Man page of FLOCK
Section: H. Peter Anvin (1)
Updated: 4 Feb 2006
Return to Main Contents
flock - Manage locks from shell scripts
flock [-sxon] [-w timeout] lockfile [-c] command...
flock [-sxon] [-w timeout] lockdir [-c] command...
flock [-sxun] [-w timeout] fd
This utility manages
locks from within shell scripts or the command line.
The first and second forms wraps the lock around the executing a command, in a manner similar to
It locks a specified file or directory, which is created (assuming appropriate
permissions), if it does not already exist.
The third form is convenient inside shell scripts, and is usually
used the following manner:
flock -s 200
# ... commands executed under lock ...
The mode used to open the file doesn't matter to flock; using
> or >> allows the lockfile to be created if it does not
already exist, however, write permission is required; using <
requires that the file already exists but only read permission is
By default, if the lock cannot be immediately acquired, flock
waits until the lock is available.
- -s, --shared
Obtain a shared lock, sometimes called a read lock.
- -x, -e, --exclusive
Obtain an exclusive lock, sometimes called a write lock. This is the
- -u, --unlock
Drop a lock. This is usually not required, since a lock is
automatically dropped when the file is closed. However, it may be
required in special cases, for example if the enclosed command group
may have forked a background process which should not be holding the
- -n, --nb, --nonblock
Fail (with an exit code of 1) rather than wait if the lock cannot be
- -w, --wait, --timeout seconds
Fail (with an exit code of 1) if the lock cannot be acquired within
seconds seconds. Decimal fractional values are allowed.
- -o, --close
Close the file descriptor on which the lock is held before executing
command. This is useful if command spawns a child process
which should not be hold ing the lock.
- -c, --command command
Pass a single command to the shell with -c.
- -h, --help
Print a help message.
Written by H. Peter Anvin <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Copyright © 2003-2006 H. Peter Anvin.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
The flock command is part of the util-linux-ng package and is available from
- SEE ALSO
This document was created by
using the manual pages.
Time: 03:41:10 GMT, September 24, 2010