PTHREAD_MUTEX_LOCK(3P) POSIX Programmer's Manual PTHREAD_MUTEX_LOCK(3P)PROLOG
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.
pthread_mutex_lock, pthread_mutex_trylock, pthread_mutex_unlock — lock
and unlock a mutex
int pthread_mutex_lock(pthread_mutex_t *mutex);
int pthread_mutex_trylock(pthread_mutex_t *mutex);
int pthread_mutex_unlock(pthread_mutex_t *mutex);
The mutex object referenced by mutex shall be locked by a call to
pthread_mutex_lock() that returns zero or [EOWNERDEAD]. If the mutex
is already locked by another thread, the calling thread shall block
until the mutex becomes available. This operation shall return with the
mutex object referenced by mutex in the locked state with the calling
thread as its owner. If a thread attempts to relock a mutex that it has
already locked, pthread_mutex_lock() shall behave as described in the
Relock column of the following table. If a thread attempts to unlock a
mutex that it has not locked or a mutex which is unlocked,
pthread_mutex_unlock() shall behave as described in the Unlock When Not
Owner column of the following table.
│Mutex Type │ Robustness │ Relock │ Unlock When Not Owner │
│NORMAL │ non-robust │ deadlock │ undefined behavior │
│NORMAL │ robust │ deadlock │ error returned │
│ERRORCHECK │ either │ error returned │ error returned │
│RECURSIVE │ either │ recursive │ error returned │
│ │ │ (see below) │ │
│DEFAULT │ non-robust │ undefined │ undefined behavior† │
│ │ │ behavior† │ │
│DEFAULT │ robust │ undefined │ error returned │
│ │ │ behavior† │ │
† If the mutex type is PTHREAD_MUTEX_DEFAULT, the behavior of
pthread_mutex_lock() may correspond to one of the three other
standard mutex types as described in the table above. If it does
not correspond to one of those three, the behavior is undefined
for the cases marked †.
Where the table indicates recursive behavior, the mutex shall maintain
the concept of a lock count. When a thread successfully acquires a
mutex for the first time, the lock count shall be set to one. Every
time a thread relocks this mutex, the lock count shall be incremented
by one. Each time the thread unlocks the mutex, the lock count shall be
decremented by one. When the lock count reaches zero, the mutex shall
become available for other threads to acquire.
The pthread_mutex_trylock() function shall be equivalent to
pthread_mutex_lock(), except that if the mutex object referenced by
mutex is currently locked (by any thread, including the current
thread), the call shall return immediately. If the mutex type is
PTHREAD_MUTEX_RECURSIVE and the mutex is currently owned by the calling
thread, the mutex lock count shall be incremented by one and the
pthread_mutex_trylock() function shall immediately return success.
The pthread_mutex_unlock() function shall release the mutex object ref‐
erenced by mutex. The manner in which a mutex is released is dependent
upon the mutex's type attribute. If there are threads blocked on the
mutex object referenced by mutex when pthread_mutex_unlock() is called,
resulting in the mutex becoming available, the scheduling policy shall
determine which thread shall acquire the mutex.
(In the case of PTHREAD_MUTEX_RECURSIVE mutexes, the mutex shall become
available when the count reaches zero and the calling thread no longer
has any locks on this mutex.)
If a signal is delivered to a thread waiting for a mutex, upon return
from the signal handler the thread shall resume waiting for the mutex
as if it was not interrupted.
If mutex is a robust mutex and the process containing the owning thread
terminated while holding the mutex lock, a call to pthread_mutex_lock()
shall return the error value [EOWNERDEAD]. If mutex is a robust mutex
and the owning thread terminated while holding the mutex lock, a call
to pthread_mutex_lock() may return the error value [EOWNERDEAD] even if
the process in which the owning thread resides has not terminated. In
these cases, the mutex is locked by the thread but the state it pro‐
tects is marked as inconsistent. The application should ensure that the
state is made consistent for reuse and when that is complete call
pthread_mutex_consistent(). If the application is unable to recover
the state, it should unlock the mutex without a prior call to
pthread_mutex_consistent(), after which the mutex is marked permanently
If mutex does not refer to an initialized mutex object, the behavior of
pthread_mutex_lock(), pthread_mutex_trylock(), and
pthread_mutex_unlock() is undefined.
If successful, the pthread_mutex_lock(), pthread_mutex_trylock(), and
pthread_mutex_unlock() functions shall return zero; otherwise, an error
number shall be returned to indicate the error.
The pthread_mutex_lock() and pthread_mutex_trylock() functions shall
EAGAIN The mutex could not be acquired because the maximum number of
recursive locks for mutex has been exceeded.
EINVAL The mutex was created with the protocol attribute having the
value PTHREAD_PRIO_PROTECT and the calling thread's priority is
higher than the mutex's current priority ceiling.
The state protected by the mutex is not recoverable.
The mutex is a robust mutex and the process containing the pre‐
vious owning thread terminated while holding the mutex lock. The
mutex lock shall be acquired by the calling thread and it is up
to the new owner to make the state consistent.
The pthread_mutex_lock() function shall fail if:
The mutex type is PTHREAD_MUTEX_ERRORCHECK and the current
thread already owns the mutex.
The pthread_mutex_trylock() function shall fail if:
EBUSY The mutex could not be acquired because it was already locked.
The pthread_mutex_unlock() function shall fail if:
EPERM The mutex type is PTHREAD_MUTEX_ERRORCHECK or
PTHREAD_MUTEX_RECURSIVE, or the mutex is a robust mutex, and the
current thread does not own the mutex.
The pthread_mutex_lock() and pthread_mutex_trylock() functions may fail
The mutex is a robust mutex and the previous owning thread ter‐
minated while holding the mutex lock. The mutex lock shall be
acquired by the calling thread and it is up to the new owner to
make the state consistent.
The pthread_mutex_lock() function may fail if:
A deadlock condition was detected.
These functions shall not return an error code of [EINTR].
The following sections are informative.
Applications that have assumed that non-zero return values are errors
will need updating for use with robust mutexes, since a valid return
for a thread acquiring a mutex which is protecting a currently incon‐
sistent state is [EOWNERDEAD]. Applications that do not check the
error returns, due to ruling out the possibility of such errors aris‐
ing, should not use robust mutexes. If an application is supposed to
work with normal and robust mutexes it should check all return values
for error conditions and if necessary take appropriate action.
Mutex objects are intended to serve as a low-level primitive from which
other thread synchronization functions can be built. As such, the
implementation of mutexes should be as efficient as possible, and this
has ramifications on the features available at the interface.
The mutex functions and the particular default settings of the mutex
attributes have been motivated by the desire to not preclude fast,
inlined implementations of mutex locking and unlocking.
Since most attributes only need to be checked when a thread is going to
be blocked, the use of attributes does not slow the (common) mutex-
Likewise, while being able to extract the thread ID of the owner of a
mutex might be desirable, it would require storing the current thread
ID when each mutex is locked, and this could incur unacceptable levels
of overhead. Similar arguments apply to a mutex_tryunlock operation.
For further rationale on the extended mutex types, see the Rationale
(Informative) volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Threads Extensions.
If an implementation detects that the value specified by the mutex
argument does not refer to an initialized mutex object, it is recom‐
mended that the function should fail and report an [EINVAL] error.
SEE ALSOpthread_mutex_consistent(), pthread_mutex_destroy(),
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 4.11, Memory Syn‐
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information Technology
-- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base
Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the Institute of Electri‐
cal and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. (This is
POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1 applied.) 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
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