Open a message queue


#include <mqueue.h>
#include <fcntl.h>

mqd_t mq_open( const char * name, 
               int oflag,
               ... )


The name of the message queue that you want to open; see below.
You must specify one of O_RDONLY (receive-only), O_WRONLY (send-only) or O_RDWR (send-receive). In addition, you can OR in the following constants to produce the following effects:
  • O_CREAT — if name doesn't exist, instruct the server to create a new message queue with the given name. If you specify this flag, mq_open() uses its mode and mq_attr arguments; see below.
  • O_EXCL — if you set both O_EXCL and O_CREAT, and a message queue name exists, the call fails and errno is set to EEXIST. Otherwise, the queue is created normally. If you set O_EXCL without O_CREAT, it's ignored.
  • O_NONBLOCK — under normal message queue operation, a call to mq_send() or mq_receive() could block if the message queue is full or empty. If you set this flag, these calls never block. If the queue isn't in a condition to perform the given call, errno is set to EAGAIN and the call returns an error.

If you set O_CREAT in the oflag argument, you must also pass these arguments to mq_open():

The file permissions for the new queue. For more information, see "Access permissions" in the documentation for stat().

If you set any bits other than file permission bits, they're ignored. Read and write permissions are analogous to receive and send permissions; execute permissions are ignored.

NULL, or a pointer to an mq_attr structure that contains the attributes that you want to use for the new queue. For more information, see mq_getattr().

If mq_attr is NULL, the following default attributes are used — depending on which implementation of message queues you're using — provided that you didn't override the defaults when you started the message-queue server:

Attribute Traditional Alternate
mq_maxmsg 1024 64
mq_msgsize 4096 256
mq_flags 0 0

If mq_attr isn't NULL, the new queue adopts the mq_maxmsg and mq_msgsize of mq_attr. The mq_flags flags field is ignored.



The mq_open() function opens a message queue referred to by name, and returns a message queue descriptor by which the queue can be referenced in the future.

Note: QNX Neutrino supports two implementations of message queues: a traditional implementation, and an alternate one that uses asynchronous messages. For more information, see the entries for mq and mqueue in the Utilities Reference, as well as the Managing POSIX Message Queues technote.

The name is interpreted as follows:

Note: If you want to open a queue on another node, you have to use the traditional (mqueue) implementation and specify the name as /net/node/mqueue_location.

If name doesn't exist, mq_open() examines the third and fourth parameters: a mode_t and a pointer to an mq_attr structure.

The only time that a call to mq_open() with O_CREAT set fails is if you open a message queue and later unlink it, but never close it. Like their file counterparts, an unlinked queue that hasn't yet been closed must continue to exist; an attempt to recreate such a message queue fails, and errno is set to ENOENT.

Note: Message queues persist — like files — even after the processes that created them end. A message queue is destroyed when the last process connected to it unlinks from the queue by calling mq_unlink().


A valid message queue descriptor if the queue is successfully created, or -1 (errno is set).


The message queue exists, and you don't have permission to open the queue under the given oflag, or the message queue doesn't exist, and you don't have permission to create one.
You specified the O_CREAT and O_EXCL flags in oflag, and the queue name exists.
The operation was interrupted by a signal.
You specified the O_CREAT flag in oflag, and mq_attr wasn't NULL, but some values in the mq_attr structure were invalid.
Too many levels of symbolic links or prefixes.
Too many file descriptors are in use by the calling process.
The length of name exceeds PATH_MAX.
Too many message queues are open in the system.
You didn't set the O_CREAT flag, and the queue name doesn't exist.
The message queue server has run out of memory.
The mq_open() function isn't implemented for the filesystem specified in name, or the message queue manager (mq or mqueue) isn't running.


POSIX 1003.1 MSG

Cancellation point No
Interrupt handler No
Signal handler No
Thread Yes