Issues with FIFO between a C process and a JAVA application Code Answer

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I have 2 applications, one written in C and the other in JAVA. Lets call these applications ‘C’ and ‘JAVA’.

  1. C Creates a named pipe via mkfifo (have also tried mknod – no difference to the outcome)
  2. C forks off with the child process invoking a system() call to fire-up the JAVA application, passing to it, the name of the FIFO file. IE: system(“name-of-java-app ‘name-of-fifo-file'”)
  3. C parent opens the FIFO for write only

JAVA opens the FIFO for read.

  1. C sends a ‘handshake’ message to the FIFO via write().
  2. JAVA receives ‘handshake’
  3. C then tries to send subsequent messages to JAVA, via the FIFO.

Here is where it get weird. Unless C closes (not removes) the FIFO FD or if the parent process terminates, JAVA will not read from the FIFO. If C sends ‘handshake’ then closes, all is well and as expected.
If C then re-opens the FIFO, sends a ‘message’ to JAVA then C closes, JAVA will read it.

From all of the examples of FIFO between C and JAVA that I have studied, they only include a single transfer of data. IE, open, write/read, close but not a continuing stream from source to destination, as I require.

Implementing an ‘open, read/write, close’ at each end works but surely, there must be a better/more efficient method – more congruent to the ethos of pipes. If so, I would greatly appreciate any input!



JAVA’s readline expects either ‘r’ or ‘n’ to terminate a string. Coming from a UNIX C environment (where one expects ‘’ as the ‘standard’ terminator) and being fairly new to JAVA, this was an interesting lesson to learn!

Tnx chrylis and fge for your input!

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