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mkdir — make directories


mkdir [−p] [−m mode] dir...


The mkdir utility shall create the directories specified by the operands, in the order

For each dir operand, the mkdir utility shall perform actions equivalent to the mkdir()
function defined in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, called with the
following arguments:

1. The dir operand is used as the path argument.

2. The value of the bitwise-inclusive OR of S_IRWXU, S_IRWXG, and S_IRWXO is used as the
mode argument. (If the −m option is specified, the value of the mkdir() mode argument
is unspecified, but the directory shall at no time have permissions less restrictive
than the −m mode option-argument.)


The mkdir utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section
12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

The following options shall be supported:

−m mode Set the file permission bits of the newly-created directory to the specified
mode value. The mode option-argument shall be the same as the mode operand
defined for the chmod utility. In the symbolic_mode strings, the op characters
'+' and '−' shall be interpreted relative to an assumed initial mode of a=rwx;
'+' shall add permissions to the default mode, '−' shall delete permissions from
the default mode.

−p Create any missing intermediate pathname components.

For each dir operand that does not name an existing directory, before performing
the actions described in the DESCRIPTION above, the mkdir utility shall create
any pathname components of the path prefix of dir that do not name an existing
directory by performing actions equivalent to first calling the mkdir() function
with the following arguments:

1. A pathname naming the missing pathname component, ending with a trailing
<slash> character, as the path argument

2. The value zero as the mode argument

and then calling the chmod() function with the following arguments:

1. The same path argument as in the mkdir() call

2. The value (S_IWUSR|S_IXUSR|~filemask)&0777 as the mode argument, where
filemask is the file mode creation mask of the process (see the System
Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008, umask())

Each dir operand that names an existing directory shall be ignored without


The following operand shall be supported:

dir A pathname of a directory to be created.


Not used.




The following environment variables shall affect the execution of mkdir:

LANG Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or
null. (See the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, Section 8.2,
Internationalization Variables 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

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.




Not used.


The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.






The following exit values shall be returned:

0 All the specified directories were created successfully or the −p option was
specified and all the specified directories now exist.

>0 An error occurred.



The following sections are informative.


The default file mode for directories is a=rwx (777 on most systems) with selected
permissions removed in accordance with the file mode creation mask. For intermediate
pathname components created by mkdir, the mode is the default modified by u+wx so that the
subdirectories can always be created regardless of the file mode creation mask; if
different ultimate permissions are desired for the intermediate directories, they can be
changed afterwards with chmod.

Note that some of the requested directories may have been created even if an error occurs.




The System V −m option was included to control the file mode.

The System V −p option was included to create any needed intermediate directories and to
complement the functionality provided by rmdir for removing directories in the path prefix
as they become empty. Because no error is produced if any path component already exists,
the −p option is also useful to ensure that a particular directory exists.

The functionality of mkdir is described substantially through a reference to the mkdir()
function in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2008. For example, by default, the
mode of the directory is affected by the file mode creation mask in accordance with the
specified behavior of the mkdir() function. In this way, there is less duplication of
effort required for describing details of the directory creation.



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