tee - duplicating pipe content


#define _GNU_SOURCE #include <fcntl.h>

ssize_t tee(int fd_in, int fd_out, size_t len ", unsigned int " flags );


tee() duplicates up to len bytes of data from the pipe referred to by the file descriptor fd_in to the pipe referred to by the file descriptor fd_out. It does not consume the data that is duplicated from fd_in; therefore, that data can be copied by a subsequent splice(2).

flags is a series of modifier flags, which share the name space with splice(2) and vmsplice(2):
SPLICE_F_MOVE Currently has no effect for tee(); see splice(2).
SPLICE_F_NONBLOCK Do not block on I/O; see splice(2) for further details.
SPLICE_F_MORE Currently has no effect for tee(), but may be implemented in the future; see splice(2).
SPLICE_F_GIFT Unused for tee(); see vmsplice(2).


Upon successful completion, tee() returns the number of bytes that were duplicated between the input and output. A return value of 0 means that there was no data to transfer, and it would not make sense to block, because there are no writers connected to the write end of the pipe referred to by fd_in.

On error, tee() returns -1 and errno is set to indicate the error.


EINVAL fd_in or fd_out does not refer to a pipe; or fd_in and fd_out refer to the same pipe.
ENOMEM Out of memory.


The tee() system call first appeared in Linux 2.6.17.


This system call is Linux-specific.


Conceptually, tee() copies the data between the two pipes. In reality no real data copying takes place though: under the covers, tee() assigns data in the output by merely grabbing a reference to the input.


The following example implements a basic tee(1) program using the tee() system call.

#define _GNU_SOURCE #include <fcntl.h> #include <stdio.h> #include <stdlib.h> #include <unistd.h> #include <errno.h> #include <limits.h>

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) { int fd; int len, slen;

if (argc != 2) {         fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s <file>\n", argv[0]);         exit(EXIT_FAILURE); }

fd = open(argv[1], O_WRONLY | O_CREAT | O_TRUNC, 0644); if (fd == -1) { perror("open"); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); }

do { /* * tee stdin to stdout. */ len = tee(STDIN_FILENO, STDOUT_FILENO, INT_MAX, SPLICE_F_NONBLOCK);

if (len < 0) { if (errno == EAGAIN) continue; perror("tee"); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); } else if (len == 0) break;

/* * Consume stdin by splicing it to a file. */ while (len > 0) { slen = splice(STDIN_FILENO, NULL, fd, NULL, len, SPLICE_F_MOVE); if (slen < 0) { perror("splice"); break; } len -= slen; } } while (1);

close(fd); exit(EXIT_SUCCESS); }


splice(2), vmsplice(2), feature_test_macros(7)


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