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NAME

       popen, pclose - pipe stream to or from a process

SYNOPSIS

       #include <stdio.h>

       FILE *popen(const char *command, const char *type);

       int pclose(FILE *stream);

   Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

       popen(), pclose():
           _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 2
               || /* Glibc versions <= 2.19: */ _BSD_SOURCE || _SVID_SOURCE

DESCRIPTION

       The  popen() function opens a process by creating a pipe, forking, and invoking the shell.
       Since a pipe is by definition unidirectional, the type argument may specify  only  reading
       or writing, not both; the resulting stream is correspondingly read-only or write-only.

       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  type  argument is a pointer to a null-terminated string which must contain either the
       letter 'r' for reading or the letter 'w' for writing.  Since glibc 2.9, this argument  can
       additionally  include  the letter 'e', which causes the close-on-exec flag (FD_CLOEXEC) to
       be set on the underlying file descriptor; see the description of  the  O_CLOEXEC  flag  in
       open(2) for reasons why this may be useful.

       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(3).  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 the 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 block buffered by default.

       The pclose() function waits for the associated process to terminate and returns  the  exit
       status of the command as returned by wait4(2).

RETURN VALUE

       popen(): on success, returns a pointer to an open stream that can be used to read or write
       to the pipe; if the fork(2) or pipe(2) calls fail, or  if  the  function  cannot  allocate
       memory, NULL is returned.

       pclose():  on  success,  returns  the  exit  status of the command; if wait4(2) returns an
       error, or some other error is detected, -1 is returned.

       Both functions set errno to an appropriate value in the case of an error.

ERRORS

       The popen() function does not set errno if memory allocation  fails.   If  the  underlying
       fork(2)  or  pipe(2)  fails, errno is set appropriately.  If the type argument is invalid,
       and this condition is detected, errno is set to EINVAL.

       If pclose() cannot obtain the child status, errno is set to ECHILD.

ATTRIBUTES

       For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see attributes(7).

       ┌──────────────────┬───────────────┬─────────┐
       │InterfaceAttributeValue   │
       ├──────────────────┼───────────────┼─────────┤
       │popen(), pclose() │ Thread safety │ MT-Safe │
       └──────────────────┴───────────────┴─────────┘

CONFORMING TO

       POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008.

       The 'e' value for type is a Linux extension.

NOTES

       Note: carefully read Caveats in 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.

SEE ALSO

       sh(1), fork(2), pipe(2), wait4(2), fclose(3), fflush(3), fopen(3), stdio(3), system(3)

COLOPHON

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       project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of  this  page,  can  be
       found at https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.