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INTRO(2)		   Linux Programmer's Manual		      INTRO(2)

NAME
       intro - introduction to system calls

DESCRIPTION
       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.

       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
   Calling directly
       In most cases, it is unnecessary to invoke a system call directly,  but
       there  are  times when the Standard C library does not implement a nice
       wrapper function for you.  In this case, the programmer	must  manually
       invoke  the  system call using syscall(2).  Historically, this was also
       possible using one of the _syscall macros described in _syscall(2).

   Authors and copyright conditions
       Look at the header of the manual page  source  for  the	author(s)  and
       copyright  conditions.	Note  that these can be different from page to
       page!

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 3.54 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
       be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

Linux				  2010-11-11			      INTRO(2)
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