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popen(3) [bsd man page]

POPEN(3)						     Library Functions Manual							  POPEN(3)

popen, pclose - initiate I/O to/from a process SYNOPSIS
#include <stdio.h> FILE *popen(command, type) char *command, *type; pclose(stream) FILE *stream; DESCRIPTION
The arguments to popen are pointers to null-terminated strings containing respectively a shell command line and an I/O mode, either "r" for reading or "w" for writing. It creates a pipe between the calling process and the command to be executed. The value returned is a stream pointer that can be used (as appropriate) to write to the standard input of the command or read from its standard output. A stream opened by popen should be closed by pclose, which waits for the associated process to terminate and returns the exit status of the command. Because open files are shared, a type "r" command may be used as an input filter, and a type "w" as an output filter. SEE ALSO
pipe(2), fopen(3S), fclose(3S), system(3), wait(2), sh(1) DIAGNOSTICS
Popen returns a null pointer if files or processes cannot be created, or the shell cannot be accessed. Pclose returns -1 if stream is not associated with a `popened' command. BUGS
Buffered reading before opening an input filter may leave the standard input of that filter mispositioned. Similar problems with an output filter may be forestalled by careful buffer flushing, for instance, with fflush, see fclose(3S). Popen always calls sh, never calls csh. 7th Edition May 15, 1985 POPEN(3)

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POPEN(3)						   BSD Library Functions Manual 						  POPEN(3)

pclose, popen -- process I/O LIBRARY
Standard C Library (libc, -lc) SYNOPSIS
#include <stdio.h> FILE * popen(const char *command, const char *mode); int pclose(FILE *stream); DESCRIPTION
The popen() function ``opens'' a process by creating a bidirectional pipe, forking, and invoking the shell. Any streams opened by previous popen() calls in the parent process are closed in the new child process. Historically, popen() was implemented with a unidirectional pipe; hence, many implementations of popen() only allow the mode argument to specify reading or writing, not both. Because popen() is now imple- mented using a bidirectional pipe, the mode argument may request a bidirectional data flow. The mode argument is a pointer to a null-termi- nated string which must be 'r' for reading, 'w' for writing, or 'r+' for reading and writing. The command argument is a pointer to a null-terminated string containing a shell command line. This command is passed to /bin/sh, using the -c flag; interpretation, if any, is performed by the shell. The return value from popen() is a normal standard I/O stream in all respects, save that it must be closed with pclose() rather than fclose(). Writing to such a stream writes to the standard input of the command; the command's standard output is the same as that of the process that called popen(), unless this is altered by the command itself. Conversely, reading from a ``popened'' stream reads the command's standard output, and the command's standard input is the same as that of the process that called popen(). Note that output popen() streams are fully buffered, by default. The pclose() function waits for the associated process to terminate; it returns the exit status of the command, as returned by wait4(2). RETURN VALUES
The popen() function returns NULL if the fork(2) or pipe(2) calls fail, or if it cannot allocate memory. The pclose() function returns -1 if stream is not associated with a ``popened'' command, if stream already ``pclosed'', or if wait4(2) returns an error. ERRORS
The popen() function does not reliably set errno. SEE ALSO
sh(1), fork(2), pipe(2), wait4(2), fclose(3), fflush(3), fopen(3), stdio(3), system(3) BUGS
Since the standard input of a command opened for reading shares its seek offset with the process that called popen(), if the original process has done a buffered read, the command's input position may not be as expected. Similarly, the output from a command opened for writing may become intermingled with that of the original process. The latter can be avoided by calling fflush(3) before popen(). Failure to execute the shell is indistinguishable from the shell's failure to execute command, or an immediate exit of the command. The only hint is an exit status of 127. The popen() function always calls sh(1), never calls csh(1). HISTORY
A popen() and a pclose() function appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX. Bidirectional functionality was added in FreeBSD 2.2.6. BSD
May 3, 1995 BSD
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