Based on kernel version 3.9. Page generated on 2013-05-02 23:06 EST.
1 Linux Directory Notification 2 ============================ 3 4 Stephen Rothwell <firstname.lastname@example.org> 5 6 The intention of directory notification is to allow user applications 7 to be notified when a directory, or any of the files in it, are changed. 8 The basic mechanism involves the application registering for notification 9 on a directory using a fcntl(2) call and the notifications themselves 10 being delivered using signals. 11 12 The application decides which "events" it wants to be notified about. 13 The currently defined events are: 14 15 DN_ACCESS A file in the directory was accessed (read) 16 DN_MODIFY A file in the directory was modified (write,truncate) 17 DN_CREATE A file was created in the directory 18 DN_DELETE A file was unlinked from directory 19 DN_RENAME A file in the directory was renamed 20 DN_ATTRIB A file in the directory had its attributes 21 changed (chmod,chown) 22 23 Usually, the application must reregister after each notification, but 24 if DN_MULTISHOT is or'ed with the event mask, then the registration will 25 remain until explicitly removed (by registering for no events). 26 27 By default, SIGIO will be delivered to the process and no other useful 28 information. However, if the F_SETSIG fcntl(2) call is used to let the 29 kernel know which signal to deliver, a siginfo structure will be passed to 30 the signal handler and the si_fd member of that structure will contain the 31 file descriptor associated with the directory in which the event occurred. 32 33 Preferably the application will choose one of the real time signals 34 (SIGRTMIN + <n>) so that the notifications may be queued. This is 35 especially important if DN_MULTISHOT is specified. Note that SIGRTMIN 36 is often blocked, so it is better to use (at least) SIGRTMIN + 1. 37 38 Implementation expectations (features and bugs :-)) 39 --------------------------- 40 41 The notification should work for any local access to files even if the 42 actual file system is on a remote server. This implies that remote 43 access to files served by local user mode servers should be notified. 44 Also, remote accesses to files served by a local kernel NFS server should 45 be notified. 46 47 In order to make the impact on the file system code as small as possible, 48 the problem of hard links to files has been ignored. So if a file (x) 49 exists in two directories (a and b) then a change to the file using the 50 name "a/x" should be notified to a program expecting notifications on 51 directory "a", but will not be notified to one expecting notifications on 52 directory "b". 53 54 Also, files that are unlinked, will still cause notifications in the 55 last directory that they were linked to. 56 57 Configuration 58 ------------- 59 60 Dnotify is controlled via the CONFIG_DNOTIFY configuration option. When 61 disabled, fcntl(fd, F_NOTIFY, ...) will return -EINVAL. 62 63 Example 64 ------- 65 See Documentation/filesystems/dnotify_test.c for an example. 66 67 NOTE 68 ---- 69 Beginning with Linux 2.6.13, dnotify has been replaced by inotify. 70 See Documentation/filesystems/inotify.txt for more information on it.