LSEEK(2) Linux Programmers Manual LSEEK(2)
lseek - reposition read/write file offset
off_t lseek(int fd, off_t offset, int whence);
The lseek() function repositions the offset of the open file associated
with the file descriptor fd to the argument offset according to the
directive whence as follows:
The offset is set to offset bytes.
The offset is set to its current location plus offset bytes.
The offset is set to the size of the file plus offset bytes.
The lseek() function allows the file offset to be set beyond the end of
the file (but this does not change the size of the file). If data is
later written at this point, subsequent reads of the data in the gap (a
"hole") return null bytes ('\0') until data is actually written into
Upon successful completion, lseek() returns the resulting offset loca
tion as measured in bytes from the beginning of the file. Otherwise, a
value of (off_t) -1 is returned and errno is set to indicate the error.
EBADF fd is not an open file descriptor.
EINVAL whence is not one of SEEK_SET, SEEK_CUR, SEEK_END; or the
resulting file offset would be negative, or beyond the end of a
The resulting file offset cannot be represented in an off_t.
ESPIPE fd is associated with a pipe, socket, or FIFO.
SVr4, 4.3BSD, POSIX.1-2001.
This documents use of whence is incorrect English, but maintained for
Some devices are incapable of seeking and POSIX does not specify which
devices must support lseek().
On Linux, using lseek() on a tty device returns ESPIPE.
When converting old code, substitute values for whence with the follow
SVr1-3 returns long instead of off_t, BSD returns int.
Note that file descriptors created by dup(2) or fork(2) share the cur
rent file position pointer, so seeking on such files may be subject to
dup(2), fork(2), open(2), fseek(3), lseek64(3), posix_fallocate(3)
This page is part of release 3.05 of the Linux man-pages project. A
description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.
Linux 2001-09-24 LSEEK(2)