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UNIX(4)                FreeBSD Kernel Interfaces Manual                UNIX(4)

     unix - UNIX-domain protocol family

     #include <sys/types.h>
     #include <sys/un.h>

     The UNIX-domain protocol family is a collection of protocols that
     provides local (on-machine) interprocess communication through the normal
     socket(2) mechanisms.  The UNIX-domain family supports the SOCK_STREAM,
     SOCK_SEQPACKET, and SOCK_DGRAM socket types and uses file system
     pathnames for addressing.

     UNIX-domain addresses are variable-length file system pathnames of at
     most 104 characters.  The include file <sys/un.h> defines this address:

           struct sockaddr_un {
                   u_char  sun_len;
                   u_char  sun_family;
                   char    sun_path[104];

     Binding a name to a UNIX-domain socket with bind(2) causes a socket file
     to be created in the file system.  This file is not removed when the
     socket is closed -- unlink(2) must be used to remove the file.

     The length of UNIX-domain address, required by bind(2) and connect(2),
     can be calculated by the macro SUN_LEN() defined in <sys/un.h>.  The
     sun_path field must be terminated by a NUL character to be used with
     SUN_LEN(), but the terminating NUL is not part of the address.

     The UNIX-domain protocol family does not support broadcast addressing or
     any form of ``wildcard'' matching on incoming messages.  All addresses
     are absolute- or relative-pathnames of other UNIX-domain sockets.  Normal
     file system access-control mechanisms are also applied when referencing
     pathnames; e.g., the destination of a connect(2) or sendto(2) must be

     The UNIX-domain sockets support the communication of UNIX file
     descriptors and process credentials through the use of the msg_control
     field in the msg argument to sendmsg(2) and recvmsg(2).  The items to be
     passed are described using a struct cmsghdr that is defined in the
     include file <sys/socket.h>.

     To send file descriptors, the type of the message is SCM_RIGHTS, and the
     data portion of the messages is an array of integers representing the
     file descriptors to be passed.  The number of descriptors being passed is
     defined by the length field of the message; the length field is the sum
     of the size of the header plus the size of the array of file descriptors.

     The received descriptor is a duplicate of the sender's descriptor, as if
     it were created via dup(fd) or fcntl(fd, F_DUPFD_CLOEXEC, 0) depending on
     whether MSG_CMSG_CLOEXEC is passed in the recvmsg(2) call.  Descriptors
     that are awaiting delivery, or that are purposely not received, are
     automatically closed by the system when the destination socket is closed.

     Credentials of the sending process can be transmitted explicitly using a
     control message of type SCM_CREDS with a data portion of type struct
     cmsgcred, defined in <sys/socket.h> as follows:

     struct cmsgcred {
       pid_t cmcred_pid;             /* PID of sending process */
       uid_t cmcred_uid;             /* real UID of sending process */
       uid_t cmcred_euid;            /* effective UID of sending process */
       gid_t cmcred_gid;             /* real GID of sending process */
       short cmcred_ngroups;         /* number of groups */
       gid_t cmcred_groups[CMGROUP_MAX];     /* groups */

     The sender should pass a zeroed buffer which will be filled in by the

     The group list is truncated to at most CMGROUP_MAX GIDs.

     The process ID cmcred_pid should not be looked up (such as via the
     KERN_PROC_PID sysctl) for making security decisions.  The sending process
     could have exited and its process ID already been reused for a new

     UNIX domain sockets support a number of socket options which can be set
     with setsockopt(2) and tested with getsockopt(2):

     LOCAL_CREDS         This option may be enabled on SOCK_DGRAM,
                         SOCK_SEQPACKET, or a SOCK_STREAM socket.  This option
                         provides a mechanism for the receiver to receive the
                         credentials of the process calling write(2), send(2),
                         sendto(2) or sendmsg(2) as a recvmsg(2) control
                         message.  The msg_control field in the msghdr
                         structure points to a buffer that contains a cmsghdr
                         structure followed by a variable length sockcred
                         structure, defined in <sys/socket.h> as follows:

                         struct sockcred {
                           uid_t sc_uid;         /* real user id */
                           uid_t sc_euid;        /* effective user id */
                           gid_t sc_gid;         /* real group id */
                           gid_t sc_egid;        /* effective group id */
                           int   sc_ngroups;     /* number of supplemental groups */
                           gid_t sc_groups[1];   /* variable length */

                         The current implementation truncates the group list
                         to at most CMGROUP_MAX groups.

                         The SOCKCREDSIZE() macro computes the size of the
                         sockcred structure for a specified number of groups.
                         The cmsghdr fields have the following values:

                         cmsg_len = CMSG_LEN(SOCKCREDSIZE(ngroups))
                         cmsg_level = SOL_SOCKET
                         cmsg_type = SCM_CREDS

                         On SOCK_STREAM and SOCK_SEQPACKET sockets credentials
                         are passed only on the first read from a socket, then
                         the system clears the option on the socket.

                         This option and the above explicit struct cmsgcred
                         both use the same value SCM_CREDS but incompatible
                         control messages.  If this option is enabled and the
                         sender attached a SCM_CREDS control message with a
                         struct cmsgcred, it will be discarded and a struct
                         sockcred will be included.

                         Many setuid programs will write(2) data at least
                         partially controlled by the invoker, such as error
                         messages.  Therefore, a message accompanied by a
                         particular sc_euid value should not be trusted as
                         being from that user.

     LOCAL_CONNWAIT      Used with SOCK_STREAM sockets, this option causes the
                         connect(2) function to block until accept(2) has been
                         called on the listening socket.

     LOCAL_PEERCRED      Requested via getsockopt(2) on a SOCK_STREAM socket
                         returns credentials of the remote side.  These will
                         arrive in the form of a filled in xucred structure,
                         defined in <sys/ucred.h> as follows:

                         struct xucred {
                           u_int cr_version;             /* structure layout version */
                           uid_t cr_uid;                 /* effective user id */
                           short cr_ngroups;             /* number of groups */
                           gid_t cr_groups[XU_NGROUPS];  /* groups */
                         The cr_version fields should be checked against
                         XUCRED_VERSION define.

                         The credentials presented to the server (the
                         listen(2) caller) are those of the client when it
                         called connect(2); the credentials presented to the
                         client (the connect(2) caller) are those of the
                         server when it called listen(2).  This mechanism is
                         reliable; there is no way for either party to
                         influence the credentials presented to its peer
                         except by calling the appropriate system call (e.g.,
                         connect(2) or listen(2)) under different effective

                         To reliably obtain peer credentials on a SOCK_DGRAM
                         socket refer to the LOCAL_CREDS socket option.

     connect(2), dup(2), fcntl(2), getsockopt(2), listen(2), recvmsg(2),
     sendto(2), setsockopt(2), socket(2), intro(4)

     "An Introductory 4.3 BSD Interprocess Communication Tutorial", PS1, 7.

     "An Advanced 4.3 BSD Interprocess Communication Tutorial", PS1, 8.

FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE-p4        February 3, 2017        FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE-p4
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