This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux
implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux
manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be
implemented on Linux.
ctermid — generate a pathname for the controlling terminal
char *ctermid(char *s);
The ctermid() function shall generate a string that, when used as a
pathname, refers to the current controlling terminal for the current process.
If ctermid() returns a pathname, access to the file is not guaranteed.
The ctermid() function need not be thread-safe if called
with a NULL parameter.
If s is a null pointer, the string shall be generated in an area that may
be static, the address of which shall be returned. The application shall not
modify the string returned. The returned pointer might be invalidated or the
string content might be overwritten by a subsequent call to ctermid().
The returned pointer might also be invalidated if the calling thread is
terminated. If s is not a null pointer, s is assumed to point to
a character array of at least L_ctermid bytes; the string is placed in this
array and the value of s shall be returned. The symbolic constant
L_ctermid is defined in <stdio.h>, and shall have a value greater
The ctermid() function shall return an empty string if the
pathname that would refer to the controlling terminal cannot be determined,
or if the function is unsuccessful.
No errors are defined.
The following sections are informative.
The following example returns a pointer to a string that identifies the
controlling terminal for the current process. The pathname for the terminal is
stored in the array pointed to by the ptr argument, which has a size of
L_ctermid bytes, as indicated by the term argument.
The difference between ctermid() and ttyname() is that
ttyname() must be handed a file descriptor and return a path of the
terminal associated with that file descriptor, while ctermid() returns
a string (such as "/dev/tty") that refers to the current
controlling terminal if used as a pathname.
L_ctermid must be defined appropriately for a given implementation and must be
greater than zero so that array declarations using it are accepted by the
compiler. The value includes the terminating null byte.
ptr = ctermid(term);
Conforming applications that use multiple threads cannot call
ctermid() with NULL as the parameter. If s is not NULL, the
ctermid() function generates a string that, when used as a pathname,
refers to the current controlling terminal for the current process. If
s is NULL, the return value of ctermid() is undefined.
There is no additional burden on the programmer—changing to
use a hypothetical thread-safe version of ctermid() along with
allocating a buffer is more of a burden than merely allocating a buffer.
Application code should not assume that the returned string is short, as
some implementations have more than two pathname components before reaching
a logical device name.
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017,
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE
Std 1003.1-2017, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating
System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7, 2018
Edition, Copyright (C) 2018 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between
this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original
IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original
Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .
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