sendfile manpage

Search topic Section

SENDFILE(2)		   Linux Programmer's Manual		   SENDFILE(2)

       sendfile - transfer data between file descriptors

       #include <sys/sendfile.h>

       ssize_t sendfile(int out_fd, int in_fd, off_t *offset, size_t count);

       sendfile()  copies  data	 between  one  file  descriptor	 and  another.
       Because this copying is done within  the	 kernel,  sendfile()  is  more
       efficient  than	the  combination  of read(2) and write(2), which would
       require transferring data to and from user space.

       in_fd should be a file descriptor opened for reading and out_fd	should
       be a descriptor opened for writing.

       If  offset  is  not NULL, then it points to a variable holding the file
       offset from which sendfile() will start reading data from in_fd.	  When
       sendfile() returns, this variable will be set to the offset of the byte
       following the last byte that was read.  If offset  is  not  NULL,  then
       sendfile() does not modify the file offset of in_fd; otherwise the file
       offset is adjusted to reflect the number of bytes read from in_fd.

       If offset is NULL, then data will be read from in_fd  starting  at  the
       file offset, and the file offset will be updated by the call.

       count is the number of bytes to copy between the file descriptors.

       The   in_fd   argument	must  correspond  to  a	 file  which  supports
       mmap(2)-like operations (i.e., it cannot be a socket).

       In Linux kernels before 2.6.33, out_fd must refer to a  socket.	 Since
       Linux  2.6.33  it can be any file.  If it is a regular file, then send-
       file() changes the file offset appropriately.

       If the transfer was successful, the number of bytes written  to	out_fd
       is returned.  Note that a successful call to sendfile() may write fewer
       bytes than requested; the caller should be prepared to retry  the  call
       if there were unsent bytes.  See also NOTES.

       On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.

       EAGAIN Nonblocking I/O has been selected using O_NONBLOCK and the write
	      would block.

       EBADF  The input file was not opened for reading or the output file was
	      not opened for writing.

       EFAULT Bad address.

       EINVAL Descriptor  is not valid or locked, or an mmap(2)-like operation
	      is not available for in_fd, or count is negative.

       EINVAL out_fd has the O_APPEND flag set.	 This is  not  currently  sup-
	      ported by sendfile().

       EIO    Unspecified error while reading from in_fd.

       ENOMEM Insufficient memory to read from in_fd.

	      count  is too large, the operation would result in exceeding the
	      maximum size of either the input file or the output file.

       ESPIPE offset is not NULL but the input file is not seek(2)-able.

       sendfile() first appeared in Linux 2.2.	The  include  file  <sys/send-
       file.h> is present since glibc 2.1.

       Not specified in POSIX.1-2001, nor in other standards.

       Other  UNIX  systems  implement sendfile() with different semantics and
       prototypes.  It should not be used in portable programs.

       sendfile() will transfer	 at  most  0x7ffff000  (2,147,479,552)	bytes,
       returning  the  number of bytes actually transferred.  (This is true on
       both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.)

       If you plan to use sendfile() for sending files to a  TCP  socket,  but
       need  to	 send some header data in front of the file contents, you will
       find it useful to employ the TCP_CORK option, described in  tcp(7),  to
       minimize the number of packets and to tune performance.

       In  Linux  2.4  and earlier, out_fd could also refer to a regular file;
       this possibility went away in the Linux 2.6.x kernel  series,  but  was
       restored in Linux 2.6.33.

       The  original  Linux  sendfile() system call was not designed to handle
       large file offsets.  Consequently, Linux 2.4 added sendfile64(), with a
       wider type for the offset argument.  The glibc sendfile() wrapper func-
       tion transparently deals with the kernel differences.

       Applications may wish to fall back  to  read(2)/write(2)	 in  the  case
       where sendfile() fails with EINVAL or ENOSYS.

       If  out_fd  refers  to a socket or pipe with zero-copy support, callers
       must ensure the transferred portions of the file referred to  by	 in_fd
       remain  unmodified until the reader on the other end of out_fd has con-
       sumed the transferred data.

       The Linux-specific splice(2) call supports  transferring	 data  between
       arbitrary file descriptors provided one (or both) of them is a pipe.

       copy_file_range(2), mmap(2), open(2), socket(2), splice(2)

       This  page  is  part of release 4.10 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

Linux				  2016-03-15			   SENDFILE(2)