fseek to a 32-bit unsigned offset


I am reading a file format (TIFF) that has 32-bit unsigned offsets from the beginning of the file.

Unfortunately the prototype for fseek, the usual way I would go to particular file offset, is:

int fseek ( FILE * stream, long int offset, int origin );

so the offset is signed. How should I handle this situation? Should I be using a different function for seeking?


You can try to use lseek64() (<a href="https://linux.die.net/man/3/lseek64" rel="nofollow">man page</a>)

#define _LARGEFILE64_SOURCE /* See feature_test_macros(7) */ #include <sys/types.h> #include <unistd.h> off64_t lseek64(int fd, off64_t offset, int whence);


int fd = fileno (stream);

Notes from <a href="https://www.gnu.org/software/libc/manual/html_node/File-Position-Primitive.html" rel="nofollow">The GNU C lib - Setting the File Position of a Descriptor</a>


This function is similar to the lseek function. The difference is that the offset parameter is of type off64_t instead of off_t which makes it possible on 32 bit machines to address files larger than 2^31 bytes and up to 2^63 bytes. The file descriptor filedes must be opened using open64 since otherwise the large offsets possible with off64_t will lead to errors with a descriptor in small file mode.

When the source file is compiled with _FILE_OFFSET_BITS == 64 on a 32 bits machine this function is actually available under the name lseek and so transparently replaces the 32 bit interface.


About fd and stream, from <a href="https://www.gnu.org/software/libc/manual/html_node/Streams-and-File-Descriptors.html" rel="nofollow">Streams and File Descriptors</a>


Since streams are implemented in terms of file descriptors, you can extract the file descriptor from a stream and perform low-level operations directly on the file descriptor. You can also initially open a connection as a file descriptor and then make a stream associated with that file descriptor.



After studying this question more deeply and considering the other comments and answers (thank you), I think the simplest approach is to do two seeks if the offset is greater than 2147483647 bytes. This allows me to keep the offsets as uint32_t and continue using fseek. The positioning code is therefore like this:

// note: error handling code omitted uint32_t offset = ... (whatever it is) if( offset > 2147483647 ){ fseek( file, 2147483647, SEEK_SET ); fseek( file, (long int)( offset - 2147483647 ), SEEK_CUR ); } else { fseek( file, (long int) offset, SEEK_SET ); }

The problem with using 64-bit types is that the code might be running on a 32-bit architecture (among other things). There is a function fsetpos which uses a structure fpos_t to manage arbitrarily large offsets, but that brings with it a range of complexities. Although fsetpos might make sense if I was truly using offsets of arbitrarily large size, since I know the largest possible offset is uint32_t, then the double seek meets that need.

Note that this solution allows all TIFF files to be handled on a 32-bit system. The advantage of this is obvious if you consider commercial programs like PixInsight. PixInsight can only handle TIFF files smaller than 2147483648 bytes when running on 32-bit systems. To handle full sized TIFF files, a user has to use the 64-bit version of PixInsight on a 64-bit computer. This is probably because the PixInsight programmers used a 64-bit type to handle the offsets internally. Since my solution only uses 32-bit types, I can handle full-sized TIFF files on a 32-bit system (as long as the underlying operating system can handle files that large).


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