FEXECVE(3)                Linux Programmer's Manual               FEXECVE(3)

NAME         top

       fexecve - execute program specified via file descriptor

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <unistd.h>

       int fexecve(int fd, char *const argv[], char *const envp[]);

   Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

           Since glibc 2.10:
               _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
           Before glibc 2.10:

DESCRIPTION         top

       fexecve() performs the same task as execve(2), with the difference
       that the file to be executed is specified via a file descriptor, fd,
       rather than via a pathname.  The file descriptor fd must be opened
       read-only, and the caller must have permission to execute the file
       that it refers to.

RETURN VALUE         top

       A successful call to fexecve() never returns.  On error, the function
       does return, with a result value of -1, and errno is set

ERRORS         top

       Errors are as for execve(2), with the following additions:

       EINVAL fd is not a valid file descriptor, or argv is NULL, or envp is

       ENOSYS The /proc filesystem could not be accessed.

VERSIONS         top

       fexecve() is implemented since glibc 2.3.2.

ATTRIBUTES         top

       For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see

       │Interface Attribute     Value   │
       │fexecve() │ Thread safety │ MT-Safe │

CONFORMING TO         top

       POSIX.1-2008.  This function is not specified in POSIX.1-2001, and is
       not widely available on other systems.  It is specified in

NOTES         top

       On Linux, fexecve() is implemented using the proc(5) filesystem, so
       /proc needs to be mounted and available at the time of the call.

       The idea behind fexecve() is to allow the caller to verify (checksum)
       the contents of an executable before executing it.  Simply opening
       the file, checksumming the contents, and then doing an execve(2)
       would not suffice, since, between the two steps, the filename, or a
       directory prefix of the pathname, could have been exchanged (by, for
       example, modifying the target of a symbolic link).  fexecve() does
       not mitigate the problem that the contents of a file could be changed
       between the checksumming and the call to fexecve(); for that, the
       solution is to ensure that the permissions on the file prevent it
       from being modified by malicious users.

       The natural idiom when using fexecve() is to set the close-on-exec
       flag on fd, so that the file descriptor does not leak through to the
       program that is executed.  This approach is natural for two reasons.
       First, it prevents file descriptors being consumed unnecessarily.
       (The executed program normally has no need of a file descriptor that
       refers to the program itself.)  Second, if fexecve() is used
       recursively, employing the close-on-exec flag prevents the file
       descriptor exhaustion that would result from the fact that each step
       in the recursion would cause one more file descriptor to be passed to
       the new program.  (But see BUGS.)

BUGS         top

       If fd refers to a script (i.e., it is an executable text file that
       names a script interpreter with a first line that begins with the
       characters #!)  and the close-on-exec flag has been set for fd, then
       fexecve() fails with the error ENOENT.  This error occurs because, by
       the time the script interpreter is executed, fd has already been
       closed because of the close-on-exec flag.  Thus, the close-on-exec
       flag can't be set on fd if it refers to a script, leading to the
       problems described in NOTES.

SEE ALSO         top

       execve(2), execveat(2)

COLOPHON         top

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       latest version of this page, can be found at

Linux                            2016-03-15                       FEXECVE(3)