readdir — read directory entry


int readdir(unsigned int fd, struct old_linux_dirent *dirp,
            unsigned int count);

Note: There is no glibc wrapper for this system call; see Notes.


This is not the function you are interested in. Look at readdir(3) for the POSIX conforming C library interface. This page documents the bare kernel system call interface, which is superseded by getdents(2).

readdir() reads one old_linux_dirent structure from the directory referred to by the file descriptor fd into the buffer pointed to by dirp. The argument count is ignored; at most one old_linux_dirent structure is read.

The old_linux_dirent structure is declared (privately in Linux kernel file fs/readdir.c) as follows:

struct old_linux_dirent {
    unsigned long d_ino;     /* inode number */
    unsigned long d_offset;  /* offset to this old_linux_dirent */
    unsigned short d_namlen; /* length of this d_name */
    char  d_name[1];         /* filename (null-terminated) */

d_ino is an inode number. d_offset is the distance from the start of the directory to this old_linux_dirent. d_reclen is the size of d_name, not counting the terminating null byte ('\0'). d_name is a null-terminated filename.

Return Value

On success, 1 is returned. On end of directory, 0 is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.



Invalid file descriptor fd.


Argument points outside the calling process's address space.


Result buffer is too small.


No such directory.


File descriptor does not refer to a directory.

Conforming to

This system call is Linux-specific.


Glibc does not provide a wrapper for this system call; call it using syscall(2). You will need to define the old_linux_dirent structure yourself. However, probably you should use readdir(3) instead.

This system call does not exist on x86-64.

See Also

getdents(2), readdir(3)


This page is part of release 5.04 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at

Referenced By

fanotify(7), fanotify_mark(2), fastrm(1), getdents(2), guestmount(1), mount.fuse(8), read(2), seekdir(3), syscalls(2).

2019-03-06 Linux Programmer's Manual