Beej’s Guide to Unix Interprocess Communication. Version (May). Intro. You know what’s easy? fork() is easy. You can fork off new processes all. I owe my career to Beej. I was getting burnt out of web development and his guides (along with Jesse Storimer’s books) made programming fun. Beejs Guide to Unix IPCBrian “Beej Jorgensen” [email protected] This guide is written in XML using the vim editor on a Slackware.

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The rabbit holes that learning the basics of Unix have opened feel like they could occupy my hobbyist hours for the geej of my life. I’m feeling the same way about web, I’d like to transition to something similar. Also check out his guide to C programming [0] and his guide to network programming [1] [0] http: Beej helped me pass my Operating Systems final last semester.

Then it works like this: For something that requires very low latency e.

Beej’s Guide to Unix IPC () | Hacker News

If drops are fine, TIPC is probably overkill. I have been doing systems programming for the past 7 years and have been thinking about moving over to JS based web development for the past few months.

This is a total abuse of FIFOs, but it’s proven to be much simpler than trying to manage a separate server. What are you doing at your job now? Writer could get pre-empted between those two instructions, so you could get this strange torn value.

For example, rename 2 is atomic, so you can send small data payloads by writing to a different name first. I like blocking inotify in principle – the problem is that it just didn’t work!


Removing the file unox the flag. Its multicast IPC mechanisms are just too heavyweight. You can poll a directory that will normally be empty without much CPU load the directory inode will be cached most of the time. What do you think?

Something I’ve struggled to implement on Linux is cross-process multicast notifications, where any process can post and multiple subscribed processes receive it. Also, note these counters also function as total counts of items written and so each reader cand determine how far ahead the writer is. You can actually implement a basic pubsub both one-to-many and many-to-many mechanism using FIFOs and file system permissions in a particular fashion known as a fifodir: Thank you for your efforts, Brian!

A colleague wrote up a blog post about the various alternatives that were evaluated before settling on that approach: Just touch a file in a well-defined directory named after the event that happened, and poll it periodically. The sender then drains the data it wrote, so that the FIFO becomes unreadable again.

Beej’s Guide to Unix Interprocess Communication

Depending on your permissions requirements[1], and if you really only need a signaling flag, have you considered the filesystem? She’s a giude smart person, so I was predisposed to think “BeeJ” would know what he’s talking about and it turns out he did. Truth be told, a significant portion of my day job is still web application stuff.

Thanks for reminding me, I really need to put this into practice, so much great stuff in here. Even when the problems and tools we use to solve those problems never change, we still somehow get upset with the tools or the problems.


Its amazing how we think the grass is greener. I also explored inotify but found it to be unreliable https: Helped me write web and other servers, a great way to learn about important technologies, providing knowledge that stays useful even if the production server runs on Node. And some operating systems let you watch the files for changes. I think there is a gap in the Linux APIs in this area.

I thought Posix IPC is “better” these days? When messaging becomes that complex, there are often other things that impact the overall design in important ways that need need to be considered. You’d probably have to declare this using the ‘volatile’ keyword. There’s a variety of options if I’m willing to poll, including shared memory or the filesystem idea you outline, but I hope to avoid polling for hygienic reasons.

I’ve inix heard of TIPC. Thanks for the reply.

Perhaps exchanging your jobs with one another unx help. But, you might be reading data you didn’t expect. Of course, this means managing locks.

Beej’s Guide to Unix IPC

The use of poll 2 is just a consequence of the interface using a file guire. If we are sent to programmer purgatory, at least we’ll have each other. I tried that once, and it was unreliable.