PERLIPC(1)             Perl Programmers Reference Guide             PERLIPC(1)

       perlipc - Perl interprocess communication (signals, fifos, pipes, safe
       subprocesses, sockets, and semaphores)

       The basic IPC facilities of Perl are built out of the good old Unix
       signals, named pipes, pipe opens, the Berkeley socket routines, and
       SysV IPC calls.  Each is used in slightly different situations.

       Perl uses a simple signal handling model: the %SIG hash contains names
       or references of user-installed signal handlers.  These handlers will
       be called with an argument which is the name of the signal that
       triggered it.  A signal may be generated intentionally from a
       particular keyboard sequence like control-C or control-Z, sent to you
       from another process, or triggered automatically by the kernel when
       special events transpire, like a child process exiting, your own
       process running out of stack space, or hitting a process file-size

       For example, to trap an interrupt signal, set up a handler like this:

           our $shucks;

           sub catch_zap {
               my $signame = shift;
               die "Somebody sent me a SIG$signame";
           $SIG{INT} = __PACKAGE__ . "::catch_zap";
           $SIG{INT} = \&catch_zap;  # best strategy

       Prior to Perl 5.8.0 it was necessary to do as little as you possibly
       could in your handler; notice how all we do is set a global variable
       and then raise an exception.  That's because on most systems, libraries
       are not re-entrant; particularly, memory allocation and I/O routines
       are not.  That meant that doing nearly anything in your handler could
       in theory trigger a memory fault and subsequent core dump - see
       "Deferred Signals (Safe Signals)" below.

       The names of the signals are the ones listed out by "kill -l" on your
       system, or you can retrieve them using the CPAN module IPC::Signal.

       You may also choose to assign the strings "IGNORE" or "DEFAULT" as the
       handler, in which case Perl will try to discard the signal or do the
       default thing.

       On most Unix platforms, the "CHLD" (sometimes also known as "CLD")
       signal has special behavior with respect to a value of "IGNORE".
       Setting $SIG{CHLD} to "IGNORE" on such a platform has the effect of not
       creating zombie processes when the parent process fails to "wait()" on
       its child processes (i.e., child processes are automatically reaped).
       Calling "wait()" with $SIG{CHLD} set to "IGNORE" usually returns "-1"
       on such platforms.

       Some signals can be neither trapped nor ignored, such as the KILL and
       STOP (but not the TSTP) signals. Note that ignoring signals makes them
       disappear.  If you only want them blocked temporarily without them
       getting lost you'll have to use POSIX' sigprocmask.

       Sending a signal to a negative process ID means that you send the
       signal to the entire Unix process group.  This code sends a hang-up
       signal to all processes in the current process group, and also sets
       $SIG{HUP} to "IGNORE" so it doesn't kill itself:

           # block scope for local
               local $SIG{HUP} = "IGNORE";
               kill HUP => -getpgrp();
               # snazzy writing of: kill("HUP", -getpgrp())

       Another interesting signal to send is signal number zero.  This doesn't
       actually affect a child process, but instead checks whether it's alive
       or has changed its UIDs.

           unless (kill 0 => $kid_pid) {
               warn "something wicked happened to $kid_pid";

       Signal number zero may fail because you lack permission to send the
       signal when directed at a process whose real or saved UID is not
       identical to the real or effective UID of the sending process, even
       though the process is alive.  You may be able to determine the cause of
       failure using $! or "%!".

           unless (kill(0 => $pid) || $!{EPERM}) {
               warn "$pid looks dead";

       You might also want to employ anonymous functions for simple signal

           $SIG{INT} = sub { die "\nOutta here!\n" };

       SIGCHLD handlers require some special care.  If a second child dies
       while in the signal handler caused by the first death, we won't get
       another signal. So must loop here else we will leave the unreaped child
       as a zombie. And the next time two children die we get another zombie.
       And so on.

           use POSIX ":sys_wait_h";
           $SIG{CHLD} = sub {
               while ((my $child = waitpid(-1, WNOHANG)) > 0) {
                   $Kid_Status{$child} = $?;
           # do something that forks...

       Be careful: qx(), system(), and some modules for calling external
       commands do a fork(), then wait() for the result. Thus, your signal
       handler will be called. Because wait() was already called by system()
       or qx(), the wait() in the signal handler will see no more zombies and
       will therefore block.

       The best way to prevent this issue is to use waitpid(), as in the
       following example:

           use POSIX ":sys_wait_h"; # for nonblocking read

           my %children;

           $SIG{CHLD} = sub {
               # don't change $! and $? outside handler
               local ($!, $?);
               while ( (my $pid = waitpid(-1, WNOHANG)) > 0 ) {
                   delete $children{$pid};
                   cleanup_child($pid, $?);

           while (1) {
               my $pid = fork();
               die "cannot fork" unless defined $pid;
               if ($pid == 0) {
                   # ...
                   exit 0;
               } else {
                   # ...
                   # ...

       Signal handling is also used for timeouts in Unix.  While safely
       protected within an "eval{}" block, you set a signal handler to trap
       alarm signals and then schedule to have one delivered to you in some
       number of seconds.  Then try your blocking operation, clearing the
       alarm when it's done but not before you've exited your "eval{}" block.
       If it goes off, you'll use die() to jump out of the block.

       Here's an example:

           my $ALARM_EXCEPTION = "alarm clock restart";
           eval {
               local $SIG{ALRM} = sub { die $ALARM_EXCEPTION };
               alarm 10;
               flock(FH, 2)    # blocking write lock
                               || die "cannot flock: $!";
               alarm 0;
           if ($@ && $@ !~ quotemeta($ALARM_EXCEPTION)) { die }

       If the operation being timed out is system() or qx(), this technique is
       liable to generate zombies.    If this matters to you, you'll need to
       do your own fork() and exec(), and kill the errant child process.

       For more complex signal handling, you might see the standard POSIX
       module.  Lamentably, this is almost entirely undocumented, but the
       ext/POSIX/t/sigaction.t file from the Perl source distribution has some
       examples in it.

   Handling the SIGHUP Signal in Daemons
       A process that usually starts when the system boots and shuts down when
       the system is shut down is called a daemon (Disk And Execution
       MONitor). If a daemon process has a configuration file which is
       modified after the process has been started, there should be a way to
       tell that process to reread its configuration file without stopping the
       process. Many daemons provide this mechanism using a "SIGHUP" signal
       handler. When you want to tell the daemon to reread the file, simply
       send it the "SIGHUP" signal.

       The following example implements a simple daemon, which restarts itself
       every time the "SIGHUP" signal is received. The actual code is located
       in the subroutine "code()", which just prints some debugging info to
       show that it works; it should be replaced with the real code.


         use strict;
         use warnings;

         use POSIX ();
         use FindBin ();
         use File::Basename ();
         use File::Spec::Functions qw(catfile);

         $| = 1;

         # make the daemon cross-platform, so exec always calls the script
         # itself with the right path, no matter how the script was invoked.
         my $script = File::Basename::basename($0);
         my $SELF  = catfile($FindBin::Bin, $script);

         # POSIX unmasks the sigprocmask properly
         $SIG{HUP} = sub {
             print "got SIGHUP\n";
             exec($SELF, @ARGV)        || die "$0: couldn't restart: $!";


         sub code {
             print "PID: $$\n";
             print "ARGV: @ARGV\n";
             my $count = 0;
             while (1) {
                 sleep 2;
                 print ++$count, "\n";

   Deferred Signals (Safe Signals)
       Before Perl 5.8.0, installing Perl code to deal with signals exposed
       you to danger from two things.  First, few system library functions are
       re-entrant.  If the signal interrupts while Perl is executing one
       function (like malloc(3) or printf(3)), and your signal handler then
       calls the same function again, you could get unpredictable
       behavior--often, a core dump.  Second, Perl isn't itself re-entrant at
       the lowest levels.  If the signal interrupts Perl while Perl is
       changing its own internal data structures, similarly unpredictable
       behavior may result.

       There were two things you could do, knowing this: be paranoid or be
       pragmatic.  The paranoid approach was to do as little as possible in
       your signal handler.  Set an existing integer variable that already has
       a value, and return.  This doesn't help you if you're in a slow system
       call, which will just restart.  That means you have to "die" to
       longjmp(3) out of the handler.  Even this is a little cavalier for the
       true paranoiac, who avoids "die" in a handler because the system is out
       to get you.  The pragmatic approach was to say "I know the risks, but
       prefer the convenience", and to do anything you wanted in your signal
       handler, and be prepared to clean up core dumps now and again.

       Perl 5.8.0 and later avoid these problems by "deferring" signals.  That
       is, when the signal is delivered to the process by the system (to the C
       code that implements Perl) a flag is set, and the handler returns
       immediately.  Then at strategic "safe" points in the Perl interpreter
       (e.g. when it is about to execute a new opcode) the flags are checked
       and the Perl level handler from %SIG is executed. The "deferred" scheme
       allows much more flexibility in the coding of signal handlers as we
       know the Perl interpreter is in a safe state, and that we are not in a
       system library function when the handler is called.  However the
       implementation does differ from previous Perls in the following ways:

       Long-running opcodes
           As the Perl interpreter looks at signal flags only when it is about
           to execute a new opcode, a signal that arrives during a long-
           running opcode (e.g. a regular expression operation on a very large
           string) will not be seen until the current opcode completes.

           If a signal of any given type fires multiple times during an opcode
           (such as from a fine-grained timer), the handler for that signal
           will be called only once, after the opcode completes; all other
           instances will be discarded.  Furthermore, if your system's signal
           queue gets flooded to the point that there are signals that have
           been raised but not yet caught (and thus not deferred) at the time
           an opcode completes, those signals may well be caught and deferred
           during subsequent opcodes, with sometimes surprising results.  For
           example, you may see alarms delivered even after calling alarm(0)
           as the latter stops the raising of alarms but does not cancel the
           delivery of alarms raised but not yet caught.  Do not depend on the
           behaviors described in this paragraph as they are side effects of
           the current implementation and may change in future versions of

       Interrupting IO
           When a signal is delivered (e.g., SIGINT from a control-C) the
           operating system breaks into IO operations like read(2), which is
           used to implement Perl's readline() function, the "<>" operator. On
           older Perls the handler was called immediately (and as "read" is
           not "unsafe", this worked well). With the "deferred" scheme the
           handler is not called immediately, and if Perl is using the
           system's "stdio" library that library may restart the "read"
           without returning to Perl to give it a chance to call the %SIG
           handler. If this happens on your system the solution is to use the
           ":perlio" layer to do IO--at least on those handles that you want
           to be able to break into with signals. (The ":perlio" layer checks
           the signal flags and calls %SIG handlers before resuming IO

           The default in Perl 5.8.0 and later is to automatically use the
           ":perlio" layer.

           Note that it is not advisable to access a file handle within a
           signal handler where that signal has interrupted an I/O operation
           on that same handle. While perl will at least try hard not to
           crash, there are no guarantees of data integrity; for example, some
           data might get dropped or written twice.

           Some networking library functions like gethostbyname() are known to
           have their own implementations of timeouts which may conflict with
           your timeouts.  If you have problems with such functions, try using
           the POSIX sigaction() function, which bypasses Perl safe signals.
           Be warned that this does subject you to possible memory corruption,
           as described above.

           Instead of setting $SIG{ALRM}:

              local $SIG{ALRM} = sub { die "alarm" };

           try something like the following:

            use POSIX qw(SIGALRM);
                             POSIX::SigAction->new(sub { die "alarm" }))
                     || die "Error setting SIGALRM handler: $!\n";

           Another way to disable the safe signal behavior locally is to use
           the "Perl::Unsafe::Signals" module from CPAN, which affects all

       Restartable system calls
           On systems that supported it, older versions of Perl used the
           SA_RESTART flag when installing %SIG handlers.  This meant that
           restartable system calls would continue rather than returning when
           a signal arrived.  In order to deliver deferred signals promptly,
           Perl 5.8.0 and later do not use SA_RESTART.  Consequently,
           restartable system calls can fail (with $! set to "EINTR") in
           places where they previously would have succeeded.

           The default ":perlio" layer retries "read", "write" and "close" as
           described above; interrupted "wait" and "waitpid" calls will always
           be retried.

       Signals as "faults"
           Certain signals like SEGV, ILL, and BUS are generated by virtual
           memory addressing errors and similar "faults". These are normally
           fatal: there is little a Perl-level handler can do with them.  So
           Perl delivers them immediately rather than attempting to defer

       Signals triggered by operating system state
           On some operating systems certain signal handlers are supposed to
           "do something" before returning. One example can be CHLD or CLD,
           which indicates a child process has completed. On some operating
           systems the signal handler is expected to "wait" for the completed
           child process. On such systems the deferred signal scheme will not
           work for those signals: it does not do the "wait". Again the
           failure will look like a loop as the operating system will reissue
           the signal because there are completed child processes that have
           not yet been "wait"ed for.

       If you want the old signal behavior back despite possible memory
       corruption, set the environment variable "PERL_SIGNALS" to "unsafe".
       This feature first appeared in Perl 5.8.1.

Named Pipes
       A named pipe (often referred to as a FIFO) is an old Unix IPC mechanism
       for processes communicating on the same machine.  It works just like
       regular anonymous pipes, except that the processes rendezvous using a
       filename and need not be related.

       To create a named pipe, use the "POSIX::mkfifo()" function.

           use POSIX qw(mkfifo);
           mkfifo($path, 0700)     ||  die "mkfifo $path failed: $!";

       You can also use the Unix command mknod(1), or on some systems,
       mkfifo(1).  These may not be in your normal path, though.

           # system return val is backwards, so && not ||
           $ENV{PATH} .= ":/etc:/usr/etc";
           if  (      system("mknod",  $path, "p")
                   && system("mkfifo", $path) )
               die "mk{nod,fifo} $path failed";

       A fifo is convenient when you want to connect a process to an unrelated
       one.  When you open a fifo, the program will block until there's
       something on the other end.

       For example, let's say you'd like to have your .signature file be a
       named pipe that has a Perl program on the other end.  Now every time
       any program (like a mailer, news reader, finger program, etc.) tries to
       read from that file, the reading program will read the new signature
       from your program.  We'll use the pipe-checking file-test operator, -p,
       to find out whether anyone (or anything) has accidentally removed our

           chdir();    # go home
           my $FIFO = ".signature";

           while (1) {
               unless (-p $FIFO) {
                   unlink $FIFO;   # discard any failure, will catch later
                   require POSIX;  # delayed loading of heavy module
                   POSIX::mkfifo($FIFO, 0700)
                                       || die "can't mkfifo $FIFO: $!";

               # next line blocks till there's a reader
               open (FIFO, "> $FIFO")  || die "can't open $FIFO: $!";
               print FIFO "John Smith (smith\\n", `fortune -s`;
               close(FIFO)             || die "can't close $FIFO: $!";
               sleep 2;                # to avoid dup signals

Using open() for IPC
       Perl's basic open() statement can also be used for unidirectional
       interprocess communication by either appending or prepending a pipe
       symbol to the second argument to open().  Here's how to start something
       up in a child process you intend to write to:

           open(SPOOLER, "| cat -v | lpr -h 2>/dev/null")
                               || die "can't fork: $!";
           local $SIG{PIPE} = sub { die "spooler pipe broke" };
           print SPOOLER "stuff\n";
           close SPOOLER       || die "bad spool: $! $?";

       And here's how to start up a child process you intend to read from:

           open(STATUS, "netstat -an 2>&1 |")
                               || die "can't fork: $!";
           while (<STATUS>) {
               next if /^(tcp|udp)/;
           close STATUS        || die "bad netstat: $! $?";

       If one can be sure that a particular program is a Perl script expecting
       filenames in @ARGV, the clever programmer can write something like

           % program f1 "cmd1|" - f2 "cmd2|" f3 < tmpfile

       and no matter which sort of shell it's called from, the Perl program
       will read from the file f1, the process cmd1, standard input (tmpfile
       in this case), the f2 file, the cmd2 command, and finally the f3 file.
       Pretty nifty, eh?

       You might notice that you could use backticks for much the same effect
       as opening a pipe for reading:

           print grep { !/^(tcp|udp)/ } `netstat -an 2>&1`;
           die "bad netstatus ($?)" if $?;

       While this is true on the surface, it's much more efficient to process
       the file one line or record at a time because then you don't have to
       read the whole thing into memory at once.  It also gives you finer
       control of the whole process, letting you kill off the child process
       early if you'd like.

       Be careful to check the return values from both open() and close().  If
       you're writing to a pipe, you should also trap SIGPIPE.  Otherwise,
       think of what happens when you start up a pipe to a command that
       doesn't exist: the open() will in all likelihood succeed (it only
       reflects the fork()'s success), but then your output will
       fail--spectacularly.  Perl can't know whether the command worked,
       because your command is actually running in a separate process whose
       exec() might have failed.  Therefore, while readers of bogus commands
       return just a quick EOF, writers to bogus commands will get hit with a
       signal, which they'd best be prepared to handle.  Consider:

           open(FH, "|bogus")      || die "can't fork: $!";
           print FH "bang\n";      #  neither necessary nor sufficient
                                   #  to check print retval!
           close(FH)               || die "can't close: $!";

       The reason for not checking the return value from print() is because of
       pipe buffering; physical writes are delayed.  That won't blow up until
       the close, and it will blow up with a SIGPIPE.  To catch it, you could
       use this:

           $SIG{PIPE} = "IGNORE";
           open(FH, "|bogus")  || die "can't fork: $!";
           print FH "bang\n";
           close(FH)           || die "can't close: status=$?";

       Both the main process and any child processes it forks share the same
       STDIN, STDOUT, and STDERR filehandles.  If both processes try to access
       them at once, strange things can happen.  You may also want to close or
       reopen the filehandles for the child.  You can get around this by
       opening your pipe with open(), but on some systems this means that the
       child process cannot outlive the parent.

   Background Processes
       You can run a command in the background with:

           system("cmd &");

       The command's STDOUT and STDERR (and possibly STDIN, depending on your
       shell) will be the same as the parent's.  You won't need to catch
       SIGCHLD because of the double-fork taking place; see below for details.

   Complete Dissociation of Child from Parent
       In some cases (starting server processes, for instance) you'll want to
       completely dissociate the child process from the parent.  This is often
       called daemonization.  A well-behaved daemon will also chdir() to the
       root directory so it doesn't prevent unmounting the filesystem
       containing the directory from which it was launched, and redirect its
       standard file descriptors from and to /dev/null so that random output
       doesn't wind up on the user's terminal.

        use POSIX "setsid";

        sub daemonize {
            chdir("/")                  || die "can't chdir to /: $!";
            open(STDIN,  "< /dev/null") || die "can't read /dev/null: $!";
            open(STDOUT, "> /dev/null") || die "can't write to /dev/null: $!";
            defined(my $pid = fork())   || die "can't fork: $!";
            exit if $pid;               # non-zero now means I am the parent
            (setsid() != -1)            || die "Can't start a new session: $!";
            open(STDERR, ">&STDOUT")    || die "can't dup stdout: $!";

       The fork() has to come before the setsid() to ensure you aren't a
       process group leader; the setsid() will fail if you are.  If your
       system doesn't have the setsid() function, open /dev/tty and use the
       "TIOCNOTTY" ioctl() on it instead.  See tty(4) for details.

       Non-Unix users should check their "Your_OS::Process" module for other
       possible solutions.

   Safe Pipe Opens
       Another interesting approach to IPC is making your single program go
       multiprocess and communicate between--or even amongst--yourselves.  The
       open() function will accept a file argument of either "-|" or "|-" to
       do a very interesting thing: it forks a child connected to the
       filehandle you've opened.  The child is running the same program as the
       parent.  This is useful for safely opening a file when running under an
       assumed UID or GID, for example.  If you open a pipe to minus, you can
       write to the filehandle you opened and your kid will find it in his
       STDIN.  If you open a pipe from minus, you can read from the filehandle
       you opened whatever your kid writes to his STDOUT.

           use English;
           my $PRECIOUS = "/path/to/some/safe/file";
           my $sleep_count;
           my $pid;

           do {
               $pid = open(KID_TO_WRITE, "|-");
               unless (defined $pid) {
                   warn "cannot fork: $!";
                   die "bailing out" if $sleep_count++ > 6;
                   sleep 10;
           } until defined $pid;

           if ($pid) {                 # I am the parent
               print KID_TO_WRITE @some_data;
               close(KID_TO_WRITE)     || warn "kid exited $?";
           } else {                    # I am the child
               # drop permissions in setuid and/or setgid programs:
               ($EUID, $EGID) = ($UID, $GID);
               open (OUTFILE, "> $PRECIOUS")
                                       || die "can't open $PRECIOUS: $!";
               while (<STDIN>) {
                   print OUTFILE;      # child's STDIN is parent's KID_TO_WRITE
               close(OUTFILE)          || die "can't close $PRECIOUS: $!";
               exit(0);                # don't forget this!!

       Another common use for this construct is when you need to execute
       something without the shell's interference.  With system(), it's
       straightforward, but you can't use a pipe open or backticks safely.
       That's because there's no way to stop the shell from getting its hands
       on your arguments.   Instead, use lower-level control to call exec()

       Here's a safe backtick or pipe open for read:

           my $pid = open(KID_TO_READ, "-|");
           defined($pid)           || die "can't fork: $!";

           if ($pid) {             # parent
               while (<KID_TO_READ>) {
                                   # do something interesting
               close(KID_TO_READ)  || warn "kid exited $?";

           } else {                # child
               ($EUID, $EGID) = ($UID, $GID); # suid only
               exec($program, @options, @args)
                                   || die "can't exec program: $!";
               # NOTREACHED


       And here's a safe pipe open for writing:

           my $pid = open(KID_TO_WRITE, "|-");
           defined($pid)           || die "can't fork: $!";

           $SIG{PIPE} = sub { die "whoops, $program pipe broke" };

           if ($pid) {             # parent
               print KID_TO_WRITE @data;
               close(KID_TO_WRITE) || warn "kid exited $?";

           } else {                # child
               ($EUID, $EGID) = ($UID, $GID);
               exec($program, @options, @args)
                                   || die "can't exec program: $!";
               # NOTREACHED

       It is very easy to dead-lock a process using this form of open(), or
       indeed with any use of pipe() with multiple subprocesses.  The example
       above is "safe" because it is simple and calls exec().  See "Avoiding
       Pipe Deadlocks" for general safety principles, but there are extra
       gotchas with Safe Pipe Opens.

       In particular, if you opened the pipe using "open FH, "|-"", then you
       cannot simply use close() in the parent process to close an unwanted
       writer.  Consider this code:

           my $pid = open(WRITER, "|-");        # fork open a kid
           defined($pid)               || die "first fork failed: $!";
           if ($pid) {
               if (my $sub_pid = fork()) {
                   defined($sub_pid)   || die "second fork failed: $!";
                   close(WRITER)       || die "couldn't close WRITER: $!";
                   # now do something else...
               else {
                   # first write to WRITER
                   # ...
                   # then when finished
                   close(WRITER)       || die "couldn't close WRITER: $!";
           else {
               # first do something with STDIN, then

       In the example above, the true parent does not want to write to the
       WRITER filehandle, so it closes it.  However, because WRITER was opened
       using "open FH, "|-"", it has a special behavior: closing it calls
       waitpid() (see "waitpid" in perlfunc), which waits for the subprocess
       to exit.  If the child process ends up waiting for something happening
       in the section marked "do something else", you have deadlock.

       This can also be a problem with intermediate subprocesses in more
       complicated code, which will call waitpid() on all open filehandles
       during global destruction--in no predictable order.

       To solve this, you must manually use pipe(), fork(), and the form of
       open() which sets one file descriptor to another, as shown below:

           pipe(READER, WRITER)        || die "pipe failed: $!";
           $pid = fork();
           defined($pid)               || die "first fork failed: $!";
           if ($pid) {
               close READER;
               if (my $sub_pid = fork()) {
                   defined($sub_pid)   || die "first fork failed: $!";
                   close(WRITER)       || die "can't close WRITER: $!";
               else {
                   # write to WRITER...
                   # ...
                   # then  when finished
                   close(WRITER)       || die "can't close WRITER: $!";
               # write to WRITER...
           else {
               open(STDIN, "<&READER") || die "can't reopen STDIN: $!";
               close(WRITER)           || die "can't close WRITER: $!";
               # do something...

       Since Perl 5.8.0, you can also use the list form of "open" for pipes.
       This is preferred when you wish to avoid having the shell interpret
       metacharacters that may be in your command string.

       So for example, instead of using:

           open(PS_PIPE, "ps aux|")    || die "can't open ps pipe: $!";

       One would use either of these:

           open(PS_PIPE, "-|", "ps", "aux")
                                       || die "can't open ps pipe: $!";

           @ps_args = qw[ ps aux ];
           open(PS_PIPE, "-|", @ps_args)
                                       || die "can't open @ps_args|: $!";

       Because there are more than three arguments to open(), forks the ps(1)
       command without spawning a shell, and reads its standard output via the
       "PS_PIPE" filehandle.  The corresponding syntax to write to command
       pipes is to use "|-" in place of "-|".

       This was admittedly a rather silly example, because you're using string
       literals whose content is perfectly safe.  There is therefore no cause
       to resort to the harder-to-read, multi-argument form of pipe open().
       However, whenever you cannot be assured that the program arguments are
       free of shell metacharacters, the fancier form of open() should be
       used.  For example:

           @grep_args = ("egrep", "-i", $some_pattern, @many_files);
           open(GREP_PIPE, "-|", @grep_args)
                               || die "can't open @grep_args|: $!";

       Here the multi-argument form of pipe open() is preferred because the
       pattern and indeed even the filenames themselves might hold

       Be aware that these operations are full Unix forks, which means they
       may not be correctly implemented on all alien systems.

   Avoiding Pipe Deadlocks
       Whenever you have more than one subprocess, you must be careful that
       each closes whichever half of any pipes created for interprocess
       communication it is not using.  This is because any child process
       reading from the pipe and expecting an EOF will never receive it, and
       therefore never exit. A single process closing a pipe is not enough to
       close it; the last process with the pipe open must close it for it to
       read EOF.

       Certain built-in Unix features help prevent this most of the time.  For
       instance, filehandles have a "close on exec" flag, which is set en
       masse under control of the $^F variable.  This is so any filehandles
       you didn't explicitly route to the STDIN, STDOUT or STDERR of a child
       program will be automatically closed.

       Always explicitly and immediately call close() on the writable end of
       any pipe, unless that process is actually writing to it.  Even if you
       don't explicitly call close(), Perl will still close() all filehandles
       during global destruction.  As previously discussed, if those
       filehandles have been opened with Safe Pipe Open, this will result in
       calling waitpid(), which may again deadlock.

   Bidirectional Communication with Another Process
       While this works reasonably well for unidirectional communication, what
       about bidirectional communication?  The most obvious approach doesn't

           # THIS DOES NOT WORK!!
           open(PROG_FOR_READING_AND_WRITING, "| some program |")

       If you forget to "use warnings", you'll miss out entirely on the
       helpful diagnostic message:

           Can't do bidirectional pipe at -e line 1.

       If you really want to, you can use the standard open2() from the
       "IPC::Open2" module to catch both ends.  There's also an open3() in
       "IPC::Open3" for tridirectional I/O so you can also catch your child's
       STDERR, but doing so would then require an awkward select() loop and
       wouldn't allow you to use normal Perl input operations.

       If you look at its source, you'll see that open2() uses low-level
       primitives like the pipe() and exec() syscalls to create all the
       connections.  Although it might have been more efficient by using
       socketpair(), this would have been even less portable than it already
       is. The open2() and open3() functions are unlikely to work anywhere
       except on a Unix system, or at least one purporting POSIX compliance.

       Here's an example of using open2():

           use FileHandle;
           use IPC::Open2;
           $pid = open2(*Reader, *Writer, "cat -un");
           print Writer "stuff\n";
           $got = <Reader>;

       The problem with this is that buffering is really going to ruin your
       day.  Even though your "Writer" filehandle is auto-flushed so the
       process on the other end gets your data in a timely manner, you can't
       usually do anything to force that process to give its data to you in a
       similarly quick fashion.  In this special case, we could actually so,
       because we gave cat a -u flag to make it unbuffered.  But very few
       commands are designed to operate over pipes, so this seldom works
       unless you yourself wrote the program on the other end of the double-
       ended pipe.

       A solution to this is to use a library which uses pseudottys to make
       your program behave more reasonably.  This way you don't have to have
       control over the source code of the program you're using.  The "Expect"
       module from CPAN also addresses this kind of thing.  This module
       requires two other modules from CPAN, "IO::Pty" and "IO::Stty".  It
       sets up a pseudo terminal to interact with programs that insist on
       talking to the terminal device driver.  If your system is supported,
       this may be your best bet.

   Bidirectional Communication with Yourself
       If you want, you may make low-level pipe() and fork() syscalls to
       stitch this together by hand.  This example only talks to itself, but
       you could reopen the appropriate handles to STDIN and STDOUT and call
       other processes.  (The following example lacks proper error checking.)

        #!/usr/bin/perl -w
        # pipe1 - bidirectional communication using two pipe pairs
        #         designed for the socketpair-challenged
        use IO::Handle;             # thousands of lines just for autoflush :-(
        pipe(PARENT_RDR, CHILD_WTR);  # XXX: check failure?
        pipe(CHILD_RDR,  PARENT_WTR); # XXX: check failure?

        if ($pid = fork()) {
            close PARENT_RDR;
            close PARENT_WTR;
            print CHILD_WTR "Parent Pid $$ is sending this\n";
            chomp($line = <CHILD_RDR>);
            print "Parent Pid $$ just read this: '$line'\n";
            close CHILD_RDR; close CHILD_WTR;
            waitpid($pid, 0);
        } else {
            die "cannot fork: $!" unless defined $pid;
            close CHILD_RDR;
            close CHILD_WTR;
            chomp($line = <PARENT_RDR>);
            print "Child Pid $$ just read this: '$line'\n";
            print PARENT_WTR "Child Pid $$ is sending this\n";
            close PARENT_RDR;
            close PARENT_WTR;

       But you don't actually have to make two pipe calls.  If you have the
       socketpair() system call, it will do this all for you.

        #!/usr/bin/perl -w
        # pipe2 - bidirectional communication using socketpair
        #   "the best ones always go both ways"

        use Socket;
        use IO::Handle;  # thousands of lines just for autoflush :-(

        # We say AF_UNIX because although *_LOCAL is the
        # POSIX 1003.1g form of the constant, many machines
        # still don't have it.
                                    ||  die "socketpair: $!";


        if ($pid = fork()) {
            close PARENT;
            print CHILD "Parent Pid $$ is sending this\n";
            chomp($line = <CHILD>);
            print "Parent Pid $$ just read this: '$line'\n";
            close CHILD;
            waitpid($pid, 0);
        } else {
            die "cannot fork: $!" unless defined $pid;
            close CHILD;
            chomp($line = <PARENT>);
            print "Child Pid $$ just read this: '$line'\n";
            print PARENT "Child Pid $$ is sending this\n";
            close PARENT;

Sockets: Client/Server Communication
       While not entirely limited to Unix-derived operating systems (e.g.,
       WinSock on PCs provides socket support, as do some VMS libraries), you
       might not have sockets on your system, in which case this section
       probably isn't going to do you much good.  With sockets, you can do
       both virtual circuits like TCP streams and datagrams like UDP packets.
       You may be able to do even more depending on your system.

       The Perl functions for dealing with sockets have the same names as the
       corresponding system calls in C, but their arguments tend to differ for
       two reasons.  First, Perl filehandles work differently than C file
       descriptors.  Second, Perl already knows the length of its strings, so
       you don't need to pass that information.

       One of the major problems with ancient, antemillennial socket code in
       Perl was that it used hard-coded values for some of the constants,
       which severely hurt portability.  If you ever see code that does
       anything like explicitly setting "$AF_INET = 2", you know you're in for
       big trouble.  An immeasurably superior approach is to use the "Socket"
       module, which more reliably grants access to the various constants and
       functions you'll need.

       If you're not writing a server/client for an existing protocol like
       NNTP or SMTP, you should give some thought to how your server will know
       when the client has finished talking, and vice-versa.  Most protocols
       are based on one-line messages and responses (so one party knows the
       other has finished when a "\n" is received) or multi-line messages and
       responses that end with a period on an empty line ("\n.\n" terminates a

   Internet Line Terminators
       The Internet line terminator is "\015\012".  Under ASCII variants of
       Unix, that could usually be written as "\r\n", but under other systems,
       "\r\n" might at times be "\015\015\012", "\012\012\015", or something
       completely different.  The standards specify writing "\015\012" to be
       conformant (be strict in what you provide), but they also recommend
       accepting a lone "\012" on input (be lenient in what you require).  We
       haven't always been very good about that in the code in this manpage,
       but unless you're on a Mac from way back in its pre-Unix dark ages,
       you'll probably be ok.

   Internet TCP Clients and Servers
       Use Internet-domain sockets when you want to do client-server
       communication that might extend to machines outside of your own system.

       Here's a sample TCP client using Internet-domain sockets:

           #!/usr/bin/perl -w
           use strict;
           use Socket;
           my ($remote, $port, $iaddr, $paddr, $proto, $line);

           $remote  = shift || "localhost";
           $port    = shift || 2345;  # random port
           if ($port =~ /\D/) { $port = getservbyname($port, "tcp") }
           die "No port" unless $port;
           $iaddr   = inet_aton($remote)       || die "no host: $remote";
           $paddr   = sockaddr_in($port, $iaddr);

           $proto   = getprotobyname("tcp");
           socket(SOCK, PF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, $proto)  || die "socket: $!";
           connect(SOCK, $paddr)               || die "connect: $!";
           while ($line = <SOCK>) {
               print $line;

           close (SOCK)                        || die "close: $!";

       And here's a corresponding server to go along with it.  We'll leave the
       address as "INADDR_ANY" so that the kernel can choose the appropriate
       interface on multihomed hosts.  If you want sit on a particular
       interface (like the external side of a gateway or firewall machine),
       fill this in with your real address instead.

        #!/usr/bin/perl -Tw
        use strict;
        BEGIN { $ENV{PATH} = "/usr/bin:/bin" }
        use Socket;
        use Carp;
        my $EOL = "\015\012";

        sub logmsg { print "$0 $$: @_ at ", scalar localtime(), "\n" }

        my $port  = shift || 2345;
        die "invalid port" unless $port =~ /^ \d+ $/x;

        my $proto = getprotobyname("tcp");

        socket(Server, PF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, $proto)   || die "socket: $!";
        setsockopt(Server, SOL_SOCKET, SO_REUSEADDR, pack("l", 1))
                                                       || die "setsockopt: $!";
        bind(Server, sockaddr_in($port, INADDR_ANY))   || die "bind: $!";
        listen(Server, SOMAXCONN)                      || die "listen: $!";

        logmsg "server started on port $port";

        my $paddr;

        for ( ; $paddr = accept(Client, Server); close Client) {
            my($port, $iaddr) = sockaddr_in($paddr);
            my $name = gethostbyaddr($iaddr, AF_INET);

            logmsg "connection from $name [",
                    inet_ntoa($iaddr), "]
                    at port $port";

            print Client "Hello there, $name, it's now ",
                            scalar localtime(), $EOL;

       And here's a multitasking version.  It's multitasked in that like most
       typical servers, it spawns (fork()s) a slave server to handle the
       client request so that the master server can quickly go back to service
       a new client.

        #!/usr/bin/perl -Tw
        use strict;
        BEGIN { $ENV{PATH} = "/usr/bin:/bin" }
        use Socket;
        use Carp;
        my $EOL = "\015\012";

        sub spawn;  # forward declaration
        sub logmsg { print "$0 $$: @_ at ", scalar localtime(), "\n" }

        my $port  = shift || 2345;
        die "invalid port" unless $port =~ /^ \d+ $/x;

        my $proto = getprotobyname("tcp");

        socket(Server, PF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, $proto)   || die "socket: $!";
        setsockopt(Server, SOL_SOCKET, SO_REUSEADDR, pack("l", 1))
                                                       || die "setsockopt: $!";
        bind(Server, sockaddr_in($port, INADDR_ANY))   || die "bind: $!";
        listen(Server, SOMAXCONN)                      || die "listen: $!";

        logmsg "server started on port $port";

        my $waitedpid = 0;
        my $paddr;

        use POSIX ":sys_wait_h";
        use Errno;

        sub REAPER {
            local $!;   # don't let waitpid() overwrite current error
            while ((my $pid = waitpid(-1, WNOHANG)) > 0 && WIFEXITED($?)) {
                logmsg "reaped $waitedpid" . ($? ? " with exit $?" : "");
            $SIG{CHLD} = \&REAPER;  # loathe SysV

        $SIG{CHLD} = \&REAPER;

        while (1) {
            $paddr = accept(Client, Server) || do {
                # try again if accept() returned because got a signal
                next if $!{EINTR};
                die "accept: $!";
            my ($port, $iaddr) = sockaddr_in($paddr);
            my $name = gethostbyaddr($iaddr, AF_INET);

            logmsg "connection from $name [",
                   "] at port $port";

            spawn sub {
                $| = 1;
                print "Hello there, $name, it's now ",
                      scalar localtime(),
                exec "/usr/games/fortune"       # XXX: "wrong" line terminators
                    or confess "can't exec fortune: $!";
            close Client;

        sub spawn {
            my $coderef = shift;

            unless (@_ == 0 && $coderef && ref($coderef) eq "CODE") {
                confess "usage: spawn CODEREF";

            my $pid;
            unless (defined($pid = fork())) {
                logmsg "cannot fork: $!";
            elsif ($pid) {
                logmsg "begat $pid";
                return; # I'm the parent
            # else I'm the child -- go spawn

            open(STDIN,  "<&Client")    || die "can't dup client to stdin";
            open(STDOUT, ">&Client")    || die "can't dup client to stdout";
            ## open(STDERR, ">&STDOUT") || die "can't dup stdout to stderr";

       This server takes the trouble to clone off a child version via fork()
       for each incoming request.  That way it can handle many requests at
       once, which you might not always want.  Even if you don't fork(), the
       listen() will allow that many pending connections.  Forking servers
       have to be particularly careful about cleaning up their dead children
       (called "zombies" in Unix parlance), because otherwise you'll quickly
       fill up your process table.  The REAPER subroutine is used here to call
       waitpid() for any child processes that have finished, thereby ensuring
       that they terminate cleanly and don't join the ranks of the living

       Within the while loop we call accept() and check to see if it returns a
       false value.  This would normally indicate a system error needs to be
       reported.  However, the introduction of safe signals (see "Deferred
       Signals (Safe Signals)" above) in Perl 5.8.0 means that accept() might
       also be interrupted when the process receives a signal.  This typically
       happens when one of the forked subprocesses exits and notifies the
       parent process with a CHLD signal.

       If accept() is interrupted by a signal, $! will be set to EINTR.  If
       this happens, we can safely continue to the next iteration of the loop
       and another call to accept().  It is important that your signal
       handling code not modify the value of $!, or else this test will likely
       fail.  In the REAPER subroutine we create a local version of $! before
       calling waitpid().  When waitpid() sets $! to ECHILD as it inevitably
       does when it has no more children waiting, it updates the local copy
       and leaves the original unchanged.

       You should use the -T flag to enable taint checking (see perlsec) even
       if we aren't running setuid or setgid.  This is always a good idea for
       servers or any program run on behalf of someone else (like CGI
       scripts), because it lessens the chances that people from the outside
       will be able to compromise your system.

       Let's look at another TCP client.  This one connects to the TCP "time"
       service on a number of different machines and shows how far their
       clocks differ from the system on which it's being run:

           #!/usr/bin/perl  -w
           use strict;
           use Socket;

           my $SECS_OF_70_YEARS = 2208988800;
           sub ctime { scalar localtime(shift() || time()) }

           my $iaddr = gethostbyname("localhost");
           my $proto = getprotobyname("tcp");
           my $port = getservbyname("time", "tcp");
           my $paddr = sockaddr_in(0, $iaddr);

           $| = 1;
           printf "%-24s %8s %s\n", "localhost", 0, ctime();

           foreach $host (@ARGV) {
               printf "%-24s ", $host;
               my $hisiaddr = inet_aton($host)     || die "unknown host";
               my $hispaddr = sockaddr_in($port, $hisiaddr);
               socket(SOCKET, PF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, $proto)
                                                   || die "socket: $!";
               connect(SOCKET, $hispaddr)          || die "connect: $!";
               my $rtime = pack("C4", ());
               read(SOCKET, $rtime, 4);
               my $histime = unpack("N", $rtime) - $SECS_OF_70_YEARS;
               printf "%8d %s\n", $histime - time(), ctime($histime);

   Unix-Domain TCP Clients and Servers
       That's fine for Internet-domain clients and servers, but what about
       local communications?  While you can use the same setup, sometimes you
       don't want to.  Unix-domain sockets are local to the current host, and
       are often used internally to implement pipes.  Unlike Internet domain
       sockets, Unix domain sockets can show up in the file system with an
       ls(1) listing.

           % ls -l /dev/log
           srw-rw-rw-  1 root            0 Oct 31 07:23 /dev/log

       You can test for these with Perl's -S file test:

           unless (-S "/dev/log") {
               die "something's wicked with the log system";

       Here's a sample Unix-domain client:

           #!/usr/bin/perl -w
           use Socket;
           use strict;
           my ($rendezvous, $line);

           $rendezvous = shift || "catsock";
           socket(SOCK, PF_UNIX, SOCK_STREAM, 0)     || die "socket: $!";
           connect(SOCK, sockaddr_un($rendezvous))   || die "connect: $!";
           while (defined($line = <SOCK>)) {
               print $line;

       And here's a corresponding server.  You don't have to worry about silly
       network terminators here because Unix domain sockets are guaranteed to
       be on the localhost, and thus everything works right.

           #!/usr/bin/perl -Tw
           use strict;
           use Socket;
           use Carp;

           BEGIN { $ENV{PATH} = "/usr/bin:/bin" }
           sub spawn;  # forward declaration
           sub logmsg { print "$0 $$: @_ at ", scalar localtime(), "\n" }

           my $NAME = "catsock";
           my $uaddr = sockaddr_un($NAME);
           my $proto = getprotobyname("tcp");

           socket(Server, PF_UNIX, SOCK_STREAM, 0) || die "socket: $!";
           bind  (Server, $uaddr)                  || die "bind: $!";
           listen(Server, SOMAXCONN)               || die "listen: $!";

           logmsg "server started on $NAME";

           my $waitedpid;

           use POSIX ":sys_wait_h";
           sub REAPER {
               my $child;
               while (($waitedpid = waitpid(-1, WNOHANG)) > 0) {
                   logmsg "reaped $waitedpid" . ($? ? " with exit $?" : "");
               $SIG{CHLD} = \&REAPER;  # loathe SysV

           $SIG{CHLD} = \&REAPER;

           for ( $waitedpid = 0;
                 accept(Client, Server) || $waitedpid;
                 $waitedpid = 0, close Client)
               next if $waitedpid;
               logmsg "connection on $NAME";
               spawn sub {
                   print "Hello there, it's now ", scalar localtime(), "\n";
                   exec("/usr/games/fortune")  || die "can't exec fortune: $!";

           sub spawn {
               my $coderef = shift();

               unless (@_ == 0 && $coderef && ref($coderef) eq "CODE") {
                   confess "usage: spawn CODEREF";

               my $pid;
               unless (defined($pid = fork())) {
                   logmsg "cannot fork: $!";
               elsif ($pid) {
                   logmsg "begat $pid";
                   return; # I'm the parent
               else {
                   # I'm the child -- go spawn

               open(STDIN,  "<&Client")    || die "can't dup client to stdin";
               open(STDOUT, ">&Client")    || die "can't dup client to stdout";
               ## open(STDERR, ">&STDOUT") || die "can't dup stdout to stderr";

       As you see, it's remarkably similar to the Internet domain TCP server,
       so much so, in fact, that we've omitted several duplicate
       functions--spawn(), logmsg(), ctime(), and REAPER()--which are the same
       as in the other server.

       So why would you ever want to use a Unix domain socket instead of a
       simpler named pipe?  Because a named pipe doesn't give you sessions.
       You can't tell one process's data from another's.  With socket
       programming, you get a separate session for each client; that's why
       accept() takes two arguments.

       For example, let's say that you have a long-running database server
       daemon that you want folks to be able to access from the Web, but only
       if they go through a CGI interface.  You'd have a small, simple CGI
       program that does whatever checks and logging you feel like, and then
       acts as a Unix-domain client and connects to your private server.

TCP Clients with IO::Socket
       For those preferring a higher-level interface to socket programming,
       the IO::Socket module provides an object-oriented approach.  If for
       some reason you lack this module, you can just fetch IO::Socket from
       CPAN, where you'll also find modules providing easy interfaces to the
       following systems: DNS, FTP, Ident (RFC 931), NIS and NISPlus, NNTP,
       Ping, POP3, SMTP, SNMP, SSLeay, Telnet, and Time--to name just a few.

   A Simple Client
       Here's a client that creates a TCP connection to the "daytime" service
       at port 13 of the host name "localhost" and prints out everything that
       the server there cares to provide.

           #!/usr/bin/perl -w
           use IO::Socket;
           $remote = IO::Socket::INET->new(
                               Proto    => "tcp",
                               PeerAddr => "localhost",
                               PeerPort => "daytime(13)",
                        || die "can't connect to daytime service on localhost";
           while (<$remote>) { print }

       When you run this program, you should get something back that looks
       like this:

           Wed May 14 08:40:46 MDT 1997

       Here are what those parameters to the new() constructor mean:

           This is which protocol to use.  In this case, the socket handle
           returned will be connected to a TCP socket, because we want a
           stream-oriented connection, that is, one that acts pretty much like
           a plain old file.  Not all sockets are this of this type.  For
           example, the UDP protocol can be used to make a datagram socket,
           used for message-passing.

           This is the name or Internet address of the remote host the server
           is running on.  We could have specified a longer name like
           "", or an address like "".  For
           demonstration purposes, we've used the special hostname
           "localhost", which should always mean the current machine you're
           running on.  The corresponding Internet address for localhost is
           "", if you'd rather use that.

           This is the service name or port number we'd like to connect to.
           We could have gotten away with using just "daytime" on systems with
           a well-configured system services file,[FOOTNOTE: The system
           services file is found in /etc/services under Unixy systems.] but
           here we've specified the port number (13) in parentheses.  Using
           just the number would have also worked, but numeric literals make
           careful programmers nervous.

       Notice how the return value from the "new" constructor is used as a
       filehandle in the "while" loop?  That's what's called an indirect
       filehandle, a scalar variable containing a filehandle.  You can use it
       the same way you would a normal filehandle.  For example, you can read
       one line from it this way:

           $line = <$handle>;

       all remaining lines from is this way:

           @lines = <$handle>;

       and send a line of data to it this way:

           print $handle "some data\n";

   A Webget Client
       Here's a simple client that takes a remote host to fetch a document
       from, and then a list of files to get from that host.  This is a more
       interesting client than the previous one because it first sends
       something to the server before fetching the server's response.

           #!/usr/bin/perl -w
           use IO::Socket;
           unless (@ARGV > 1) { die "usage: $0 host url ..." }
           $host = shift(@ARGV);
           $EOL = "\015\012";
           $BLANK = $EOL x 2;
           for my $document (@ARGV) {
               $remote = IO::Socket::INET->new( Proto     => "tcp",
                                                PeerAddr  => $host,
                                                PeerPort  => "http(80)",
                         )     || die "cannot connect to httpd on $host";
               print $remote "GET $document HTTP/1.0" . $BLANK;
               while ( <$remote> ) { print }
               close $remote;

       The web server handling the HTTP service is assumed to be at its
       standard port, number 80.  If the server you're trying to connect to is
       at a different port, like 1080 or 8080, you should specify it as the
       named-parameter pair, "PeerPort => 8080".  The "autoflush" method is
       used on the socket because otherwise the system would buffer up the
       output we sent it.  (If you're on a prehistoric Mac, you'll also need
       to change every "\n" in your code that sends data over the network to
       be a "\015\012" instead.)

       Connecting to the server is only the first part of the process: once
       you have the connection, you have to use the server's language.  Each
       server on the network has its own little command language that it
       expects as input.  The string that we send to the server starting with
       "GET" is in HTTP syntax.  In this case, we simply request each
       specified document.  Yes, we really are making a new connection for
       each document, even though it's the same host.  That's the way you
       always used to have to speak HTTP.  Recent versions of web browsers may
       request that the remote server leave the connection open a little
       while, but the server doesn't have to honor such a request.

       Here's an example of running that program, which we'll call webget:

           % webget /guanaco.html
           HTTP/1.1 404 File Not Found
           Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 18:02:32 GMT
           Server: Apache/1.2b6
           Connection: close
           Content-type: text/html

           <HEAD><TITLE>404 File Not Found</TITLE></HEAD>
           <BODY><H1>File Not Found</H1>
           The requested URL /guanaco.html was not found on this server.<P>

       Ok, so that's not very interesting, because it didn't find that
       particular document.  But a long response wouldn't have fit on this

       For a more featureful version of this program, you should look to the
       lwp-request program included with the LWP modules from CPAN.

   Interactive Client with IO::Socket
       Well, that's all fine if you want to send one command and get one
       answer, but what about setting up something fully interactive, somewhat
       like the way telnet works?  That way you can type a line, get the
       answer, type a line, get the answer, etc.

       This client is more complicated than the two we've done so far, but if
       you're on a system that supports the powerful "fork" call, the solution
       isn't that rough.  Once you've made the connection to whatever service
       you'd like to chat with, call "fork" to clone your process.  Each of
       these two identical process has a very simple job to do: the parent
       copies everything from the socket to standard output, while the child
       simultaneously copies everything from standard input to the socket.  To
       accomplish the same thing using just one process would be much harder,
       because it's easier to code two processes to do one thing than it is to
       code one process to do two things.  (This keep-it-simple principle a
       cornerstones of the Unix philosophy, and good software engineering as
       well, which is probably why it's spread to other systems.)

       Here's the code:

           #!/usr/bin/perl -w
           use strict;
           use IO::Socket;
           my ($host, $port, $kidpid, $handle, $line);

           unless (@ARGV == 2) { die "usage: $0 host port" }
           ($host, $port) = @ARGV;

           # create a tcp connection to the specified host and port
           $handle = IO::Socket::INET->new(Proto     => "tcp",
                                           PeerAddr  => $host,
                                           PeerPort  => $port)
                      || die "can't connect to port $port on $host: $!";

           $handle->autoflush(1);       # so output gets there right away
           print STDERR "[Connected to $host:$port]\n";

           # split the program into two processes, identical twins
           die "can't fork: $!" unless defined($kidpid = fork());

           # the if{} block runs only in the parent process
           if ($kidpid) {
               # copy the socket to standard output
               while (defined ($line = <$handle>)) {
                   print STDOUT $line;
               kill("TERM", $kidpid);   # send SIGTERM to child
           # the else{} block runs only in the child process
           else {
               # copy standard input to the socket
               while (defined ($line = <STDIN>)) {
                   print $handle $line;
               exit(0);                # just in case

       The "kill" function in the parent's "if" block is there to send a
       signal to our child process, currently running in the "else" block, as
       soon as the remote server has closed its end of the connection.

       If the remote server sends data a byte at time, and you need that data
       immediately without waiting for a newline (which might not happen), you
       may wish to replace the "while" loop in the parent with the following:

           my $byte;
           while (sysread($handle, $byte, 1) == 1) {
               print STDOUT $byte;

       Making a system call for each byte you want to read is not very
       efficient (to put it mildly) but is the simplest to explain and works
       reasonably well.

TCP Servers with IO::Socket
       As always, setting up a server is little bit more involved than running
       a client.  The model is that the server creates a special kind of
       socket that does nothing but listen on a particular port for incoming
       connections.  It does this by calling the "IO::Socket::INET->new()"
       method with slightly different arguments than the client did.

           This is which protocol to use.  Like our clients, we'll still
           specify "tcp" here.

           We specify a local port in the "LocalPort" argument, which we
           didn't do for the client.  This is service name or port number for
           which you want to be the server. (Under Unix, ports under 1024 are
           restricted to the superuser.)  In our sample, we'll use port 9000,
           but you can use any port that's not currently in use on your
           system.  If you try to use one already in used, you'll get an
           "Address already in use" message.  Under Unix, the "netstat -a"
           command will show which services current have servers.

           The "Listen" parameter is set to the maximum number of pending
           connections we can accept until we turn away incoming clients.
           Think of it as a call-waiting queue for your telephone.  The low-
           level Socket module has a special symbol for the system maximum,
           which is SOMAXCONN.

           The "Reuse" parameter is needed so that we restart our server
           manually without waiting a few minutes to allow system buffers to
           clear out.

       Once the generic server socket has been created using the parameters
       listed above, the server then waits for a new client to connect to it.
       The server blocks in the "accept" method, which eventually accepts a
       bidirectional connection from the remote client.  (Make sure to
       autoflush this handle to circumvent buffering.)

       To add to user-friendliness, our server prompts the user for commands.
       Most servers don't do this.  Because of the prompt without a newline,
       you'll have to use the "sysread" variant of the interactive client

       This server accepts one of five different commands, sending output back
       to the client.  Unlike most network servers, this one handles only one
       incoming client at a time.  Multitasking servers are covered in Chapter
       16 of the Camel.

       Here's the code.  We'll

        #!/usr/bin/perl -w
        use IO::Socket;
        use Net::hostent;      # for OOish version of gethostbyaddr

        $PORT = 9000;          # pick something not in use

        $server = IO::Socket::INET->new( Proto     => "tcp",
                                         LocalPort => $PORT,
                                         Listen    => SOMAXCONN,
                                         Reuse     => 1);

        die "can't setup server" unless $server;
        print "[Server $0 accepting clients]\n";

        while ($client = $server->accept()) {
          print $client "Welcome to $0; type help for command list.\n";
          $hostinfo = gethostbyaddr($client->peeraddr);
          printf "[Connect from %s]\n",
                 $hostinfo ? $hostinfo->name : $client->peerhost;
          print $client "Command? ";
          while ( <$client>) {
            next unless /\S/;     # blank line
            if    (/quit|exit/i)  { last                                      }
            elsif (/date|time/i)  { printf $client "%s\n", scalar localtime() }
            elsif (/who/i )       { print  $client `who 2>&1`                 }
            elsif (/cookie/i )    { print  $client `/usr/games/fortune 2>&1`  }
            elsif (/motd/i )      { print  $client `cat /etc/motd 2>&1`       }
            else {
              print $client "Commands: quit date who cookie motd\n";
          } continue {
             print $client "Command? ";
          close $client;

UDP: Message Passing
       Another kind of client-server setup is one that uses not connections,
       but messages.  UDP communications involve much lower overhead but also
       provide less reliability, as there are no promises that messages will
       arrive at all, let alone in order and unmangled.  Still, UDP offers
       some advantages over TCP, including being able to "broadcast" or
       "multicast" to a whole bunch of destination hosts at once (usually on
       your local subnet).  If you find yourself overly concerned about
       reliability and start building checks into your message system, then
       you probably should use just TCP to start with.

       UDP datagrams are not a bytestream and should not be treated as such.
       This makes using I/O mechanisms with internal buffering like stdio
       (i.e.  print() and friends) especially cumbersome. Use syswrite(), or
       better send(), like in the example below.

       Here's a UDP program similar to the sample Internet TCP client given
       earlier.  However, instead of checking one host at a time, the UDP
       version will check many of them asynchronously by simulating a
       multicast and then using select() to do a timed-out wait for I/O.  To
       do something similar with TCP, you'd have to use a different socket
       handle for each host.

        #!/usr/bin/perl -w
        use strict;
        use Socket;
        use Sys::Hostname;

        my ( $count, $hisiaddr, $hispaddr, $histime,
             $host, $iaddr, $paddr, $port, $proto,
             $rin, $rout, $rtime, $SECS_OF_70_YEARS);

        $SECS_OF_70_YEARS = 2_208_988_800;

        $iaddr = gethostbyname(hostname());
        $proto = getprotobyname("udp");
        $port = getservbyname("time", "udp");
        $paddr = sockaddr_in(0, $iaddr); # 0 means let kernel pick

        socket(SOCKET, PF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, $proto)   || die "socket: $!";
        bind(SOCKET, $paddr)                          || die "bind: $!";

        $| = 1;
        printf "%-12s %8s %s\n",  "localhost", 0, scalar localtime();
        $count = 0;
        for $host (@ARGV) {
            $hisiaddr = inet_aton($host)              || die "unknown host";
            $hispaddr = sockaddr_in($port, $hisiaddr);
            defined(send(SOCKET, 0, 0, $hispaddr))    || die "send $host: $!";

        $rin = "";
        vec($rin, fileno(SOCKET), 1) = 1;

        # timeout after 10.0 seconds
        while ($count && select($rout = $rin, undef, undef, 10.0)) {
            $rtime = "";
            $hispaddr = recv(SOCKET, $rtime, 4, 0)    || die "recv: $!";
            ($port, $hisiaddr) = sockaddr_in($hispaddr);
            $host = gethostbyaddr($hisiaddr, AF_INET);
            $histime = unpack("N", $rtime) - $SECS_OF_70_YEARS;
            printf "%-12s ", $host;
            printf "%8d %s\n", $histime - time(), scalar localtime($histime);

       This example does not include any retries and may consequently fail to
       contact a reachable host. The most prominent reason for this is
       congestion of the queues on the sending host if the number of hosts to
       contact is sufficiently large.

       While System V IPC isn't so widely used as sockets, it still has some
       interesting uses.  However, you cannot use SysV IPC or Berkeley mmap()
       to have a variable shared amongst several processes.  That's because
       Perl would reallocate your string when you weren't wanting it to.  You
       might look into the "IPC::Shareable" or "threads::shared" modules for

       Here's a small example showing shared memory usage.


           $size = 2000;
           $id = shmget(IPC_PRIVATE, $size, S_IRUSR | S_IWUSR);
           defined($id)                    || die "shmget: $!";
           print "shm key $id\n";

           $message = "Message #1";
           shmwrite($id, $message, 0, 60)  || die "shmwrite: $!";
           print "wrote: '$message'\n";
           shmread($id, $buff, 0, 60)      || die "shmread: $!";
           print "read : '$buff'\n";

           # the buffer of shmread is zero-character end-padded.
           substr($buff, index($buff, "\0")) = "";
           print "un" unless $buff eq $message;
           print "swell\n";

           print "deleting shm $id\n";
           shmctl($id, IPC_RMID, 0)        || die "shmctl: $!";

       Here's an example of a semaphore:

           use IPC::SysV qw(IPC_CREAT);

           $IPC_KEY = 1234;
           $id = semget($IPC_KEY, 10, 0666 | IPC_CREAT);
           defined($id)                    || die "semget: $!";
           print "sem id $id\n";

       Put this code in a separate file to be run in more than one process.
       Call the file take:

           # create a semaphore

           $IPC_KEY = 1234;
           $id = semget($IPC_KEY, 0, 0);
           defined($id)                    || die "semget: $!";

           $semnum  = 0;
           $semflag = 0;

           # "take" semaphore
           # wait for semaphore to be zero
           $semop = 0;
           $opstring1 = pack("s!s!s!", $semnum, $semop, $semflag);

           # Increment the semaphore count
           $semop = 1;
           $opstring2 = pack("s!s!s!", $semnum, $semop,  $semflag);
           $opstring  = $opstring1 . $opstring2;

           semop($id, $opstring)   || die "semop: $!";

       Put this code in a separate file to be run in more than one process.
       Call this file give:

           # "give" the semaphore
           # run this in the original process and you will see
           # that the second process continues

           $IPC_KEY = 1234;
           $id = semget($IPC_KEY, 0, 0);
           die unless defined($id);

           $semnum  = 0;
           $semflag = 0;

           # Decrement the semaphore count
           $semop = -1;
           $opstring = pack("s!s!s!", $semnum, $semop, $semflag);

           semop($id, $opstring)   || die "semop: $!";

       The SysV IPC code above was written long ago, and it's definitely
       clunky looking.  For a more modern look, see the IPC::SysV module.

       A small example demonstrating SysV message queues:


           my $id = msgget(IPC_PRIVATE, IPC_CREAT | S_IRUSR | S_IWUSR);
           defined($id)                || die "msgget failed: $!";

           my $sent      = "message";
           my $type_sent = 1234;

           msgsnd($id, pack("l! a*", $type_sent, $sent), 0)
                                       || die "msgsnd failed: $!";

           msgrcv($id, my $rcvd_buf, 60, 0, 0)
                                       || die "msgrcv failed: $!";

           my($type_rcvd, $rcvd) = unpack("l! a*", $rcvd_buf);

           if ($rcvd eq $sent) {
               print "okay\n";
           } else {
               print "not okay\n";

           msgctl($id, IPC_RMID, 0)    || die "msgctl failed: $!\n";

       Most of these routines quietly but politely return "undef" when they
       fail instead of causing your program to die right then and there due to
       an uncaught exception.  (Actually, some of the new Socket conversion
       functions do croak() on bad arguments.)  It is therefore essential to
       check return values from these functions.  Always begin your socket
       programs this way for optimal success, and don't forget to add the -T
       taint-checking flag to the "#!" line for servers:

           #!/usr/bin/perl -Tw
           use strict;
           use sigtrap;
           use Socket;

       These routines all create system-specific portability problems.  As
       noted elsewhere, Perl is at the mercy of your C libraries for much of
       its system behavior.  It's probably safest to assume broken SysV
       semantics for signals and to stick with simple TCP and UDP socket
       operations; e.g., don't try to pass open file descriptors over a local
       UDP datagram socket if you want your code to stand a chance of being

       Tom Christiansen, with occasional vestiges of Larry Wall's original
       version and suggestions from the Perl Porters.

       There's a lot more to networking than this, but this should get you

       For intrepid programmers, the indispensable textbook is Unix Network
       Programming, 2nd Edition, Volume 1 by W. Richard Stevens (published by
       Prentice-Hall).  Most books on networking address the subject from the
       perspective of a C programmer; translation to Perl is left as an
       exercise for the reader.

       The IO::Socket(3) manpage describes the object library, and the
       Socket(3) manpage describes the low-level interface to sockets.
       Besides the obvious functions in perlfunc, you should also check out
       the modules file at your nearest CPAN site, especially
       <>.  See
       perlmodlib or best yet, the Perl FAQ for a description of what CPAN is
       and where to get it if the previous link doesn't work for you.

       Section 5 of CPAN's modules file is devoted to "Networking, Device
       Control (modems), and Interprocess Communication", and contains
       numerous unbundled modules numerous networking modules, Chat and Expect
       operations, CGI programming, DCE, FTP, IPC, NNTP, Proxy, Ptty, RPC,
       SNMP, SMTP, Telnet, Threads, and ToolTalk--to name just a few.

perl v5.30.0                      2023-11-23                        PERLIPC(1)
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