# # (SCO Unix) What does Error 5 mean (or any Error xx) ?
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© December 2003 (various)

This article is from a FAQ concerning SCO operating systems. While some of the information may be applicable to any OS, or any Unix or Linux OS, it may be specific to SCO Xenix, Open There is lots of Linux, Mac OS X and general Unix info elsewhere on this site: Search this site is the best way to find anything.

What does "Error 5" mean (or any "Error xx") ?

If that came from an application program, you might have to ask whoever wrote the program. However, if they are just showing you system error codes, or the error is coming from a system command, you can look in /usr/include/sys/errno.h to find an English translation. These errors are pretty standard across Unix/Linux systems, though where you'll find the list varies: on Linux, you can get it from "man errno".

See also http://aplawrence.com/Unixart/errors.html, where you would find this and more:

#define EIO 5 /* I/O error */ 

The catchall for all manner of unexpected
hardware errors. It could be from a physical
error, but additionally, an orphaned process
(a process whose parent has died) that attempts
to read from standard input will get this. BSD
systems return this if you try to open a pty
device that is already in use. An attempt to read
from a stream that is closed will return EIO,
as will a disk read or write that is outside
of the physical bounds of the device. An open
of /dev/tty when the process has no controlling
tty will spit back EIO also.

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