posix_fadvise − predeclare an access pattern for file data


#include <fcntl.h>

int posix_fadvise(int fd, off_t offset, off_t len, int advice);

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


_XOPEN_SOURCE >= 600 || _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200112L


Programs can use posix_fadvise() to announce an intention to access file data in a specific pattern in the future, thus allowing the kernel to perform appropriate optimizations.

The advice applies to a (not necessarily existent) region starting at offset and extending for len bytes (or until the end of the file if len is 0) within the file referred to by fd. The advice is not binding; it merely constitutes an expectation on behalf of the application.

Permissible values for advice include:

Indicates that the application has no advice to give about its access pattern for the specified data. If no advice is given for an open file, this is the default assumption.


The application expects to access the specified data sequentially (with lower offsets read before higher ones).


The specified data will be accessed in random order.


The specified data will be accessed only once.


The specified data will be accessed in the near future.


The specified data will not be accessed in the near future.


On success, zero is returned. On error, an error number is returned.



The fd argument was not a valid file descriptor.


An invalid value was specified for advice.


The specified file descriptor refers to a pipe or FIFO. (Linux actually returns EINVAL in this case.)


Kernel support first appeared in Linux 2.5.60; the underlying system call is called fadvise64(). Library support has been provided since glibc version 2.2, via the wrapper function posix_fadvise().


POSIX.1-2001. Note that the type of the len argument was changed from size_t to off_t in POSIX.1-2003 TC1.


Under Linux, POSIX_FADV_NORMAL sets the readahead window to the default size for the backing device; POSIX_FADV_SEQUENTIAL doubles this size, and POSIX_FADV_RANDOM disables file readahead entirely. These changes affect the entire file, not just the specified region (but other open file handles to the same file are unaffected).

POSIX_FADV_WILLNEED initiates a nonblocking read of the specified region into the page cache. The amount of data read may be decreased by the kernel depending on virtual memory load. (A few megabytes will usually be fully satisfied, and more is rarely useful.)

In kernels before 2.6.18, POSIX_FADV_NOREUSE had the same semantics as POSIX_FADV_WILLNEED. This was probably a bug; since kernel 2.6.18, this flag is a no-op.

POSIX_FADV_DONTNEED attempts to free cached pages associated with the specified region. This is useful, for example, while streaming large files. A program may periodically request the kernel to free cached data that has already been used, so that more useful cached pages are not discarded instead.

Pages that have not yet been written out will be unaffected, so if the application wishes to guarantee that pages will be released, it should call fsync(2) or fdatasync(2) first.

Architecture-specific variants
Some architectures require 64-bit arguments to be aligned in a suitable pair of registers (see syscall(2) for further detail). On such architectures, the call signature of posix_fadvise() shown in the SYNOPSIS would force a register to be wasted as padding between the fd and offset arguments. Therefore, these architectures define a version of the system call that orders the arguments suitably, but otherwise is otherwise exactly the same as posix_fadvise().

For example, since Linux 2.6.14, ARM has the following system call:

long arm_fadvise64_64(int fd, int advice,
offset, loff_t len);

These architecture-specific details are generally hidden from applications by the glibc posix_fadvise() wrapper function, which invokes the appropriate architecture-specific system call.


In kernels before 2.6.6, if len was specified as 0, then this was interpreted literally as "zero bytes", rather than as meaning "all bytes through to the end of the file".


readahead(2), sync_file_range(2), posix_fallocate(3), posix_madvise(3)


This page is part of release 3.69 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man−pages/.


Personal Opportunity - Free software gives you access to billions of dollars of software at no cost. Use this software for your business, personal use or to develop a profitable skill. Access to source code provides access to a level of capabilities/information that companies protect though copyrights. Open source is a core component of the Internet and it is available to you. Leverage the billions of dollars in resources and capabilities to build a career, establish a business or change the world. The potential is endless for those who understand the opportunity.

Business Opportunity - Goldman Sachs, IBM and countless large corporations are leveraging open source to reduce costs, develop products and increase their bottom lines. Learn what these companies know about open source and how open source can give you the advantage.

Free Software

Free Software provides computer programs and capabilities at no cost but more importantly, it provides the freedom to run, edit, contribute to, and share the software. The importance of free software is a matter of access, not price. Software at no cost is a benefit but ownership rights to the software and source code is far more significant.

Free Office Software - The Libre Office suite provides top desktop productivity tools for free. This includes, a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation engine, drawing and flowcharting, database and math applications. Libre Office is available for Linux or Windows.

Free Books

The Free Books Library is a collection of thousands of the most popular public domain books in an online readable format. The collection includes great classical literature and more recent works where the U.S. copyright has expired. These books are yours to read and use without restrictions.

Source Code - Want to change a program or know how it works? Open Source provides the source code for its programs so that anyone can use, modify or learn how to write those programs themselves. Visit the GNU source code repositories to download the source.


Study at Harvard, Stanford or MIT - Open edX provides free online courses from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, UC Berkeley and other top Universities. Hundreds of courses for almost all major subjects and course levels. Open edx also offers some paid courses and selected certifications.

Linux Manual Pages - A man or manual page is a form of software documentation found on Linux/Unix operating systems. Topics covered include computer programs (including library and system calls), formal standards and conventions, and even abstract concepts.