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Version: 2007-07-26 (openSuse - 09/10/07)

Autres sections - même nom

Section: 3 (Bibliothèques de fonctions)


getcwd, getwd, get_current_dir_name - Get current working directory


#include <unistd.h>

char *getcwd(char *buf, size_t size);

char *getwd(char *buf);

char *get_current_dir_name(void);

Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

getcwd(): _BSD_SOURCE || _XOPEN_SOURCE >= 500
get_current_dir_name(): _GNU_SOURCE


The getcwd() function copies an absolute pathname of the current working directory to the array pointed to by buf, which is of length size.

If the current absolute pathname would require a buffer longer than size elements, NULL is returned, and errno is set to ERANGE; an application should check for this error, and allocate a larger buffer if necessary.

If buf is NULL, the behavior of getcwd() is undefined.

As an extension to the POSIX.1-2001 standard, Linux (libc4, libc5, glibc) getcwd() allocates the buffer dynamically using malloc(3) if buf is NULL on call. In this case, the allocated buffer has the length size unless size is zero, when buf is allocated as big as necessary. It is possible (and, indeed, advisable) to free(3) the buffers if they have been obtained this way.

get_current_dir_name(), will malloc(3) an array big enough to hold the current directory name. If the environment variable PWD is set, and its value is correct, then that value will be returned.

getwd(), does not malloc(3) any memory. The buf argument should be a pointer to an array at least PATH_MAX bytes long. getwd() does only return the first PATH_MAX bytes of the actual pathname. Note that PATH_MAX need not be a compile-time constant; it may depend on the filesystem and may even be unlimited. For portability and security reasons, use of getwd() is deprecated.


NULL on failure with errno set accordingly, and buf on success. The contents of the array pointed to by buf is undefined on error.


Permission to read or search a component of the filename was denied.
buf points to a bad address.
The size argument is zero and buf is not a null pointer.
The current working directory has been unlinked.
The size argument is less than the length of the working directory name. You need to allocate a bigger array and try again.


getcwd() conforms to POSIX.1-2001. getwd() is present in POSIX.1-2001, but marked LEGACY. get_current_dir_name() is a GNU extension.


Under Linux, the function getcwd() is a system call (since 2.1.92). On older systems it would query /proc/self/cwd. If both system call and proc file system are missing, a generic implementation is called. Only in that case can these calls fail under Linux with EACCES.

These functions are often used to save the location of the current working directory for the purpose of returning to it later. Opening the current directory (".") and calling fchdir(2) to return is usually a faster and more reliable alternative when sufficiently many file descriptors are available, especially on platforms other than Linux.


chdir(2), fchdir(2), open(2), unlink(2), free(3), malloc(3)