PATHCHK(1P)               POSIX Programmer's Manual              PATHCHK(1P)

PROLOG         top

       This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual.  The Linux
       implementation of this interface may differ (consult the
       corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or
       the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

NAME         top

       pathchk — check pathnames

SYNOPSIS         top

       pathchk [−p] [−P] pathname...

DESCRIPTION         top

       The pathchk utility shall check that one or more pathnames are valid
       (that is, they could be used to access or create a file without
       causing syntax errors) and portable (that is, no filename truncation
       results). More extensive portability checks are provided by the −p
       and −P options.

       By default, the pathchk utility shall check each component of each
       pathname operand based on the underlying file system. A diagnostic
       shall be written for each pathname operand that:

        *  Is longer than {PATH_MAX} bytes (see Pathname Variable Values in
           the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, limits.h(0p))

        *  Contains any component longer than {NAME_MAX} bytes in its
           containing directory

        *  Contains any component in a directory that is not searchable

        *  Contains any byte sequence that is not valid in its containing

       The format of the diagnostic message is not specified, but shall
       indicate the error detected and the corresponding pathname operand.

       It shall not be considered an error if one or more components of a
       pathname operand do not exist as long as a file matching the pathname
       specified by the missing components could be created that does not
       violate any of the checks specified above.

OPTIONS         top

       The pathchk utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of
       POSIX.1‐2008, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

       The following option shall be supported:

       −p        Instead of performing checks based on the underlying file
                 system, write a diagnostic for each pathname operand that:

                  *  Is longer than {_POSIX_PATH_MAX} bytes (see Minimum
                     Values in the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008,

                  *  Contains any component longer than {_POSIX_NAME_MAX}

                  *  Contains any character in any component that is not in
                     the portable filename character set

       −P        Write a diagnostic for each pathname operand that:

                  *  Contains a component whose first character is the
                     <hyphen> character

                  *  Is empty

OPERANDS         top

       The following operand shall be supported:

       pathname  A pathname to be checked.

STDIN         top

       Not used.

INPUT FILES         top



       The following environment variables shall affect the execution of

       LANG      Provide a default value for the internationalization
                 variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions
                 volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 8.2, Internationalization
                 Variables the precedence of internationalization variables
                 used to determine the values of locale categories.)

       LC_ALL    If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of
                 all the other internationalization variables.

       LC_CTYPE  Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of
                 bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte
                 as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments).

                 Determine the locale that should be used to affect the
                 format and contents of diagnostic messages written to
                 standard error.

       NLSPATH   Determine the location of message catalogs for the
                 processing of LC_MESSAGES.



STDOUT         top

       Not used.

STDERR         top

       The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

OUTPUT FILES         top




EXIT STATUS         top

       The following exit values shall be returned:

        0    All pathname operands passed all of the checks.

       >0    An error occurred.



       The following sections are informative.


       The test utility can be used to determine whether a given pathname
       names an existing file; it does not, however, give any indication of
       whether or not any component of the pathname was truncated in a
       directory where the _POSIX_NO_TRUNC feature is not in effect. The
       pathchk utility does not check for file existence; it performs checks
       to determine whether a pathname does exist or could be created with
       no pathname component truncation.

       The noclobber option in the shell (see the set(1p) special built-in)
       can be used to atomically create a file. As with all file creation
       semantics in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, it
       guarantees atomic creation, but still depends on applications to
       agree on conventions and cooperate on the use of files after they
       have been created.

       To verify that a pathname meets the requirements of filename
       portability, applications should use both the −p and −P options

EXAMPLES         top

       To verify that all pathnames in an imported data interchange archive
       are legitimate and unambiguous on the current system:

           # This example assumes that no pathnames in the archive
           # contain <newline> characters.
           pax −f archive | sed −e 's/[^[:alnum:]]/\\&/g' | xargs pathchk −−
           if [ $? −eq 0 ]
               pax −r −f archive
               echo Investigate problems before importing files.
               exit 1

       To verify that all files in the current directory hierarchy could be
       moved to any system conforming to the System Interfaces volume of
       POSIX.1‐2008 that also supports the pax utility:

           find . −exec pathchk −p −P {} +
           if [ $? −eq 0 ]
               pax −w −f ../archive .
               echo Portable archive cannot be created.
               exit 1

       To verify that a user-supplied pathname names a readable file and
       that the application can create a file extending the given path
       without truncation and without overwriting any existing file:

           case $− in
               *C*)    reset="";;
               *)      reset="set +C"
                       set −C;;
           test −r "$path" && pathchk "$path.out" &&
               rm "$path.out" > "$path.out"
           if [ $? −ne 0 ]; then
               printf "%s: %s not found or %s.out fails \
           creation checks.\n" $0 "$path$path"
               $reset    # Reset the noclobber option in case a trap
                         # on EXIT depends on it.
               exit 1
           PROCESSING < "$path" > "$path.out"

       The following assumptions are made in this example:

        1. PROCESSING represents the code that is used by the application to
           use $path once it is verified that $path.out works as intended.

        2. The state of the noclobber option is unknown when this code is
           invoked and should be set on exit to the state it was in when
           this code was invoked. (The reset variable is used in this
           example to restore the initial state.)

        3. Note the usage of:

               rm "$path.out" > "$path.out"

            a. The pathchk command has already verified, at this point, that
               $path.out is not truncated.

            b. With the noclobber option set, the shell verifies that
               $path.out does not already exist before invoking rm.

            c. If the shell succeeded in creating $path.out, rm removes it
               so that the application can create the file again in the
               PROCESSING step.

            d. If the PROCESSING step wants the file to exist already when
               it is invoked, the:

                   rm "$path.out" > "$path.out"

               should be replaced with:

                   > "$path.out"

               which verifies that the file did not already exist, but
               leaves $path.out in place for use by PROCESSING.

RATIONALE         top

       The pathchk utility was new for the ISO POSIX‐2:1993 standard. It,
       along with the set −C(noclobber) option added to the shell, replaces
       the mktemp, validfnam, and create utilities that appeared in early
       proposals. All of these utilities were attempts to solve several
       common problems:

        *  Verify the validity (for several different definitions of
           ``valid'') of a pathname supplied by a user, generated by an
           application, or imported from an external source.

        *  Atomically create a file.

        *  Perform various string handling functions to generate a temporary

       The create utility, included in an early proposal, provided checking
       and atomic creation in a single invocation of the utility; these are
       orthogonal issues and need not be grouped into a single utility. Note
       that the noclobber option also provides a way of creating a lock for
       process synchronization; since it provides an atomic create, there is
       no race between a test for existence and the following creation if it
       did not exist.

       Having a function like tmpnam() in the ISO C standard is important in
       many high-level languages. The shell programming language, however,
       has built-in string manipulation facilities, making it very easy to
       construct temporary filenames. The names needed obviously depend on
       the application, but are frequently of a form similar to:


       In cases where there is likely to be contention for a given suffix, a
       simple shell for or while loop can be used with the shell noclobber
       option to create a file without risk of collisions, as long as
       applications trying to use the same filename name space are
       cooperating on the use of files after they have been created.

       For historical purposes, −p does not check for the use of the
       <hyphen> character as the first character in a component of the
       pathname, or for an empty pathname operand.



SEE ALSO         top

       Section 2.7, Redirection, set(1p), test(1p)

       The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Chapter 8, Environment
       Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines, limits.h(0p)

COPYRIGHT         top

       Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
       from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information
       Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open
       Group Base Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the
       Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open
       Group.  (This is POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1
       applied.) In the event of any discrepancy between this version and
       the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and
       The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original
       Standard can be obtained online at .

       Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are
       most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the
       source files to man page format. To report such errors, see .

IEEE/The Open Group                 2013                         PATHCHK(1P)