fexecve - execute program specified via file descriptor
int fexecve(int fd, char *const argv, char *const envp);
Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)
- Since glibc 2.10:
- _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
- Before glibc 2.10:
() performs the same task as execve(2)
, with the difference
that the file to be executed is specified via a file descriptor, fd
rather than via a pathname. The file descriptor fd
must be opened
read-only, and the caller must have permission to execute the file that it
A successful call to fexecve
() never returns. On error, the function does
return, with a result value of -1, and errno
is set appropriately.
Errors are as for execve(2)
, with the following additions:
- fd is not a valid file descriptor, or argv is
NULL, or envp is NULL.
- The /proc filesystem could not be accessed.
() is implemented since glibc 2.3.2.
For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see attributes(7)
POSIX.1-2008. This function is not specified in POSIX.1-2001, and is not widely
available on other systems. It is specified in POSIX.1-2008.
On Linux, fexecve
() is implemented using the proc(5)
needs to be mounted and available at the time of the call.
The idea behind fexecve
() is to allow the caller to verify (checksum) the
contents of an executable before executing it. Simply opening the file,
checksumming the contents, and then doing an execve(2)
suffice, since, between the two steps, the filename, or a directory prefix of
the pathname, could have been exchanged (by, for example, modifying the target
of a symbolic link). fexecve
() does not mitigate the problem that the
of a file could be changed between the checksumming and the
call to fexecve
(); for that, the solution is to ensure that the
permissions on the file prevent it from being modified by malicious users.
The natural idiom when using fexecve
() is to set the close-on-exec flag
, so that the file descriptor does not leak through to the program
that is executed. This approach is natural for two reasons. First, it prevents
file descriptors being consumed unnecessarily. (The executed program normally
has no need of a file descriptor that refers to the program itself.) Second,
() is used recursively, employing the close-on-exec flag
prevents the file descriptor exhaustion that would result from the fact that
each step in the recursion would cause one more file descriptor to be passed
to the new program. (But see BUGS.)
refers to a script (i.e., it is an executable text file that names
a script interpreter with a first line that begins with the characters
) and the close-on-exec flag has been set for fd
() fails with the error ENOENT
. This error occurs
because, by the time the script interpreter is executed, fd
been closed because of the close-on-exec flag. Thus, the close-on-exec flag
can't be set on fd
if it refers to a script, leading to the problems
described in NOTES.
This page is part of release 4.10 of the Linux man-pages
description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest
version of this page, can be found at