Synopsis

#include <unistd.h>

int pipe(int *fildes);

Description

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

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 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 generation of the SIGPIPE signal can be suppressed using the F_SETNOSIGPIPE fcntl command.

Return value

Errors