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       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 limit.

       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 handlers:

           $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


         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 Perl.

       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 operation.)

           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 signals.

       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 them.

       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

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 fifo.

           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 this:

           % 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() directly.

       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

       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 metacharacters.

       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 work:

           # 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

           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

        #!/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 message/response).

   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 dead.

       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)

           % 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-

           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

       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 page.

       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 above.

       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 portable.


       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 started.

       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.