sysconf(3) — Linux manual page


sysconf(3)              Library Functions Manual              sysconf(3)

NAME         top

       sysconf - get configuration information at run time

LIBRARY         top

       Standard C library (libc, -lc)

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <unistd.h>

       long sysconf(int name);

DESCRIPTION         top

       POSIX allows an application to test at compile or run time
       whether certain options are supported, or what the value is of
       certain configurable constants or limits.

       At compile time this is done by including <unistd.h> and/or
       <limits.h> and testing the value of certain macros.

       At run time, one can ask for numerical values using the present
       function sysconf().  One can ask for numerical values that may
       depend on the filesystem in which a file resides using
       fpathconf(3) and pathconf(3).  One can ask for string values
       using confstr(3).

       The values obtained from these functions are system configuration
       constants.  They do not change during the lifetime of a process.

       For options, typically, there is a constant _POSIX_FOO that may
       be defined in <unistd.h>.  If it is undefined, one should ask at
       run time.  If it is defined to -1, then the option is not
       supported.  If it is defined to 0, then relevant functions and
       headers exist, but one has to ask at run time what degree of
       support is available.  If it is defined to a value other than -1
       or 0, then the option is supported.  Usually the value (such as
       200112L) indicates the year and month of the POSIX revision
       describing the option.  glibc uses the value 1 to indicate
       support as long as the POSIX revision has not been published yet.
       The sysconf() argument will be _SC_FOO.  For a list of options,
       see posixoptions(7).

       For variables or limits, typically, there is a constant _FOO,
       maybe defined in <limits.h>, or _POSIX_FOO, maybe defined in
       <unistd.h>.  The constant will not be defined if the limit is
       unspecified.  If the constant is defined, it gives a guaranteed
       value, and a greater value might actually be supported.  If an
       application wants to take advantage of values which may change
       between systems, a call to sysconf() can be made.  The sysconf()
       argument will be _SC_FOO.

   POSIX.1 variables
       We give the name of the variable, the name of the sysconf()
       argument used to inquire about its value, and a short

       First, the POSIX.1 compatible values.

       ARG_MAX - _SC_ARG_MAX
              The maximum length of the arguments to the exec(3) family
              of functions.  Must not be less than _POSIX_ARG_MAX

              The maximum number of simultaneous processes per user ID.
              Must not be less than _POSIX_CHILD_MAX (25).

              Maximum length of a hostname, not including the
              terminating null byte, as returned by gethostname(2).
              Must not be less than _POSIX_HOST_NAME_MAX (255).

              Maximum length of a login name, including the terminating
              null byte.  Must not be less than _POSIX_LOGIN_NAME_MAX

              Maximum number of supplementary group IDs.

       clock ticks - _SC_CLK_TCK
              The number of clock ticks per second.  The corresponding
              variable is obsolete.  It was of course called CLK_TCK.
              (Note: the macro CLOCKS_PER_SEC does not give information:
              it must equal 1000000.)

              The maximum number of files that a process can have open
              at any time.  Must not be less than _POSIX_OPEN_MAX (20).

              Size of a page in bytes.  Must not be less than 1.

              A synonym for PAGESIZE/_SC_PAGESIZE.  (Both PAGESIZE and
              PAGE_SIZE are specified in POSIX.)

              The number of repeated occurrences of a BRE permitted by
              regexec(3) and regcomp(3).  Must not be less than
              _POSIX2_RE_DUP_MAX (255).

              The maximum number of streams that a process can have open
              at any time.  If defined, it has the same value as the
              standard C macro FOPEN_MAX.  Must not be less than
              _POSIX_STREAM_MAX (8).

              The maximum number of symbolic links seen in a pathname
              before resolution returns ELOOP.  Must not be less than
              _POSIX_SYMLOOP_MAX (8).

              The maximum length of terminal device name, including the
              terminating null byte.  Must not be less than
              _POSIX_TTY_NAME_MAX (9).

              The maximum number of bytes in a timezone name.  Must not
              be less than _POSIX_TZNAME_MAX (6).

              indicates the year and month the POSIX.1 standard was
              approved in the format YYYYMML; the value 199009L
              indicates the Sept. 1990 revision.

   POSIX.2 variables
       Next, the POSIX.2 values, giving limits for utilities.

              indicates the maximum obase value accepted by the bc(1)

              indicates the maximum value of elements permitted in an
              array by bc(1).

              indicates the maximum scale value allowed by bc(1).

              indicates the maximum length of a string accepted by

              indicates the maximum numbers of weights that can be
              assigned to an entry of the LC_COLLATE order keyword in
              the locale definition file.

              is the maximum number of expressions which can be nested
              within parentheses by expr(1).

              The maximum length of a utility's input line, either from
              standard input or from a file.  This includes space for a
              trailing newline.

              The maximum number of repeated occurrences of a regular
              expression when the interval notation \{m,n\} is used.

              indicates the version of the POSIX.2 standard in the
              format of YYYYMML.

       POSIX2_C_DEV - _SC_2_C_DEV
              indicates whether the POSIX.2 C language development
              facilities are supported.

              indicates whether the POSIX.2 FORTRAN development
              utilities are supported.

              indicates whether the POSIX.2 FORTRAN run-time utilities
              are supported.

              indicates whether the POSIX.2 creation of locales via
              localedef(1) is supported.

       POSIX2_SW_DEV - _SC_2_SW_DEV
              indicates whether the POSIX.2 software development
              utilities option is supported.

       These values also exist, but may not be standard.

        - _SC_PHYS_PAGES
              The number of pages of physical memory.  Note that it is
              possible for the product of this value and the value of
              _SC_PAGESIZE to overflow.

        - _SC_AVPHYS_PAGES
              The number of currently available pages of physical

              The number of processors configured.  See also

              The number of processors currently online (available).
              See also get_nprocs_conf(3).

RETURN VALUE         top

       The return value of sysconf() is one of the following:

       •  On error, -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the
          error (for example, EINVAL, indicating that name is invalid).

       •  If name corresponds to a maximum or minimum limit, and that
          limit is indeterminate, -1 is returned and errno is not
          changed.  (To distinguish an indeterminate limit from an
          error, set errno to zero before the call, and then check
          whether errno is nonzero when -1 is returned.)

       •  If name corresponds to an option, a positive value is returned
          if the option is supported, and -1 is returned if the option
          is not supported.

       •  Otherwise, the current value of the option or limit is
          returned.  This value will not be more restrictive than the
          corresponding value that was described to the application in
          <unistd.h> or <limits.h> when the application was compiled.

ERRORS         top

       EINVAL name is invalid.

ATTRIBUTES         top

       For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see
       │ Interface                       Attribute     Value       │
       │ sysconf()                       │ Thread safety │ MT-Safe env │

STANDARDS         top


HISTORY         top


BUGS         top

       It is difficult to use ARG_MAX because it is not specified how
       much of the argument space for exec(3) is consumed by the user's
       environment variables.

       Some returned values may be huge; they are not suitable for
       allocating memory.

SEE ALSO         top

       bc(1), expr(1), getconf(1), locale(1), confstr(3), fpathconf(3),
       pathconf(3), posixoptions(7)

Linux man-pages (unreleased)     (date)                       sysconf(3)

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