ftrylockfile - Linux


ftrylockfile is a utility designed to create and manage try-locks for files. Try-locks are a non-blocking mechanism for acquiring exclusive access to a shared file, ensuring that only one process or thread holds the lock at a given time. This command is used in scenarios where multiple processes concurrently access a file, requiring coordinated access to prevent data corruption or race conditions.


ftrylockfile [options] <file>


  • -t, –timeout Specify a timeout period in seconds; if the lock cannot be acquired within this time, the operation fails. The default is 0 (no timeout).
  • -b, –blocking Use blocking mode. If the lock cannot be immediately acquired, the command waits until it’s available. By default, the command operates in non-blocking mode.
  • -v, –verbose Enable verbose mode, providing detailed output during lock acquisition attempts.
  • -h, –help Display this usage information.


Create a try-lock on a file with a 10 second timeout:

ftrylockfile -t 10 my_file.txt

Acquire a lock in blocking mode:

ftrylockfile -b my_shared_data.dat

Check if a lock exists on a file:

ftrylockfile -v my_target_file.csv

Common Issues

  • Lock acquisition failure: If the lock cannot be acquired within the specified timeout or in blocking mode, it typically indicates that another process or thread is already holding the lock. Consider adjusting the timeout or coordinating access between processes.
  • File not found: Ensure that the provided file path is valid and accessible. Verify that the file exists and has the appropriate file permissions.
  • Permission denied: Check that the user or process launching the command has sufficient file system permissions (read, write, or execute) on the target file.


ftrylockfile can be incorporated into shell scripts or integrated with other commands for more sophisticated file management tasks. For example, it can be combined with a loop and error handling to repeatedly attempt acquiring a lock until successful.

Related Commands

  • flock: Lock a file in a blocking manner.
  • lockfile: Create and remove advisory locks on files.
  • touch: Create a file if it doesn’t exist.