SYMLINK(2) Linux Programmer's Manual SYMLINK(2)
symlink, symlinkat - make a new name for a file
int symlink(const char *target, const char *linkpath);
#include <fcntl.h> /* Definition of AT_* constants */
int symlinkat(const char *target, int newdirfd, const char *linkpath);
Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):
_XOPEN_SOURCE >= 500 || _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200112L
|| /* Glibc versions <= 2.19: */ _BSD_SOURCE
Since glibc 2.10:
_POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
Before glibc 2.10:
symlink() creates a symbolic link named linkpath which contains the
Symbolic links are interpreted at run time as if the contents of the
link had been substituted into the path being followed to find a file
Symbolic links may contain .. path components, which (if used at the
start of the link) refer to the parent directories of that in which the
A symbolic link (also known as a soft link) may point to an existing
file or to a nonexistent one; the latter case is known as a dangling
The permissions of a symbolic link are irrelevant; the ownership is ig-
nored when following the link, but is checked when removal or renaming
of the link is requested and the link is in a directory with the sticky
bit (S_ISVTX) set.
If linkpath exists, it will not be overwritten.
The symlinkat() system call operates in exactly the same way as sym-
link(), except for the differences described here.
If the pathname given in linkpath is relative, then it is interpreted
relative to the directory referred to by the file descriptor newdirfd
(rather than relative to the current working directory of the calling
process, as is done by symlink() for a relative pathname).
If linkpath is relative and newdirfd is the special value AT_FDCWD,
then linkpath is interpreted relative to the current working directory
of the calling process (like symlink()).
If linkpath is absolute, then newdirfd is ignored.
On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is
EACCES Write access to the directory containing linkpath is denied, or
one of the directories in the path prefix of linkpath did not
allow search permission. (See also path_resolution(7).)
EDQUOT The user's quota of resources on the filesystem has been ex-
hausted. The resources could be inodes or disk blocks, depend-
ing on the filesystem implementation.
EEXIST linkpath already exists.
EFAULT target or linkpath points outside your accessible address space.
EIO An I/O error occurred.
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving linkpath.
target or linkpath was too long.
ENOENT A directory component in linkpath does not exist or is a dan-
gling symbolic link, or target or linkpath is an empty string.
ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.
ENOSPC The device containing the file has no room for the new directory
A component used as a directory in linkpath is not, in fact, a
EPERM The filesystem containing linkpath does not support the creation
of symbolic links.
EROFS linkpath is on a read-only filesystem.
The following additional errors can occur for symlinkat():
EBADF newdirfd is not a valid file descriptor.
ENOENT linkpath is a relative pathname and newdirfd refers to a direc-
tory that has been deleted.
linkpath is relative and newdirfd is a file descriptor referring
to a file other than a directory.
symlinkat() was added to Linux in kernel 2.6.16; library support was
added to glibc in version 2.4.
symlink(): SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008.
No checking of target is done.
Deleting the name referred to by a symbolic link will actually delete
the file (unless it also has other hard links). If this behavior is
not desired, use link(2).
On older kernels where symlinkat() is unavailable, the glibc wrapper
function falls back to the use of symlink(). When linkpath is a rela-
tive pathname, glibc constructs a pathname based on the symbolic link
in /proc/self/fd that corresponds to the newdirfd argument.
ln(1), namei(1), lchown(2), link(2), lstat(2), open(2), readlink(2),
rename(2), unlink(2), path_resolution(7), symlink(7)
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Linux 2017-09-15 SYMLINK(2)