mknod - create a special or ordinary file


#include <sys/types.h>

#include <sys/stat.h>

#include <fcntl.h>

#include <unistd.h>

int mknod(const char *pathname, mode_t mode, dev_t dev);

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

mknod(): _BSD_SOURCE || _SVID_SOURCE || _XOPEN_SOURCE >= 500


The system call mknod() creates a filesystem node (file, device special file or named pipe) named pathname, with attributes specified by mode and dev.

The mode argument specifies both the permissions to use and the type of node to be created. 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 must be one of S_IFREG, S_IFCHR, S_IFBLK, S_IFIFO or S_IFSOCK to specify a normal file (which will be created empty), character special file, block special file, FIFO (named pipe), or Unix domain socket, respectively. (Zero file type is equivalent to type S_IFREG.)

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 ignored.

If pathname already exists, or is a symbolic link, this call fails with an EEXIST error.

The newly created node will be owned by the effective user ID 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 group ID of the process.


mknod() returns zero on success, or -1 if an error occurred (in which case, errno is set appropriately).


The parent directory does not allow write permission to the process, or one of the directories in the path prefix of pathname did not allow search permission. (See also path_resolution(7).)
pathname already exists.
pathname points outside your accessible address space.
mode requested creation of something other than a normal file, device special file, FIFO or socket.
Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving pathname.
pathname was too long.
A directory component in pathname does not exist or is a dangling symbolic link.
Insufficient kernel memory was available.
The device containing pathname has no room for the new node.
A component used as a directory in pathname is not, in fact, a directory.
mode requested creation of something other than a regular file, FIFO (named pipe), or Unix domain socket, and the caller is not privileged (Linux: does not have the CAP_MKNOD capability); also returned if the filesystem containing pathname does not support the type of node requested.
pathname refers to a file on a read-only filesystem.


SVr4, 4.4BSD, POSIX.1-2001 (but see below).


POSIX.1-2001 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. One should make directories with mkdir(2), and FIFOs with mkfifo(3).

There are many infelicities in the protocol underlying NFS. Some of these affect mknod().


fcntl(2), mkdir(2), mknodat(2), mount(2), socket(2), stat(2), umask(2), unlink(2), mkfifo(3), path_resolution(7)