When two users edit the same file at the same time, they are likely
to interfere with each other. Emacs tries to prevent this situation
from arising by recording a file lock when a file is being
Emacs can then detect the first attempt to modify a buffer visiting a
file that is locked by another Emacs job, and ask the user what to do.
The file lock is really a file, a symbolic link with a special name,
stored in the same directory as the file you are editing. The name is
constructed by prepending .# to the filename of the buffer.
The target of the symbolic link will be of the form
:boot, where user
is replaced with the current username (from
host with the name of the host where Emacs is running (from
system-name), pid with Emacs's process id, and boot
with the time since the last reboot.
:boot is omitted if
the boot time is unavailable. (On file systems that do not support
symbolic links, a regular file is used instead, with contents of the
When you access files using NFS, there may be a small probability that you and another user will both lock the same file simultaneously. If this happens, it is possible for the two users to make changes simultaneously, but Emacs will still warn the user who saves second. Also, the detection of modification of a buffer visiting a file changed on disk catches some cases of simultaneous editing; see Modification Time.
This function returns
nilif the file filename is not locked. It returns
tif it is locked by this Emacs process, and it returns the name of the user who has locked it if it is locked by some other job.(file-locked-p "foo") ⇒ nil
This function locks the file filename, if the current buffer is modified. The argument filename defaults to the current buffer's visited file. Nothing is done if the current buffer is not visiting a file, or is not modified, or if the option
This function unlocks the file being visited in the current buffer, if the buffer is modified. If the buffer is not modified, then the file should not be locked, so this function does nothing. It also does nothing if the current buffer is not visiting a file, or is not locked.
This function is called when the user tries to modify file, but it is locked by another user named other-user. The default definition of this function asks the user to say what to do. The value this function returns determines what Emacs does next:
- A value of
tsays to grab the lock on the file. Then this user may edit the file and other-user loses the lock.
- A value of
nilsays to ignore the lock and let this user edit the file anyway.
- This function may instead signal a
file-lockederror, in which case the change that the user was about to make does not take place.
The error message for this error looks like this:error--> File is locked: file other-user
fileis the name of the file and other-user is the name of the user who has locked the file.
If you wish, you can replace the
ask-user-about-lockfunction with your own version that makes the decision in another way.