Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
DLOPEN(3)		 BSD Library Functions Manual		     DLOPEN(3)

     dlopen, fdlopen, dlsym, dlfunc, dlerror, dlclose -- programmatic inter-
     face to the dynamic linker

     Standard C	Library	(libc, -lc)

     #include <dlfcn.h>

     void *
     dlopen(const char *path, int mode);

     void *
     fdlopen(int fd, int mode);

     void *
     dlsym(void	* restrict handle, const char *	restrict symbol);

     dlfunc(void * restrict handle, const char * restrict symbol);

     char *

     dlclose(void *handle);

     These functions provide a simple programmatic interface to	the services
     of	the dynamic linker.  Operations	are provided to	add new	shared objects
     to	a program's address space, to obtain the address bindings of symbols
     defined by	such objects, and to remove such objects when their use	is no
     longer required.

     The dlopen() function provides access to the shared object	in path, re-
     turning a descriptor that can be used for later references	to the object
     in	calls to dlsym() and dlclose().	 If path was not in the	address	space
     prior to the call to dlopen(), it is placed in the	address	space.	When
     an	object is first	loaded into the	address	space in this way, its func-
     tion _init(), if any, is called by	the dynamic linker.  If	path has al-
     ready been	placed in the address space in a previous call to dlopen(), it
     is	not added a second time, although a reference count of dlopen()	opera-
     tions on path is maintained.  A null pointer supplied for path is inter-
     preted as a reference to the main executable of the process.  The mode
     argument controls the way in which	external function references from the
     loaded object are bound to	their referents.  It must contain one of the
     following values, possibly	ORed with additional flags which will be de-
     scribed subsequently:

     RTLD_LAZY	 Each external function	reference is resolved when the func-
		 tion is first called.

     RTLD_NOW	 All external function references are bound immediately	by

     RTLD_LAZY is normally preferred, for reasons of efficiency.  However,
     RTLD_NOW is useful	to ensure that any undefined symbols are discovered
     during the	call to	dlopen().

     One of the	following flags	may be ORed into the mode argument:

     RTLD_GLOBAL    Symbols from this shared object and	its directed acyclic
		    graph (DAG)	of needed objects will be available for	re-
		    solving undefined references from all other	shared ob-

     RTLD_LOCAL	    Symbols in this shared object and its DAG of needed	ob-
		    jects will be available for	resolving undefined references
		    only from other objects in the same	DAG.  This is the de-
		    fault, but it may be specified explicitly with this	flag.

     RTLD_TRACE	    When set, causes dynamic linker to exit after loading all
		    objects needed by this shared object and printing a	sum-
		    mary which includes	the absolute pathnames of all objects,
		    to standard	output.	 With this flag	dlopen() will return
		    to the caller only in the case of error.

     RTLD_NODELETE  Prevents unload of the loaded object on dlclose().	The
		    same behaviour may be requested by -z nodelete option of
		    the	static linker ld(1).

     RTLD_NOLOAD    Only return	valid handle for the object if it is already
		    loaded in the process address space, otherwise NULL	is re-
		    turned.  Other mode	flags may be specified,	which will be
		    applied for	promotion for the found	object.

     If	dlopen() fails,	it returns a null pointer, and sets an error condition
     which may be interrogated with dlerror().

     The fdlopen() function is similar to dlopen(), but	it takes the file de-
     scriptor argument fd, which is used for the file operations needed	to
     load an object into the address space.  The file descriptor fd is not
     closed by the function regardless a result	of execution, but a duplicate
     of	the file descriptor is.	 This may be important if a lockf(3) lock is
     held on the passed	descriptor.  The fd argument -1	is interpreted as a
     reference to the main executable of the process, similar to NULL value
     for the name argument to dlopen().	 The fdlopen() function	can be used by
     the code that needs to perform additional checks on the loaded objects,
     to	prevent	races with symlinking or renames.

     The dlsym() function returns the address binding of the symbol described
     in	the null-terminated character string symbol, as	it occurs in the
     shared object identified by handle.  The symbols exported by objects
     added to the address space	by dlopen() can	be accessed only through calls
     to	dlsym().  Such symbols do not supersede	any definition of those	sym-
     bols already present in the address space when the	object is loaded, nor
     are they available	to satisfy normal dynamic linking references.

     If	dlsym()	is called with the special handle NULL,	it is interpreted as a
     reference to the executable or shared object from which the call is being
     made.  Thus a shared object can reference its own symbols.

     If	dlsym()	is called with the special handle RTLD_DEFAULT,	the search for
     the symbol	follows	the algorithm used for resolving undefined symbols
     when objects are loaded.  The objects searched are	as follows, in the
     given order:

     1.	  The referencing object itself	(or the	object from which the call to
	  dlsym() is made), if that object was linked using the	-Bsymbolic op-
	  tion to ld(1).

     2.	  All objects loaded at	program	start-up.

     3.	  All objects loaded via dlopen() with the RTLD_GLOBAL flag set	in the
	  mode argument.

     4.	  All objects loaded via dlopen() which	are in needed-object DAGs that
	  also contain the referencing object.

     If	dlsym()	is called with the special handle RTLD_NEXT, then the search
     for the symbol is limited to the shared objects which were	loaded after
     the one issuing the call to dlsym().  Thus, if the	function is called
     from the main program, all	the shared libraries are searched.  If it is
     called from a shared library, all subsequent shared libraries are
     searched.	RTLD_NEXT is useful for	implementing wrappers around library
     functions.	 For example, a	wrapper	function getpid() could	access the
     "real" getpid() with dlsym(RTLD_NEXT, "getpid").  (Actually, the dlfunc()
     interface,	below, should be used, since getpid() is a function and	not a
     data object.)

     If	dlsym()	is called with the special handle RTLD_SELF, then the search
     for the symbol is limited to the shared object issuing the	call to
     dlsym() and those shared objects which were loaded	after it.

     The dlsym() function returns a null pointer if the	symbol cannot be
     found, and	sets an	error condition	which may be queried with dlerror().

     The dlfunc() function implements all of the behavior of dlsym(), but has
     a return type which can be	cast to	a function pointer without triggering
     compiler diagnostics.  (The dlsym() function returns a data pointer; in
     the C standard, conversions between data and function pointer types are
     undefined.	 Some compilers	and lint(1) utilities warn about such casts.)
     The precise return	type of	dlfunc() is unspecified; applications must
     cast it to	an appropriate function	pointer	type.

     The dlerror() function returns a null-terminated character	string de-
     scribing the last error that occurred during a call to dlopen(),
     dladdr(), dlinfo(), dlsym(), dlfunc(), or dlclose().  If no such error
     has occurred, dlerror() returns a null pointer.  At each call to
     dlerror(),	the error indication is	reset.	Thus in	the case of two	calls
     to	dlerror(), where the second call follows the first immediately,	the
     second call will always return a null pointer.

     The dlclose() function deletes a reference	to the shared object refer-
     enced by handle.  If the reference	count drops to 0, the object is	re-
     moved from	the address space, and handle is rendered invalid.  Just be-
     fore removing a shared object in this way,	the dynamic linker calls the
     object's _fini() function,	if such	a function is defined by the object.
     If	dlclose() is successful, it returns a value of 0.  Otherwise it	re-
     turns -1, and sets	an error condition that	can be interrogated with

     The object-intrinsic functions _init() and	_fini()	are called with	no ar-
     guments, and are not expected to return values.

     ELF executables need to be	linked using the -export-dynamic option	to
     ld(1) for symbols defined in the executable to become visible to dlsym().

     In	previous implementations, it was necessary to prepend an underscore to
     all external symbols in order to gain symbol compatibility	with object
     code compiled from	the C language.	 This is still the case	when using the
     (obsolete)	-aout option to	the C language compiler.

     The dlopen(), fdlopen(), dlsym(), and dlfunc() functions return a null
     pointer in	the event of errors.  The dlclose() function returns 0 on suc-
     cess, or -1 if an error occurred.	Whenever an error has been detected, a
     message detailing it can be retrieved via a call to dlerror().

     ld(1), rtld(1), dladdr(3),	dlinfo(3), link(5)

BSD			       February	14, 2015			   BSD


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help