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access, eaccess, faccessat — check accessibility of a file
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
access(const char *path, int mode);
eaccess(const char *path, int mode);
faccessat(int fd, const char *path, int mode, int flag);
The access() and eaccess() system calls check the accessibility of the
file named by the path argument for the access permissions indicated by
the mode argument. The value of mode is either the bitwise-inclusive OR
of the access permissions to be checked (R_OK for read permission, W_OK
for write permission, and X_OK for execute/search permission), or the
existence test (F_OK).
For additional information, see the File Access Permission section of
The eaccess() system call uses the effective user ID and the group access
list to authorize the request; the access() system call uses the real
user ID in place of the effective user ID, the real group ID in place of
the effective group ID, and the rest of the group access list.
The faccessat() system call is equivalent to access() except in the case
where path specifies a relative path. In this case the file whose
accessibility is to be determined is located relative to the directory
associated with the file descriptor fd instead of the current working
directory. If faccessat() is passed the special value AT_FDCWD in the fd
parameter, the current working directory is used and the behavior is
identical to a call to access(). Values for flag are constructed by a
bitwise-inclusive OR of flags from the following list, defined in
The checks for accessibility are performed using the effective
user and group IDs instead of the real user and group ID as
required in a call to access().
Even if a process's real or effective user has appropriate privileges and
indicates success for X_OK, the file may not actually have execute
permission bits set. Likewise for R_OK and W_OK.
Upon successful completion, the value 0 is returned; otherwise the
value -1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the
Access to the file is denied if:
[ENOTDIR] A component of the path prefix is not a directory.
[ENAMETOOLONG] A component of a pathname exceeded 255 characters, or
an entire path name exceeded 1023 characters.
[ENOENT] The named file does not exist.
[ELOOP] Too many symbolic links were encountered in
translating the pathname.
[EROFS] Write access is requested for a file on a read-only
[ETXTBSY] Write access is requested for a pure procedure (shared
text) file presently being executed.
[EACCES] Permission bits of the file mode do not permit the
requested access, or search permission is denied on a
component of the path prefix.
[EFAULT] The path argument points outside the process's
allocated address space.
[EIO] An I/O error occurred while reading from or writing to
the file system.
Also, the faccessat() system call may fail if:
[EBADF] The path argument does not specify an absolute path
and the fd argument is neither AT_FDCWD nor a valid
[EINVAL] The value of the flag argument is not valid.
[ENOTDIR] The path argument is not an absolute path and fd is
neither AT_FDCWD nor a file descriptor associated with
The access() system call is a potential security hole due to race
conditions and should never be used. Set-user-ID and set-group-ID
applications should restore the effective user or group ID, and perform
actions directly rather than use access() to simulate access checks for
the real user or group ID. The eaccess() system call likewise may be
subject to races if used inappropriately.
access() remains useful for providing clues to users as to whether
operations make sense for particular filesystem objects (e.g. 'delete'
menu item only highlighted in a writable folder ... avoiding
interpretation of the st_mode bits that the application might not
understand -- e.g. in the case of AFS). It also allows a cheaper file
existence test than stat(2).
chmod(2), intro(2), stat(2)
The access() system call is expected to conform to ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990
(“POSIX.1”). The faccessat() system call follows The Open Group Extended
API Set 2 specification.
The access() function appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX. The faccessat()
system call appeared in FreeBSD 8.0.