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Are there any filename or path length limits on Linux?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 35 down vote accepted

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems

See the section called "limits"

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answer is: limit is usually 255 chars (for those who are too lazy to click this link) –  rahmanisback Sep 17 '12 at 15:04
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Your answer should contain at least a summary of the relevant information in the link provided. Not just a link. –  zrajm Sep 15 '13 at 18:18
    
@rahmanisback that's right for filename limits, while path limits are usually defined by the OS, not FS (except for some strange FSes like iso or ntfs), and, on linux, are 4K –  nonchip Jun 27 at 14:13
    
@nonchip thanks for clarification although the question was about filename length not paths. –  rahmanisback Jun 28 at 14:45
    
Actually it was about both :D –  nonchip Jun 29 at 1:14
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There I've read that path length limit is in system headers. File name lenght limit is there too. On my system its file

  /usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.38-10/include/linux/limits.h 

and C-lang defines:

  #define NAME_MAX         255    /* # chars in a file name */
  #define PATH_MAX        4096    /* # chars in a path name including nul */

and some more.

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Sorry, but I'am new here an can't even comment, save vote. The previous answer (by sfp) should be upped, as it answers the question completely, while the others are partially off. Again, sorry for going besides the rules, but I can't be quiet when the best answer is at the bottom. –  David Balažic Jan 3 '12 at 23:56
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And for the sake of saving time (and anchoring it to memory):

ext2, ext3, ext4, zfs: no pathname limits; 255 bytes filename limit.

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Those are file system name lengths. "linux" itself has some too. For instance, from bits/stdio_lim.h:

# define FILENAME_MAX 4096
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So since the extX filesystems have a lower filename limit than what's defined in the kernel, you wouldn't ever hit that limit, unless it also encompases pathnames, right? –  Ivan May 18 '09 at 18:33
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that's what it looks like to me. There's also PATH_MAX for the path, which is 4096, so it would be hit before the "unlimited" path size on the exts... I'm not sure how the OS resolves its own internal restrictions and those of the FS, never had my arms in that deep. interesting question though. –  jj33 May 18 '09 at 19:53
    
4096 characters is a helluva path name. I'm sure it could be raised with a recompile, but honestly, /why would you need pathnames that long?/ –  Avery Payne May 18 '09 at 23:52
    
I'm not sure you would need it or not. I view it more as a protection against malicious or negligent programs (I could easily see a script that behaves poorly and begins creating the same dir recursively. Actually, I've made that script, but it was redirecting a web site, not creating dirs...). –  jj33 May 19 '09 at 12:12
    
@AveryPayne To add tags to files so they could be searched using a simple locate. –  Hubert Kario Jun 18 '12 at 20:33
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I refer to other answers, please upvote them.

Are there any filename or path length limits on Linux?

Yes, filename and pathname lengths are limited by :

To dynamically get these properties:

  • Use functions pathconf and fpathconf as proposed by Michael Aaron Safyan
  • Create a filename (or pathname) longer and longer as explained by dogbane
  • Use the command getconf proposed by tim that is also available on Linux:

    $ getconf NAME_MAX /mnt/sda2/
    255
    $ getconf PATH_MAX /mnt/sda3/
    4096
    
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