acct (2) manual page

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acct - switch process accounting on or off


#include <unistd.h>

int acct(const char *filename);


When called with the name of an existing file as argument, accounting is turned on, records for each terminating process are appended to filename as it terminates. An argument of NULL causes accounting to be turned off.

Return Value

On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.


EACCES Write permission is denied for the specified file, or search permission is denied for one of the directories in the path prefix of filename (see also path_resolution(2) ), or filename is not a regular file.

EFAULT filename points outside your accessible address space.

Error writing to the file filename.

EISDIR filename is a directory.

ELOOP Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving filename.

filename was too long.

ENFILE The system limit on the total number of open files has been reached.

ENOENT The specified filename does not exist.

ENOMEM Out of memory.

ENOSYS BSD process accounting has not been enabled when the operating system kernel was compiled. The kernel configuration parameter controlling this feature is CONFIG_BSD_PROCESS_ACCT.

A component used as a directory in filename is not in fact a directory.

EPERM The calling process has insufficient privilege to enable process accounting. On Linux the CAP_SYS_PACCT capability is required.

EROFS filename refers to a file on a read-only file system.

EUSERS There are no more free file structures or we ran out of memory.

Conforming to

SVr4, 4.3BSD (but not POSIX).


No accounting is produced for programs running when a crash occurs. In particular, nonterminating processes are never accounted for.

See Also

acct(5) .

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