MADVISE(2)                 Linux Programmer's Manual                MADVISE(2)

       madvise - give advice about use of memory

       #include <sys/mman.h>

       int madvise(void *addr, size_t length, int advice);

   Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

           Since glibc 2.19:
           Up to and including glibc 2.19:

       The madvise() system call is used to give advice or directions to the
       kernel about the address range beginning at address addr and with size
       length bytes In most cases, the goal of such advice is to improve
       system or application performance.

       Initially, the system call supported a set of "conventional" advice
       values, which are also available on several other implementations.
       (Note, though, that madvise() is not specified in POSIX.)
       Subsequently, a number of Linux-specific advice values have been added.

   Conventional advice values
       The advice values listed below allow an application to tell the kernel
       how it expects to use some mapped or shared memory areas, so that the
       kernel can choose appropriate read-ahead and caching techniques.  These
       advice values do not influence the semantics of the application (except
       in the case of MADV_DONTNEED), but may influence its performance.  All
       of the advice values listed here have analogs in the POSIX-specified
       posix_madvise(3) function, and the values have the same meanings, with
       the exception of MADV_DONTNEED.

       The advice is indicated in the advice argument, which is one of the

              No special treatment.  This is the default.

              Expect page references in random order.  (Hence, read ahead may
              be less useful than normally.)

              Expect page references in sequential order.  (Hence, pages in
              the given range can be aggressively read ahead, and may be freed
              soon after they are accessed.)

              Expect access in the near future.  (Hence, it might be a good
              idea to read some pages ahead.)

              Do not expect access in the near future.  (For the time being,
              the application is finished with the given range, so the kernel
              can free resources associated with it.)

              After a successful MADV_DONTNEED operation, the semantics of
              memory access in the specified region are changed: subsequent
              accesses of pages in the range will succeed, but will result in
              either repopulating the memory contents from the up-to-date
              contents of the underlying mapped file (for shared file
              mappings, shared anonymous mappings, and shmem-based techniques
              such as System V shared memory segments) or zero-fill-on-demand
              pages for anonymous private mappings.

              Note that, when applied to shared mappings, MADV_DONTNEED might
              not lead to immediate freeing of the pages in the range.  The
              kernel is free to delay freeing the pages until an appropriate
              moment.  The resident set size (RSS) of the calling process will
              be immediately reduced however.

              MADV_DONTNEED cannot be applied to locked pages, Huge TLB pages,
              or VM_PFNMAP pages.  (Pages marked with the kernel-internal
              VM_PFNMAP flag are special memory areas that are not managed by
              the virtual memory subsystem.  Such pages are typically created
              by device drivers that map the pages into user space.)

   Linux-specific advice values
       The following Linux-specific advice values have no counterparts in the
       POSIX-specified posix_madvise(3), and may or may not have counterparts
       in the madvise() interface available on other implementations.  Note
       that some of these operations change the semantics of memory accesses.

       MADV_REMOVE (since Linux 2.6.16)
              Free up a given range of pages and its associated backing store.
              This is equivalent to punching a hole in the corresponding byte
              range of the backing store (see fallocate(2)).  Subsequent
              accesses in the specified address range will see bytes
              containing zero.

              The specified address range must be mapped shared and writable.
              This flag cannot be applied to locked pages, Huge TLB pages, or
              VM_PFNMAP pages.

              In the initial implementation, only tmpfs(5) was supported
              MADV_REMOVE; but since Linux 3.5, any filesystem which supports
              the fallocate(2) FALLOC_FL_PUNCH_HOLE mode also supports
              MADV_REMOVE.  Hugetlbfs fails with the error EINVAL and other
              filesystems fail with the error EOPNOTSUPP.

       MADV_DONTFORK (since Linux 2.6.16)
              Do not make the pages in this range available to the child after
              a fork(2).  This is useful to prevent copy-on-write semantics
              from changing the physical location of a page if the parent
              writes to it after a fork(2).  (Such page relocations cause
              problems for hardware that DMAs into the page.)

       MADV_DOFORK (since Linux 2.6.16)
              Undo the effect of MADV_DONTFORK, restoring the default
              behavior, whereby a mapping is inherited across fork(2).

       MADV_HWPOISON (since Linux 2.6.32)
              Poison the pages in the range specified by addr and length and
              handle subsequent references to those pages like a hardware
              memory corruption.  This operation is available only for
              privileged (CAP_SYS_ADMIN) processes.  This operation may result
              in the calling process receiving a SIGBUS and the page being

              This feature is intended for testing of memory error-handling
              code; it is available only if the kernel was configured with

       MADV_MERGEABLE (since Linux 2.6.32)
              Enable Kernel Samepage Merging (KSM) for the pages in the range
              specified by addr and length.  The kernel regularly scans those
              areas of user memory that have been marked as mergeable, looking
              for pages with identical content.  These are replaced by a
              single write-protected page (which is automatically copied if a
              process later wants to update the content of the page).  KSM
              merges only private anonymous pages (see mmap(2)).

              The KSM feature is intended for applications that generate many
              instances of the same data (e.g., virtualization systems such as
              KVM).  It can consume a lot of processing power; use with care.
              See the Linux kernel source file Documentation/admin-
              guide/mm/ksm.rst for more details.

              The MADV_MERGEABLE and MADV_UNMERGEABLE operations are available
              only if the kernel was configured with CONFIG_KSM.

       MADV_UNMERGEABLE (since Linux 2.6.32)
              Undo the effect of an earlier MADV_MERGEABLE operation on the
              specified address range; KSM unmerges whatever pages it had
              merged in the address range specified by addr and length.

       MADV_SOFT_OFFLINE (since Linux 2.6.33)
              Soft offline the pages in the range specified by addr and
              length.  The memory of each page in the specified range is
              preserved (i.e., when next accessed, the same content will be
              visible, but in a new physical page frame), and the original
              page is offlined (i.e., no longer used, and taken out of normal
              memory management).  The effect of the MADV_SOFT_OFFLINE
              operation is invisible to (i.e., does not change the semantics
              of) the calling process.

              This feature is intended for testing of memory error-handling
              code; it is available only if the kernel was configured with

       MADV_HUGEPAGE (since Linux 2.6.38)
              Enable Transparent Huge Pages (THP) for pages in the range
              specified by addr and length.  Currently, Transparent Huge Pages
              work only with private anonymous pages (see mmap(2)).  The
              kernel will regularly scan the areas marked as huge page
              candidates to replace them with huge pages.  The kernel will
              also allocate huge pages directly when the region is naturally
              aligned to the huge page size (see posix_memalign(2)).

              This feature is primarily aimed at applications that use large
              mappings of data and access large regions of that memory at a
              time (e.g., virtualization systems such as QEMU).  It can very
              easily waste memory (e.g., a 2 MB mapping that only ever
              accesses 1 byte will result in 2 MB of wired memory instead of
              one 4 KB page).  See the Linux kernel source file
              Documentation/admin-guide/mm/transhuge.rst for more details.

              The MADV_HUGEPAGE and MADV_NOHUGEPAGE operations are available
              only if the kernel was configured with

       MADV_NOHUGEPAGE (since Linux 2.6.38)
              Ensures that memory in the address range specified by addr and
              length will not be collapsed into huge pages.

       MADV_DONTDUMP (since Linux 3.4)
              Exclude from a core dump those pages in the range specified by
              addr and length.  This is useful in applications that have large
              areas of memory that are known not to be useful in a core dump.
              The effect of MADV_DONTDUMP takes precedence over the bit mask
              that is set via the /proc/[pid]/coredump_filter file (see

       MADV_DODUMP (since Linux 3.4)
              Undo the effect of an earlier MADV_DONTDUMP.

       MADV_FREE (since Linux 4.5)
              The application no longer requires the pages in the range
              specified by addr and len.  The kernel can thus free these
              pages, but the freeing could be delayed until memory pressure
              occurs.  For each of the pages that has been marked to be freed
              but has not yet been freed, the free operation will be canceled
              if the caller writes into the page.  After a successful
              MADV_FREE operation, any stale data (i.e., dirty, unwritten
              pages) will be lost when the kernel frees the pages.  However,
              subsequent writes to pages in the range will succeed and then
              kernel cannot free those dirtied pages, so that the caller can
              always see just written data.  If there is no subsequent write,
              the kernel can free the pages at any time.  Once pages in the
              range have been freed, the caller will see zero-fill-on-demand
              pages upon subsequent page references.

              The MADV_FREE operation can be applied only to private anonymous
              pages (see mmap(2)).  In Linux before version 4.12, when freeing
              pages on a swapless system, the pages in the given range are
              freed instantly, regardless of memory pressure.

       MADV_WIPEONFORK (since Linux 4.14)
              Present the child process with zero-filled memory in this range
              after a fork(2).  This is useful in forking servers in order to
              ensure that sensitive per-process data (for example, PRNG seeds,
              cryptographic secrets, and so on) is not handed to child

              The MADV_WIPEONFORK operation can be applied only to private
              anonymous pages (see mmap(2)).

              Within the child created by fork(2), the MADV_WIPEONFORK setting
              remains in place on the specified address range.  This setting
              is cleared during execve(2).

       MADV_KEEPONFORK (since Linux 4.14)
              Undo the effect of an earlier MADV_WIPEONFORK.

       On success, madvise() returns zero.  On error, it returns -1 and errno
       is set appropriately.

       EACCES advice is MADV_REMOVE, but the specified address range is not a
              shared writable mapping.

       EAGAIN A kernel resource was temporarily unavailable.

       EBADF  The map exists, but the area maps something that isn't a file.

       EINVAL addr is not page-aligned or length is negative.

       EINVAL advice is not a valid.

       EINVAL advice is MADV_DONTNEED or MADV_REMOVE and the specified address
              range includes locked, Huge TLB pages, or VM_PFNMAP pages.

       EINVAL advice is MADV_MERGEABLE or MADV_UNMERGEABLE, but the kernel was
              not configured with CONFIG_KSM.

       EINVAL advice is MADV_FREE or MADV_WIPEONFORK but the specified address
              range includes file, Huge TLB, MAP_SHARED, or VM_PFNMAP ranges.

       EIO    (for MADV_WILLNEED) Paging in this area would exceed the
              process's maximum resident set size.

       ENOMEM (for MADV_WILLNEED) Not enough memory: paging in failed.

       ENOMEM Addresses in the specified range are not currently mapped, or
              are outside the address space of the process.

       EPERM  advice is MADV_HWPOISON, but the caller does not have the
              CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability.

       Since Linux 3.18, support for this system call is optional, depending
       on the setting of the CONFIG_ADVISE_SYSCALLS configuration option.

       madvise() is not specified by any standards.  Versions of this system
       call, implementing a wide variety of advice values, exist on many other
       implementations.  Other implementations typically implement at least
       the flags listed above under Conventional advice flags, albeit with
       some variation in semantics.

       POSIX.1-2001 describes posix_madvise(3) with constants
       POSIX_MADV_WILLNEED, and POSIX_MADV_DONTNEED, and so on, with behavior
       close to the similarly named flags listed above.

   Linux notes
       The Linux implementation requires that the address addr be page-
       aligned, and allows length to be zero.  If there are some parts of the
       specified address range that are not mapped, the Linux version of
       madvise() ignores them and applies the call to the rest (but returns
       ENOMEM from the system call, as it should).

       getrlimit(2), mincore(2), mmap(2), mprotect(2), msync(2), munmap(2),
       prctl(2), posix_madvise(3), core(5)

       This page is part of release 5.01 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

Linux                             2019-03-06                        MADVISE(2)