This ioctl is part of GPIO Character Device Userspace API (v1) and is obsoleted by GPIO_V2_GET_LINE_IOCTL.


GPIO_GET_LINEHANDLE_IOCTL - Request a line or lines from the kernel.



int ioctl(int chip_fd, GPIO_GET_LINEHANDLE_IOCTL, struct gpiohandle_request *request)



The file descriptor of the GPIO character device returned by open().


The handle_request specifying the lines to request and their configuration.


Request a line or lines from the kernel.

While multiple lines may be requested, the same configuration applies to all lines in the request.

On success, the requesting process is granted exclusive access to the line value and write access to the line configuration.

The state of a line, including the value of output lines, is guaranteed to remain as requested until the returned file descriptor is closed. Once the file descriptor is closed, the state of the line becomes uncontrolled from the userspace perspective, and may revert to its default state.

Requesting a line already in use is an error (EBUSY).

Closing the chip_fd has no effect on existing line handles.

Configuration Rules

The following configuration rules apply:

The direction flags, GPIOHANDLE_REQUEST_INPUT and GPIOHANDLE_REQUEST_OUTPUT, cannot be combined. If neither are set then the only other flag that may be set is GPIOHANDLE_REQUEST_ACTIVE_LOW and the line is requested “as-is” to allow reading of the line value without altering the electrical configuration.

The drive flags, GPIOHANDLE_REQUEST_OPEN_xxx, require the GPIOHANDLE_REQUEST_OUTPUT to be set. Only one drive flag may be set. If none are set then the line is assumed push-pull.

Only one bias flag, GPIOHANDLE_REQUEST_BIAS_xxx, may be set, and it requires a direction flag to also be set. If no bias flags are set then the bias configuration is not changed.

Requesting an invalid configuration is an error (EINVAL).

Configuration Support

Where the requested configuration is not directly supported by the underlying hardware and driver, the kernel applies one of these approaches:

  • reject the request

  • emulate the feature in software

  • treat the feature as best effort

The approach applied depends on whether the feature can reasonably be emulated in software, and the impact on the hardware and userspace if the feature is not supported. The approach applied for each feature is as follows:




best effort





Bias is treated as best effort to allow userspace to apply the same configuration for platforms that support internal bias as those that require external bias. Worst case the line floats rather than being biased as expected.

Drive is emulated by switching the line to an input when the line should not be driven.

In all cases, the configuration reported by GPIO_GET_LINEINFO_IOCTL is the requested configuration, not the resulting hardware configuration. Userspace cannot determine if a feature is supported in hardware, is emulated, or is best effort.

Return Value

On success 0 and the request.fd contains the file descriptor for the request.

On error -1 and the errno variable is set appropriately. Common error codes are described in GPIO Error Codes.