I am experimenting with named pipes in Ubuntu and have no prior experience with them. I did the following:

mkfifo pipe
cat pipe

This enters a list of all files in my folder into pipe and displays them. I am trying to read the pipe 2 lines at a time. So, I want a command when executed once, will give the names of first and second files in the folder. If the command is executed again, I want third and fourth filenames. Is there any way to do it?

I tried head -2 pipe. It displayed first two filenames. But when it was executed again, it hanged. What would be the right direction to proceed?

  • 1
    You may want to read line by line with the shell built-in read. – AlexP Oct 22 '19 at 21:37

You want to keep the fifo open on the reading side. One way is to let bash keep an open file descriptor to it.

 mkfifo pipe
 ls > pipe &
 exec 8< pipe
   read -ru 8 fn1
   read -ru 8 fn2
   echo "$fn1" "$fn2"
 r2 # print out first 2 files
 sleep 1 # do something
 r2 # print out next 2 files.
| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you so much. That works. – skr_robo Oct 23 '19 at 14:02

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