PROLOG | NAME | SYNOPSIS | DESCRIPTION | RETURN VALUE | ERRORS | EXAMPLES | APPLICATION USAGE | RATIONALE | FUTURE DIRECTIONS | SEE ALSO | COPYRIGHT

READDIR(3P)               POSIX Programmer's Manual              READDIR(3P)

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

       readdir, readdir_r — read a directory

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <dirent.h>

       struct dirent *readdir(DIR *dirp);
       int readdir_r(DIR *restrict dirp, struct dirent *restrict entry,
           struct dirent **restrict result);

DESCRIPTION         top

       The type DIR, which is defined in the <dirent.h> header, represents a
       directory stream, which is an ordered sequence of all the directory
       entries in a particular directory. Directory entries represent files;
       files may be removed from a directory or added to a directory
       asynchronously to the operation of readdir().

       The readdir() function shall return a pointer to a structure
       representing the directory entry at the current position in the
       directory stream specified by the argument dirp, and position the
       directory stream at the next entry. It shall return a null pointer
       upon reaching the end of the directory stream. The structure dirent
       defined in the <dirent.h> header describes a directory entry. The
       value of the structure's d_ino member shall be set to the file serial
       number of the file named by the d_name member. If the d_name member
       names a symbolic link, the value of the d_ino member shall be set to
       the file serial number of the symbolic link itself.

       The readdir() function shall not return directory entries containing
       empty names. If entries for dot or dot-dot exist, one entry shall be
       returned for dot and one entry shall be returned for dot-dot;
       otherwise, they shall not be returned.

       The application shall not modify the structure to which the return
       value of readdir() points, nor any storage areas pointed to by
       pointers within the structure. The returned pointer, and pointers
       within the structure, might be invalidated or the structure or the
       storage areas might be overwritten by a subsequent call to readdir()
       on the same directory stream. They shall not be affected by a call to
       readdir() on a different directory stream.

       If a file is removed from or added to the directory after the most
       recent call to opendir() or rewinddir(), whether a subsequent call to
       readdir() returns an entry for that file is unspecified.

       The readdir() function may buffer several directory entries per
       actual read operation; readdir() shall mark for update the last data
       access timestamp of the directory each time the directory is actually
       read.

       After a call to fork(), either the parent or child (but not both) may
       continue processing the directory stream using readdir(),
       rewinddir(), or seekdir().  If both the parent and child processes
       use these functions, the result is undefined.

       The readdir() function need not be thread-safe.

       Applications wishing to check for error situations should set errno
       to 0 before calling readdir().  If errno is set to non-zero on
       return, an error occurred.

       The readdir_r() function shall initialize the dirent structure
       referenced by entry to represent the directory entry at the current
       position in the directory stream referred to by dirp, store a pointer
       to this structure at the location referenced by result, and position
       the directory stream at the next entry.

       The storage pointed to by entry shall be large enough for a dirent
       with an array of char d_name members containing at least {NAME_MAX}+1
       elements.

       Upon successful return, the pointer returned at *result shall have
       the same value as the argument entry.  Upon reaching the end of the
       directory stream, this pointer shall have the value NULL.

       The readdir_r() function shall not return directory entries
       containing empty names.

       If a file is removed from or added to the directory after the most
       recent call to opendir() or rewinddir(), whether a subsequent call to
       readdir_r() returns an entry for that file is unspecified.

       The readdir_r() function may buffer several directory entries per
       actual read operation; readdir_r() shall mark for update the last
       data access timestamp of the directory each time the directory is
       actually read.

RETURN VALUE         top

       Upon successful completion, readdir() shall return a pointer to an
       object of type struct dirent.  When an error is encountered, a null
       pointer shall be returned and errno shall be set to indicate the
       error. When the end of the directory is encountered, a null pointer
       shall be returned and errno is not changed.

       If successful, the readdir_r() function shall return zero; otherwise,
       an error number shall be returned to indicate the error.

ERRORS         top

       These functions shall fail if:

       EOVERFLOW
              One of the values in the structure to be returned cannot be
              represented correctly.

       These functions may fail if:

       EBADF  The dirp argument does not refer to an open directory stream.

       ENOENT The current position of the directory stream is invalid.

       The following sections are informative.

EXAMPLES         top

       The following sample program searches the current directory for each
       of the arguments supplied on the command line.

           #include <dirent.h>
           #include <errno.h>
           #include <stdio.h>
           #include <string.h>

           static void lookup(const char *arg)
           {
               DIR *dirp;
               struct dirent *dp;

               if ((dirp = opendir(".")) == NULL) {
                   perror("couldn't open '.'");
                   return;
               }

               do {
                   errno = 0;
                   if ((dp = readdir(dirp)) != NULL) {
                       if (strcmp(dp->d_name, arg) != 0)
                           continue;

                       (void) printf("found %s\n", arg);
                       (void) closedir(dirp);
                           return;

                   }
               } while (dp != NULL);

               if (errno != 0)
                   perror("error reading directory");
               else
                   (void) printf("failed to find %s\n", arg);
               (void) closedir(dirp);
               return;
           }

           int main(int argc, char *argv[])
           {
               int i;
               for (i = 1; i < argc; i++)
                   lookup(argv[i]);
               return (0);
           }

APPLICATION USAGE         top

       The readdir() function should be used in conjunction with opendir(),
       closedir(), and rewinddir() to examine the contents of the directory.

       The readdir_r() function is thread-safe and shall return values in a
       user-supplied buffer instead of possibly using a static data area
       that may be overwritten by each call.

RATIONALE         top

       The returned value of readdir() merely represents a directory entry.
       No equivalence should be inferred.

       Historical implementations of readdir() obtain multiple directory
       entries on a single read operation, which permits subsequent
       readdir() operations to operate from the buffered information. Any
       wording that required each successful readdir() operation to mark the
       directory last data access timestamp for update would disallow such
       historical performance-oriented implementations.

       When returning a directory entry for the root of a mounted file
       system, some historical implementations of readdir() returned the
       file serial number of the underlying mount point, rather than of the
       root of the mounted file system. This behavior is considered to be a
       bug, since the underlying file serial number has no significance to
       applications.

       Since readdir() returns NULL when it detects an error and when the
       end of the directory is encountered, an application that needs to
       tell the difference must set errno to zero before the call and check
       it if NULL is returned.  Since the function must not change errno in
       the second case and must set it to a non-zero value in the first
       case, a zero errno after a call returning NULL indicates end-of-
       directory; otherwise, an error.

       Routines to deal with this problem more directly were proposed:

           int derror (dirp)
           DIR *dirp;

           void clearderr (dirp)
           DIR *dirp;

       The first would indicate whether an error had occurred, and the
       second would clear the error indication. The simpler method involving
       errno was adopted instead by requiring that readdir() not change
       errno when end-of-directory is encountered.

       An error or signal indicating that a directory has changed while open
       was considered but rejected.

       The thread-safe version of the directory reading function returns
       values in a user-supplied buffer instead of possibly using a static
       data area that may be overwritten by each call. Either the {NAME_MAX}
       compile-time constant or the corresponding pathconf() option can be
       used to determine the maximum sizes of returned pathnames.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS         top

       None.

SEE ALSO         top

       closedir(3p), dirfd(3p), exec(1p), fdopendir(3p), fstatat(3p),
       rewinddir(3p), symlink(3p)

       The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, dirent.h(0p),
       sys_types.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 http://www.unix.org/online.html .

       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
       https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/reporting_bugs.html .

IEEE/The Open Group                 2013                         READDIR(3P)