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2.0.0 Apr 12, 2024
1.2.1 Apr 8, 2024
0.1.5 Apr 1, 2024

#175 in Unix APIs

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Shared memory crate designed for simplicity, safety, and extensibility. With minimal dependencies on libc and tracing, this crate wraps unsafe shared memory operations in a user-friendly API.

Quick Start

Install using the (currently) only built-in lock implementation. See examples below for more instructions.

cargo add neocortex --features semaphore

System Requirements

  • Operating System: Linux, macOS, or other UNIX-like operating systems.
  • Dependencies: Users must ensure libc is available in their system's standard library.

Safety Guarantees

  • Error Handling: As libc syscalls are inherently unsafe, no guarantees can be made that all allocated resources are properly cleaned up on a failure. This crate provides two error variants, CleanSystem and DirtySystem to indicate whether or not the error is leaving any dangling resources. All system errors also provides additional error information from the operating system on top of our custom error messages.
  • Error Logging: As an additional safety guarantee, all DirtySystem errors that are not properly handled (currently only in some Drop implementations) will emit a tracing::error! event.


  • Simple API: Offers an easy-to-use interface for shared memory operations, abstracting libc complexities.
  • Clear Error Handling: Distinguishes between Clean and Dirty system errors.
  • Built-in Synchronization: Includes a semaphore-based lock for safe shared memory access. (requires crate feature "semaphore").
  • Extendable: Flexibility to implement custom synchronization logic through the CortexSync trait.


Simple example using the built-in semaphore lock:

use neocortex::{Cortex, CortexBuilder, Semaphore};

// Initialize a segment of shared memory with the value 42.0
let key = 123;
let cortex = CortexBuilder::new(42.0)

// Attaching to an existing segment of shared memory requires explicit type annotations
let attached: Cortex<f64, Semaphore> = Cortex::attach(key).unwrap();

assert_eq!(cortex.read().unwrap(), attached.read().unwrap());

// Write to shared memory
let new_val = 12.34;

assert_eq!(cortex.read().unwrap(), new_val);

The semaphore module comes with some pre-defined permissions, these permissions dictates which OS users can interact with the semaphore. Using with_default_lock defaults to OwnerOnly which is the most restrictive mode. Check out SemaphorePermission for other modes, or use the Custom enum-variant to set your own permissions.

use neocortex::{CortexBuilder, Semaphore, SemaphoreSettings, SemaphorePermission};

let settings = SemaphoreSettings {
    mode: SemaphorePermission::OwnerAndGroup,

let cortex = CortexBuilder::new(42.0)