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       lockfile -sleeptime | -r retries |
            -l locktimeout | -s suspend | -!  | -ml | -mu | file­
       name ...


       lockfile can be used  to  create  one  or  more  semaphore
       files.   If  lockfile can't create all the specified files
       (in the specified order), it waits sleeptime (defaults  to
       8)  seconds and retries the last file that didn't succeed.
       You can specify the number of retries to do until  failure
       is  returned.   If  the  number of retries is -1 (default,
       i.e.  -r-1) lockfile will retry forever.

       If the number of retries expires  before  all  files  have
       been created, lockfile returns failure and removes all the
       files it created up till that point.

       Using lockfile as the condition  of  a  loop  in  a  shell
       script  can be done easily by using the -!  flag to invert
       the exit status.  To prevent infinite loops, failures  for
       any  reason  other  than the lockfile already existing are
       not inverted to success but rather are still  returned  as

       All  flags  can be specified anywhere on the command line,
       they will be processed when encountered.  The command line
       is simply parsed from left to right.

       All  files  created  by  lockfile  will  be read-only, and
       therefore will have to be removed with rm -f.

       If you specify a  locktimeout  then  a  lockfile  will  be
       removed  by  force  after  locktimeout seconds have passed
       since the lockfile was last modified/created (most  likely
       by  some  other program that unexpectedly died a long time
       ago, and hence could not clean up any leftover lockfiles).
       Lockfile  is clock skew immune.  After a lockfile has been
       removed  by  force,  a  suspension  of   suspend   seconds
       (defaults  to  16) is taken into account, in order to pre­
       vent the inadvertent immediate removal of any  newly  cre­
       ated lockfile by another program (compare SUSPEND in proc­

   Mailbox locks
       If the permissions on  the  system  mail  spool  directory
       allow  it,  or  if lockfile is suitably setgid, it will be
       able to lock and unlock your system mailbox by  using  the
       options -ml and -mu respectively.

              lockfile important.lock
              rm -f important.lock
       Now if all the scripts that access "important" follow this
       guideline, you will be assured that  at  most  one  script
       will be executing between the `lockfile' and the `rm' com­


       LOGNAME                used as a  hint  to  determine  the
                              invoker's loginname


       /etc/passwd            to   verify   and/or   correct  the
                              invoker's loginname  (and  to  find
                              out his HOME directory, if needed)

                              lockfile  for  the  system mailbox,
                              the environment  variables  present
                              in  here will not be taken from the
                              environment, but will be determined
                              by looking in /etc/passwd


       rm(1), mail(1), binmail(1), sendmail(8), procmail(1)


       Filename too long, ... Use shorter filenames.

       Forced unlock denied on "x"
                              No write permission in the directo­
                              ry where lockfile "x"  resides,  or
                              more  than  one  lockfile trying to
                              force a lock at  exactly  the  same

       Forcing lock on "x"    Lockfile "x" is going to be removed
                              by force because of a timeout (com­
                              pare LOCKTIMEOUT in procmail(1)).

       Out of memory, ...     The system is out of swap space.

       Signal received, ...   Lockfile  will  remove  anything it
                              created till now and terminate.

       Sorry, ...             The retries limit has been reached.


       Definitely less than one.


       The  behavior of the -!  flag, while useful, is not neces­
       sarily intuitive or consistent.  When  testing  lockfile's
       return  value,  shell script writers should consider care­
       fully whether they want to use the -!   flag,  simply  re­
       verse  the test, or do a switch on the exact exitcode.  In
       general, the -!  flag should only be used when lockfile is
       the conditional of a loop.


       Lockfile is NFS-resistant and eight-bit clean.


       Calling  up  lockfile with the -h or -? options will cause
       it to display a command-line help  page.   Calling  it  up
       with  the  -v  option will cause it to display its version

       Multiple -!  flags will toggle the return status.

       Since flags can occur anywhere on the  command  line,  any
       filename starting with a '-' has to be preceded by './'.

       The number of retries will not be reset when any following
       file is being created (i.e. they are simply used up).   It
       can,  however,  be  reset by specifying -rnewretries after
       every file on the command line.

       Although files with any name can be used as lockfiles,  it
       is  common  practice  to use the extension `.lock' to lock
       mailfolders (it is appended to the mailfolder  name).   In
       case  one  does  not  want to have to worry about too long
       filenames and does not have to conform to any other  lock­
       filename  convention,  then an excellent way to generate a
       lockfilename corresponding to some already  existing  file
       is  by  taking the prefix `lock.' and appending the i-node
       number of the file which is to be locked.


       This program is part of the procmail mail-processing-pack­
       age  (v3.15.1)  available  at  http://www.procmail.org/ or
       ftp.procmail.org in pub/procmail/.


       There exists a mailinglist for questions relating  to  any
       program in the procmail package:
                     for submitting questions/answers.

BuGless                     1999/08/13                LOCKFILE(1)



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