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Interprocess Communication and Synchronization

A running Linux system consists of numerous processes, many of which operate independently of each other. Some processes, however, cooperate to achieve their intended purposes, and these processes need methods of communicating with one another and synchronizing their actions. One way for processes to communicate is by reading and writing information in disk files. However, for many applications, this is too slow and inflexible.

Therefore, Linux, like all modern UNIX implementations, provides a rich set of mechanisms for interprocess communication (IPC), including the following:

The wide variety of IPC mechanisms on UNIX systems, with sometimes overlapping functionality, is in part due to their evolution under different variants of the UNIX system and the requirements of various standards. For example, FIFOs and UNIX domain sockets essentially perform the same function of allowing unrelated processes on the same system to exchange data. Both exist in modern UNIX systems because FIFOs came from System V, while sockets came from BSD.


Published on Wed 08 April 2009 by Larry Epson in Linux with tag(s): linux