whose existence (or more rarely contents) indicate that a certain resource
is in use. Commonly used to implement locking
Under Unix/Linux , many programs use lockfiles. They are typically placed under /var/lock .
Normally a lock file is erased when the associated resource is freed. Sometimes a lock file stays around, e.g. when the program that made it crashed. Those lock files, which lock something that should no longer be locked, are called stale locks.