PIPE(2) System Calls Manual PIPE(2)

pipecreate descriptor pair for interprocess communication

#include <unistd.h>

pipe(int fildes[2]);

The () function creates a pipe (an object that allows unidirectional data flow) and allocates a pair of file descriptors. The first descriptor connects to the of the pipe; the second connects to the .

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; the sink's standard input is set up to be the read end of the pipe. The pipe itself persists until all of its associated descriptors are closed.

A pipe whose read or write end has been closed is considered . 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 generation of the SIGPIPE signal can be suppressed using the F_SETNOSIGPIPE fcntl command.

On successful creation of the pipe, zero is returned. Otherwise, a value of -1 is returned and the variable errno set to indicate the error.

The pipe() call will fail if:

The fildes buffer is in an invalid area of the process's address space.
Too many descriptors are active.
The system file table is full.

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

A pipe() function call appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.

February 17, 2011 BSD 4