intro

       Section  2  of  the  manual describes the Linux system calls.  A system
       call is an entry point into the Linux kernel.   Usually,  system  calls
       are not invoked directly: instead, most system calls have corresponding
       C library wrapper functions which perform  the  steps  required  (e.g.,
       trapping  to  kernel  mode)  in order to invoke the system call.  Thus,
       making a system call looks the same as invoking a normal library  func-
       tion.

       In many cases, the C library wrapper function does nothing more than:

       *  copying arguments and the unique system call number to the registers
          where the kernel expects them;

       *  trapping to kernel mode, at which point the  kernel  does  the  real
          work of the system call;

       *  setting  errno  if  the system call returns an error number when the
          kernel returns the CPU to user mode.

       However, in a few cases, a wrapper function may  do  rather  more  than
       this,  for  example,  performing  some  preprocessing  of the arguments
       before trapping to kernel mode, or postprocessing of values returned by
       the system call.  Where this is the case, the manual pages in Section 2
       generally try to note the details of both the (usually GNU)  C  library
       API  interface  and  the  raw  system  call.   Most  commonly, the main
       DESCRIPTION will focus on the C library interface, and differences  for
       the system call are covered in the NOTES section.

       For a list of the Linux system calls, see syscalls(2).

RETURN VALUE
       On  error,  most system calls return a negative error number (i.e., the
       negated value of one of the constants described in  errno(3)).   The  C
       library  wrapper  hides this detail from the caller: when a system call
       returns a negative value, the wrapper copies the  absolute  value  into
       the errno variable, and returns -1 as the return value of the wrapper.

       The  value  returned  by  a successful system call depends on the call.
       Many system calls return 0 on success, but some can return nonzero val-
       ues  from a successful call.  The details are described in the individ-
       ual manual pages.

       In some cases, the programmer must define a feature test macro in order
       to  obtain the declaration of a system call from the header file speci-
       fied in the man page SYNOPSIS section.  (Where required, these  feature
       test  macros  must  be  defined before including any header files.)  In
       such cases, the required macro is described in the man page.  For  fur-
       ther information on feature test macros, see feature_test_macros(7).

CONFORMING TO
       Certain  terms and abbreviations are used to indicate UNIX variants and
       standards to which calls in this section conform.  See standards(7).

NOTES
SEE ALSO
       _syscall(2), syscall(2), syscalls(2), errno(3), intro(3),
       capabilities(7), credentials(7), feature_test_macros(7),
       mq_overview(7), path_resolution(7), pipe(7), pty(7), sem_overview(7),
       shm_overview(7), signal(7), socket(7), standards(7), svipc(7),
       symlink(7), time(7)

COLOPHON
       This page is part of release 4.04 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
       http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

Linux                             2014-02-20                          INTRO(2)
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