mknod - create a special or ordinary file
int mknod(const char *pathname, mode_t mode, dev_t dev);
mknod attempts to create a filesystem node (file, device special file
or named pipe) named pathname, specified by mode and dev.
mode specifies both the permissions to use and the type of node to be
It should be a combination (using bitwise OR) of one of the file types
listed below and the permissions for the new node.
The permissions are modified by the process's umask in the usual way:
the permissions of the created node are (mode & ~umask).
The file type should be one of S_IFREG, S_IFCHR, S_IFBLK and S_IFIFO to
specify a normal file (which will be created empty), character special
file, block special file or FIFO (named pipe), respectively, or zero,
which will create a normal file.
If the file type is S_IFCHR or S_IFBLK then dev specifies the major and
minor numbers of the newly created device special file; otherwise it is
If pathname already exists, or is a symlink, this call fails with an
The newly created node will be owned by the effective uid of the
process. If the directory containing the node has the set group id bit
set, or if the filesystem is mounted with BSD group semantics, the new
node will inherit the group ownership from its parent directory; otherwise
it will be owned by the effective gid of the process.
mknod returns zero on success, or -1 if an error occurred (in which
case, errno is set appropriately).
EPERM mode requested creation of something other than a FIFO (named
pipe), and the caller is not the superuser; also returned if the
filesystem containing pathname does not support the type of node
EINVAL mode requested creation of something other than a normal file,
device special file or FIFO.
EEXIST pathname already exists.
EFAULT pathname points outside your accessible address space.
EACCES The parent directory does not allow write permission to the
process, or one of the directories in pathname did not allow
search (execute) permission.
ENAMETOOLONG [Toc] [Back]
pathname was too long.
ENOENT A directory component in pathname does not exist or is a dangling
ENOTDIR [Toc] [Back]
A component used as a directory in pathname is not, in fact, a
ENOMEM Insufficient kernel memory was available.
EROFS pathname refers to a file on a read-only filesystem.
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving pathname.
ENOSPC The device containing pathname has no room for the new node.
SVr4 (but the call requires privilege and is thus not in POSIX),
4.4BSD. The Linux version differs from the SVr4 version in that it
does not require root permission to create pipes, also in that no EMULTIHOP,
ENOLINK, or EINTR error is documented.
The Austin draft says: "The only portable use of mknod() is to create a
FIFO-special file. If mode is not S_IFIFO or dev is not 0, the behavior
of mknod() is unspecified."
Under Linux, this call cannot be used to create directories or socket
files, and cannot be used to create normal files by users other than
the superuser. One should make directories with mkdir, and FIFOs with
There are many infelicities in the protocol underlying NFS. Some of
these affect mknod.
close(2), fcntl(2), mkdir(2), mount(2), open(2), read(2), socket(2),
stat(2), umask(2), unlink(2), write(2), fopen(3), mkfifo(3)
Linux 1.0 1994-03-29 MKNOD(2)
[ Back ]