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acct(2) System Calls Manual acct(2)


acct - switch process accounting on or off


Standard C library (libc, -lc)


#include <unistd.h>
int acct(const char *_Nullable filename);

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


Since glibc 2.21:
In glibc 2.19 and 2.20:
Up to and including glibc 2.19:


The acct() system call enables or disables process accounting. If called with the name of an existing file as its argument, accounting is turned on, and records for each terminating process are appended to filename as it terminates. An argument of NULL causes accounting to be turned off.


On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set to indicate the error.


Write permission is denied for the specified file, or search permission is denied for one of the directories in the path prefix of filename (see also path_resolution(7)), or filename is not a regular file.
filename points outside your accessible address space.
Error writing to the file filename.
filename is a directory.
Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving filename.
filename was too long.
The system-wide limit on the total number of open files has been reached.
The specified file does not exist.
Out of memory.
BSD process accounting has not been enabled when the operating system kernel was compiled. The kernel configuration parameter controlling this feature is CONFIG_BSD_PROCESS_ACCT.
A component used as a directory in filename is not in fact a directory.
The calling process has insufficient privilege to enable process accounting. On Linux, the CAP_SYS_PACCT capability is required.
filename refers to a file on a read-only filesystem.
There are no more free file structures or we ran out of memory.


SVr4, 4.3BSD (but not POSIX).


No accounting is produced for programs running when a system crash occurs. In particular, nonterminating processes are never accounted for.

The structure of the records written to the accounting file is described in acct(5).



2022-12-03 Linux man-pages 6.03