named pipe and Linux

akineko akineko at
Wed Apr 8 00:47:17 CEST 2009

Hello Cameron Simpson,

Thank you for your reply.
I now think the way I did (using fstat()) was a very bad idea (as you
pointed out).
I haven't decided how to fix this yet.
I also considered attaching the message length to the head of the
It will work, too.
I need to a bit more experiment.

Thank you for providing me directions to solve this problem.

Best regards,
Aki Niimura

On Apr 7, 3:26 pm, Cameron Simpson <c... at> wrote:
> On 07Apr2009 10:08, akineko <akin... at> wrote:
> | I'm trying to use named pipes to fuse a Python program and a C
> | program.
> | One side creates pipes using os.mkfifo() and both sides use the same
> | named pipes (one side reads, another side writes). The read side uses
> | to wait for incoming messages and read the message
> | when says it is ready.
> | The length of the message is unknown to the read side.
> That's a serious flaw in the message protocol.
> | I cannot use because it will block waiting for an EOF.
> | I cannot use file.readline() because how many lines have arrived is
> | unknown.
> | So, I needed to use with the exact number of characters to
> | read.
> No!
> You should use with the maximum size of a message.
> It _should_ return with the number of bytes in the message, provided the
> C program writes messages with a single OS-level write() call.
> Forget all the fstat() stuff - it's racy.
> Personally, I'd use a thread to just do continuous blocking of
> the pipe, and putting the resulting messages on a Queue for collection
> by your main program. If you're the only consumer of a Queue it's safe
> to poll it for emptiness or not, or to use a no-wait get().
> All the above is untested, but absent a size in the protocol or other
> ways of parsing message boundaries in data stream, you can only rely on
> the C program writing messages with a single write() and collect using a
> large, which should return with what is there.
> Cheers,
> --
> Cameron Simpson <c... at> DoD#743
> Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of
> being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory
> of being alone. - Paul Johannes Tillich

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