What Does Pipe Mean?

A pipe is a method used to pass information from one program process to another. Unlike other types of interprocess communication, a pipe only offers one-way communication by passing a parameter or output from one process to another. The information that is passed through the pipe is held by the system until it can be read by the receiving process.


Pipes are primarily used in programming on Unix systems.

Techopedia Explains Pipe

The benefit of using a pipe in Unix or Linux is that it provides for more complex processing. In a Unix shell script, for example, a pipe is specified by a vertical bar (|) in the command line. The result of the first command sequence is used as the input for the second command sequence. Two pipes can be used to enable two-way communication.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…