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3.2.37 fcntl







This function calls UNIX's fcntl (2) function. ( fcntl stands for "file control".) You'll probably have to say:

use Fcntl;

first to get the correct function definitions. SCALAR will be read and/or written depending on the FUNCTION  - a pointer to the string value of SCALAR will be passed as the third argument of the actual fcntl call. (If SCALAR has no string value but does have a numeric value, that value will be passed directly rather than a pointer to the string value.)

The return value of fcntl (and ioctl ) is as follows:

System call returns Perl returns
-1 undefined value
0 string " 0 but true "
anything else that number

Thus Perl returns true on success and false on failure, yet you can still easily determine the actual value returned by the operating system:

$retval = fcntl(...) or $retval = -1;
printf "System returned %d\n", $retval;

Here, even the string " 0 but true " prints as 0, thanks to the %d format.

For example, since Perl always sets the close-on-exec flag for file descriptors above 2, if you wanted to pass file descriptor 3 to a subprocess, you might want to clear the flag like this:

use Fcntl;
open TTY,"+>/dev/tty" or die "Can't open /dev/tty: $!\n";
fileno TTY == 3 or die "Internal error: fd mixup";
fcntl TTY, &F_SETFL, 0
    or die "Can't clear the close-on-exec flag: $!\n";

fcntl will produce a fatal error if used on a machine that doesn't implement fcntl (2). On machines that do implement it, you can do such things as modify the close-on-exec flags, modify the non-blocking I/O flags, emulate the lockf (3) function, and arrange to receive the SIGIO signal when I/O is pending. You might even have record-locking facilities.