fanotify_mark man page

fanotify_mark — add, remove, or modify an fanotify mark on a filesystem object


#include <sys/fanotify.h>

int fanotify_mark(int fanotify_fd, unsigned int flags,
                  uint64_t mask, int dirfd, const char *pathname);


For an overview of the fanotify API, see fanotify(7).

fanotify_mark() adds, removes, or modifies an fanotify mark on a filesystem object. The caller must have read permission on the filesystem object that is to be marked.

The fanotify_fd argument is a file descriptor returned by fanotify_init(2).

flags is a bit mask describing the modification to perform. It must include exactly one of the following values:


The events in mask will be added to the mark mask (or to the ignore mask). mask must be nonempty or the error EINVAL will occur.


The events in argument mask will be removed from the mark mask (or from the ignore mask). mask must be nonempty or the error EINVAL will occur.


Remove either all mount or all non-mount marks from the fanotify group. If flags contains FAN_MARK_MOUNT, all marks for mounts are removed from the group. Otherwise, all marks for directories and files are removed. No flag other than FAN_MARK_MOUNT can be used in conjunction with FAN_MARK_FLUSH. mask is ignored.

If none of the values above is specified, or more than one is specified, the call fails with the error EINVAL.

In addition, zero or more of the following values may be ORed into flags:


If pathname is a symbolic link, mark the link itself, rather than the file to which it refers. (By default, fanotify_mark() dereferences pathname if it is a symbolic link.)


If the filesystem object to be marked is not a directory, the error ENOTDIR shall be raised.


Mark the mount point specified by pathname. If pathname is not itself a mount point, the mount point containing pathname will be marked. All directories, subdirectories, and the contained files of the mount point will be monitored.


The events in mask shall be added to or removed from the ignore mask.


The ignore mask shall survive modify events. If this flag is not set, the ignore mask is cleared when a modify event occurs for the ignored file or directory.

mask defines which events shall be listened for (or which shall be ignored). It is a bit mask composed of the following values:


Create an event when a file or directory (but see Bugs) is accessed (read).


Create an event when a file is modified (write).


Create an event when a writable file is closed.


Create an event when a read-only file or directory is closed.


Create an event when a file or directory is opened.


Create an event when an overflow of the event queue occurs. The size of the event queue is limited to 16384 entries if FAN_UNLIMITED_QUEUE is not set in fanotify_init(2).


Create an event when a permission to open a file or directory is requested. An fanotify file descriptor created with FAN_CLASS_PRE_CONTENT or FAN_CLASS_CONTENT is required.


Create an event when a permission to read a file or directory is requested. An fanotify file descriptor created with FAN_CLASS_PRE_CONTENT or FAN_CLASS_CONTENT is required.


Create events for directories—for example, when opendir(3), readdir(3) (but see Bugs), and closedir(3) are called. Without this flag, only events for files are created.


Events for the immediate children of marked directories shall be created. The flag has no effect when marking mounts. Note that events are not generated for children of the subdirectories of marked directories. To monitor complete directory trees it is necessary to mark the relevant mount.

The following composed value is defined:



The filesystem object to be marked is determined by the file descriptor dirfd and the pathname specified in pathname:

Return Value

On success, fanotify_mark() returns 0. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set to indicate the error.



An invalid file descriptor was passed in fanotify_fd.


An invalid value was passed in flags or mask, or fanotify_fd was not an fanotify file descriptor.


The fanotify file descriptor was opened with FAN_CLASS_NOTIF and mask contains a flag for permission events (FAN_OPEN_PERM or FAN_ACCESS_PERM).


The filesystem object indicated by dirfd and pathname does not exist. This error also occurs when trying to remove a mark from an object which is not marked.


The necessary memory could not be allocated.


The number of marks exceeds the limit of 8192 and the FAN_UNLIMITED_MARKS flag was not specified when the fanotify file descriptor was created with fanotify_init(2).


This kernel does not implement fanotify_mark(). The fanotify API is available only if the kernel was configured with CONFIG_FANOTIFY.


flags contains FAN_MARK_ONLYDIR, and dirfd and pathname do not specify a directory.


fanotify_mark() was introduced in version 2.6.36 of the Linux kernel and enabled in version 2.6.37.

Conforming to

This system call is Linux-specific.


The following bugs were present in Linux kernels before version 3.16:

See Also

fanotify_init(2), fanotify(7)


This page is part of release 4.16 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

Referenced By

fanotify(7), fanotify_init(2), open(2), proc(5), syscalls(2).

2016-10-08 Linux Programmer's Manual