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1.1.0 Jan 27, 2021
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#47 in Unix APIs

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Used in 25 crates (20 directly)




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Interprocess communication toolkit for Rust programs. The crate aims to expose as many platform-specific features as possible while maintaining a uniform interface for all platforms.


Interprocess communication primitives

interprocess provides both OS-specific interfaces for IPC and cross-platform abstractions for them.

Cross-platform IPC APIs

  • Local sockets – similar to TCP sockets, but use filesystem or namespaced paths instead of ports on localhost, depending on the OS, bypassing the network stack entirely; implemented using named pipes on Windows and Unix domain sockets on Unix

Platform-specific, but present on both Unix-like systems and Windows

  • Unnamed pipes – anonymous file-like objects for communicating privately in one direction, most commonly used to communicate between a child process and its parent
  • Signals – C signals on Windows, POSIX signals on Unix-like OSes (deprecated)


  • FIFO files – special type of file which is similar to unnamed pipes but exists on the filesystem, often referred to as "named pipes" but completely different from Windows named pipes
  • Unix domain sockets – a type of socket which is built around the standard networking APIs but uses filesystem paths instead of ports on localhost, optionally using a spearate namespace on Linux akin to Windows named pipes


  • Named pipes – closely resembles Unix domain sockets, uses a separate namespace instead of on-drive paths

Asynchronous I/O

Currently, only Tokio for local sockets, Unix domain sockets and Windows named pipes is supported. Support for async-std is planned.

Feature gates

  • signals, on by default – enables support for POSIX signals and C signals. Pulls in additional dependencies.
  • tokio_support, off by default – enables support for Tokio-powered efficient asynchronous IPC. Cannot simply be named tokio because of Cargo limitations.
  • nonblocking, on by default – deprecated and will be removed, do not use.


This crate, along with all community contributions made to it, is dual-licensed under the terms of either the MIT license or the Apache 2.0 license.


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