has been successfully saved  to  disk,
       as  the kernel uses the buffer cache to defer writes.  Typically, filesystems do not flush
       buffers when a file is closed.  If you need to be sure that the data is physically  stored
       on  the  underlying  disk,  use  fsync(2).   (It  will depend on the disk hardware at this
       point.)

       The close-on-exec file descriptor flag can be used to ensure that  a  file  descriptor  is
       automatically closed upon a successful execve(2); see fcntl(2) for details.

       It  is  probably unwise to close file descriptors while they may be in use by system calls
       in other threads in the same process.  Since a file descriptor may be  reused,  there  are
       some obscure race conditions that may cause unintended side effects.

   Dealing with error returns from close()
       A  careful  programmer  will check the return value of close(), since it is quite possible
       that errors on a previous write(2) operation are reported only on the final  close()  that
       releases the open file description.  Failing to check the return value when closing a file
       may lead to silent loss of data.  This can especially be observed with NFS and  with  disk
       quota.

       Note,  however, that a failure return should be used only for diagnostic purposes (i.e., a
       warning to the application that there may still be I/O pending  or  there  may  have  been
       failed I/O) or remedial purposes (e.g., writing the file once more or creating a backup).

       Retrying the close() after a failure return is the wrong thing to do, since this may cause
       a reused file descriptor from another thread to be closed.  This  can  occur  because  the
       Linux  kernel always releases the file descriptor early in the close operation, freeing it
       for reuse; the steps that may return an error, such as flushing data to the filesystem  or
       device, occur only later in the close operation.

       Many  other implementations similarly always close the file descriptor (except in the case
       of EBADF, meaning that the file descriptor was invalid) even if they  subsequently  report
       an error on return from close().  POSIX.1 is currently silent on this point, but there are
       plans to mandate this behavior in the next major release of the standard

       A careful programmer who wants to know about I/O errors may precede close() with a call to
       fsync(2).

       The EINTR error is a somewhat special case.  Regarding the EINTR error, POSIX.1-2013 says:

              If close() is interrupted by a signal that is to be caught, it shall return -1 with
              errno set to EINTR and the state of fildes is unspecified.

       This permits the behavior that occurs on Linux and many other implementations,  where,  as
       with other errors that may be reported by close(), the file descriptor is guaranteed to be
       closed.  However, it also permits another possibility: that the implementation returns  an
       EINTR  error and keeps the file descriptor open.  (According to its documentation, HP-UX's
       close() does this.)  The caller must  then  once  more  use  close()  to  close  the  file
       descriptor,  to  avoid file descriptor leaks.  This divergence in implementation behaviors
       provides a difficult hurdle for portable  applications,  since  on  many  implementations,
       close()  must  not be called again after an EINTR error, and on at least one, close() must
       be called again.  There are plans to address this conundrum for the next major release  of
       the POSIX.1 standard.

SEE ALSO

       fcntl(2), fsync(2), open(2), shutdown(2), unlink(2), fclose(3)

COLOPHON

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