program_invocation_name - Man Page

obtain name used to invoke calling program


#define _GNU_SOURCE         /* See feature_test_macros(7) */
#include <errno.h>

extern char *program_invocation_name;
extern char *program_invocation_short_name;


program_invocation_name contains the name that was used to invoke the calling program. This is the same as the value of argv[0] in main(), with the difference that the scope of program_invocation_name is global.

program_invocation_short_name contains the basename component of name that was used to invoke the calling program. That is, it is the same value as program_invocation_name, with all text up to and including the final slash (/), if any, removed.

These variables are automatically initialized by the glibc run-time startup code.

Conforming to

These variables are GNU extensions, and should not be used in programs intended to be portable.


The Linux-specific /proc/[number]/cmdline file provides access to similar information.

See Also



This page is part of release 5.13 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

error(3), systemd.journal-fields(7).

The man page program_invocation_short_name(3) is an alias of program_invocation_name(3).

2017-09-15 GNU Linux Programmer's Manual