Section: POSIX Programmer's Manual (1P)
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.
--- return working directory name
utility shall write to standard output an absolute pathname of the
current working directory, which does not contain the filenames dot or
utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2017,
, Utility Syntax Guidelines.
The following options shall be supported by the implementation:
environment variable contains an absolute pathname of the current directory
and the pathname does not contain any components that are dot or dot-dot,
shall write this pathname to standard output, except that if the
environment variable is longer than
bytes including the terminating null, it is unspecified whether
writes this pathname to standard output or behaves as if the
option had been specified. Otherwise, the
option shall behave as the
The pathname written to standard output shall not contain any components
that refer to files of type symbolic link. If there are multiple pathnames
utility could write to standard output, one beginning with a single
character and one or more beginning with two
characters, then it shall write the pathname beginning with a single
character. The pathname shall not contain any unnecessary
characters after the leading one or two
are specified, the last one shall apply. If neither
is specified, the
utility shall behave as if
had been specified.
The following environment variables shall affect the execution of
Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are
unset or null. (See the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2017,
Section 8.2, Internationalization Variables
the precedence of internationalization variables used to determine the
values of locale categories.)
If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the
other internationalization variables.
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and
contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.
Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of
An absolute pathname of the current working directory. If an
application sets or unsets the value of
the behavior of
utility output is an absolute pathname of the current working
"%s\n", <directory pathname>
The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.
The following exit values shall be returned:
An error occurred.
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
If an error is detected, output shall not be written to standard
output, a diagnostic message shall be written to standard error, and
the exit status is not zero.
The following sections are informative.
If the pathname obtained from
is longer than
bytes, it could produce an error if passed to
Therefore, in order to return to that directory it may be necessary to
break the pathname into sections shorter than
on each section in turn (the first section being an absolute pathname
and subsequent sections being relative pathnames).
Some implementations have historically provided
as a shell special built-in command.
In most utilities, if an error occurs, partial output may be written to
standard output. This does not happen in historical implementations of
is frequently used in historical shell scripts without checking the
exit status, it is important that the historical behavior is required
here; therefore, the CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS section specifically
disallows any partial output being written to standard output.
An earlier version of this standard stated that the
environment variable was affected when the
option was in effect. This was incorrect; conforming implementations
do not do this.
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2017,
Chapter 8, Environment Variables,
Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines
The System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1-2017,
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
from IEEE Std 1003.1-2017, Standard for Information Technology
-- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base
Specifications Issue 7, 2018 Edition,
Copyright (C) 2018 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
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