DIRNAME(1P) POSIX Programmer s Manual DIRNAME(1P)

PROLOG This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer s Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

NAME dirname - return the directory portion of a pathname

SYNOPSIS dirname string

DESCRIPTION The string operand shall be treated as a pathname, as defined in the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 3.266, Path- name. The string string shall be converted to the name of the directory containing the filename corresponding to the last pathname component in string, performing actions equivalent to the following steps in order:

1. If string is //, skip steps 2 to 5.

2. If string consists entirely of slash characters, string shall be set to a single slash character. In this case, skip steps 3 to 8.

3. If there are any trailing slash characters in string, they shall be removed.

4. If there are no slash characters remaining in string, string shall be set to a single period character. In this case, skip steps 5 to 8.

5. If there are any trailing non-slash characters in string, they shall be removed.

6. If the remaining string is //, it is implementation-defined whether steps 7 and 8 are skipped or processed.

7. If there are any trailing slash characters in string, they shall be removed.

8. If the remaining string is empty, string shall be set to a single slash character.

The resulting string shall be written to standard output.


OPERANDS The following operand shall be supported:

string A string.

STDIN Not used.


ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES The following environment variables shall affect the execution of dirname:

LANG Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 8.2, Internationalization Vari- ables for the precedence of internationalization variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)

LC_ALL If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.

LC_CTYPE Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments).

LC_MESSAGES Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.

NLSPATH Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES .


STDOUT The dirname utility shall write a line to the standard output in the following format:

"%n", <resulting string>

STDERR The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.



EXIT STATUS The following exit values shall be returned:

0 Successful completion.

>0 An error occurred.


The following sections are informative.

APPLICATION USAGE The definition of pathname specifies implementation-defined behavior for pathnames starting with two slash characters. Therefore, applications shall not arbitrarily add slashes to the beginning of a pathname unless they can ensure that there are more or less than two or are prepared to deal with the implementation-defined consequences.

EXAMPLES Command Results dirname / / dirname // / or // dirname /a/b/ /a dirname //a//b// //a dirname Unspecified dirname a . ($? = 0) dirname "" . ($? = 0) dirname /a / dirname /a/b /a dirname a/b a

RATIONALE The dirname utility originated in System III. It has evolved through the System V releases to a version that matches the requirements speci- fied in this description in System V Release 3. 4.3 BSD and earlier versions did not include dirname.

The behaviors of basename and dirname in this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 have been coordinated so that when string is a valid pathname:

$(basename "string")

would be a valid filename for the file in the directory:

$(dirname "string")

This would not work for the versions of these utilities in early pro- posals due to the way processing of trailing slashes was specified. Consideration was given to leaving processing unspecified if there were trailing slashes, but this cannot be done; the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 3.266, Pathname allows trailing slashes. The basename and dirname utilities have to specify consistent handling for all valid pathnames.


SEE ALSO basename(), Parameters and Variables

COPYRIGHT Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .

IEEE/The Open Group 2003 DIRNAME(1P)