PIPE(2) MidnightBSD System Calls Manual PIPE(2)

NAME

pipe — create descriptor pair for interprocess communication

LIBRARY

Standard C Library (libc, −lc)

SYNOPSIS

#include <unistd.h>

int

pipe(int *fildes);

DESCRIPTION

The pipe() system call creates a pipe, which is an object allowing bidirectional data flow, and allocates a pair of file descriptors.

By convention, the first descriptor is normally used as the read end of the pipe, and the second is normally the write end, so that data written to fildes[1] appears on (i.e., can be read from) fildes[0]. This allows the output of one program to be sent to another program: the source’s standard output is set up to be the write end of the pipe, and the sink’s standard input is set up to be the read end of the pipe. The pipe itself persists until all its associated descriptors are closed.

A pipe that has had an end closed is considered widowed. Writing on such a pipe causes the writing process to receive a SIGPIPE signal. Widowing a pipe is the only way to deliver end-of-file to a reader: after the reader consumes any buffered data, reading a widowed pipe returns a zero count.

The bidirectional nature of this implementation of pipes is not portable to older systems, so it is recommended to use the convention for using the endpoints in the traditional manner when using a pipe in one direction.

RETURN VALUES

The pipe() function returns the value 0 if successful; otherwise the value −1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the error.

ERRORS

The pipe() system call will fail if:

[EMFILE]

Too many descriptors are active.

[ENFILE]

The system file table is full.

[ENOMEM]

Not enough kernel memory to establish a pipe.

[EFAULT]

The fildes buffer is in an invalid area of the process’s address space.

SEE ALSO

sh(1), fork(2), read(2), socketpair(2), write(2)

HISTORY

The pipe() function appeared in Version 3 AT&T UNIX.

Bidirectional pipes were first used on AT&T System V.4 UNIX.

MidnightBSD 0.3 January 30, 2006 MidnightBSD 0.3