• C

Max number of file descriptors

In c, how do I get the maximum number of file descriptors allowed by the operating system?
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jameswaltAuthor Commented:
I'm talking about c, not the shell

is there a command or external variable that provides this value ?

FILE* f = fopen("/proc/sys/fs/file-max", "r");
int* max_fd;
fread( (void*) max_fd, sizeof( int ), 1, f );
close( f );

printf("The max number of file descriptors is %d\n", *max_fd);

Will this do it for you?

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Standard C does not deal with file descriptors, so any answer will be platform-dependent.  If baboo_'s solution does not work for you, I suggest you specify the operating system(s) of interest to you.
Do you mean file descriptors (the int returned when you open) or the file handles (the FILE* returned when you fopen)?  Note that the number of descriptors can be far greater than the number of handles.
In an MSDOS environment, use _nfile.

If you want to change it, let me know, I have some code that will do it. You cant just change it yourself as there are some global allocations that use this figure as a limit.

something like this:

 char FName[20];  int Num = 0;

while( open( sprintf( FName, "%d", Num ), O_CREAT ) )  Num++;

printf("The OS and C I/O library let  you open %d file descriptors\n", Num ):
jameswaltAuthor Commented:
Im working with sun solaris
Use the getrlimit function with a parameter of RLIMIT_NOFILE.



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i believe u can find that out on solaris with the following

#include <limits.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main()
        int max = sysconf(_SC_OPEN_MAX);
        if(max < 0)
                printf("sysconf error\n");
                printf("Maximum no of allowed descriptors = %d\n", max);
        return 0;
I believe van_dy's answer is also correct.  I suggest splitting the points.
My expertise on this is not deep, but I guessed from the sysconf man page that both were process limits, since it says "A call to setrlimit() can cause the value of OPEN_MAX to change."  This wouldn't make sense if OPEN_MAX were a system-level limit.


But, jmcg, you may well know more about this than I.
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