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In computer science, inter-process communication or interprocess communication (IPC) refers specifically to the mechanisms an operating system provides to allow the processes to manage shared data. Typically, applications can use IPC, categorized as clients and servers, where the client requests data and the server responds to client requests.Many applications are both clients and servers, as commonly seen in distributed computing.
IPC is very important to the design process for microkernels and nanokernels, which reduce the number of functionalities provided by the kernel. Those functionalities are then obtained by communicating with servers via IPC, leading to a large increase in communication when compared to a regular monolithic kernel. IPC interfaces generally encompass variable analytic framework structures. These processes ensure compatibility between the multi-vector protocols upon which IPC models rely.
An IPC mechanism is either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronization primitives may be used to have synchronous behavior with an asynchronous IPC mechanism.
Different approaches to IPC have been tailored to different software requirements, such as performance, modularity, and system circumstances such as network bandwidth and latency.
|Method||Short Description||Provided by (operating systems or other environments)|
|File||A record stored on disk, or a record synthesized on demand by a file server, which can be accessed by multiple processes.||Most operating systems|
|Communications file||A unique form of IPC in the late-1960s that most closely resembles Plan 9's 9P protocol||Dartmouth Time-Sharing System|
|Signal; also Asynchronous System Trap||A system message sent from one process to another, not usually used to transfer data but instead used to remotely command the partnered process.||Most operating systems|
|Socket||Data sent over a network interface, either to a different process on the same computer or to another computer on the network. Stream-oriented (TCP; data written through a socket requires formatting to preserve message boundaries) or more rarely message-oriented (UDP, SCTP).||Most operating systems|
|Unix domain socket||Similar to an internet socket, but all communication occurs within the kernel. Domain sockets use the file system as their address space. Processes reference a domain socket as an inode, and multiple processes can communicate with one socket||All POSIX operating systems and Windows 10|
|Message queue||A data stream similar to a socket, but which usually preserves message boundaries. Typically implemented by the operating system, they allow multiple processes to read and write to the message queue without being directly connected to each other.||Most operating systems|
|Anonymous pipe||A unidirectional data channel using standard input and output. Data written to the write-end of the pipe is buffered by the operating system until it is read from the read-end of the pipe. Two-way communication between processes can be achieved by using two pipes in opposite "directions".||All POSIX systems, Windows|
|Named pipe||A pipe that is treated like a file. Instead of using standard input and output as with an anonymous pipe, processes write to and read from a named pipe, as if it were a regular file.||All POSIX systems, Windows, AmigaOS 2.0+|
|Shared memory||Multiple processes are given access to the same block of memory which creates a shared buffer for the processes to communicate with each other.||All POSIX systems, Windows|
|Message passing||Allows multiple programs to communicate using message queues and/or non-OS managed channels. Commonly used in concurrency models.||Used in RPC, RMI, and MPI paradigms, Java RMI, CORBA, DDS, MSMQ, MailSlots, QNX, others|
|Memory-mapped file||A file mapped to RAM and can be modified by changing memory addresses directly instead of outputting to a stream. This shares the same benefits as a standard file.||All POSIX systems, Windows|
The following are messaging and information systems that utilize IPC mechanisms, but don't implement IPC themselves:
The following are platform or programming language-specific APIs:
The following are platform or programming language specific-APIs that use IPC, but do not themselves implement it:
In computer science, a microkernel is the near-minimum amount of software that can provide the mechanisms needed to implement an operating system (OS). These mechanisms include low-level address space management, thread management, and inter-process communication (IPC).
Mach is a kernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University to support operating system research, primarily distributed and parallel computing. Mach is often mentioned as one of the earliest examples of a microkernel. However, not all versions of Mach are microkernels. Mach's derivatives are the basis of the operating system kernel in GNU Hurd and of Apple's XNU kernel used in macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
In distributed computing, a remote procedure call (RPC) is when a computer program causes a procedure (subroutine) to execute in a different address space, which is coded as if it were a normal (local) procedure call, without the programmer explicitly coding the details for the remote interaction. That is, the programmer writes essentially the same code whether the subroutine is local to the executing program, or remote. This is a form of client–server interaction, typically implemented via a request–response message-passing system. In the object-oriented programming paradigm, RPCs are represented by remote method invocation (RMI). The RPC model implies a level of location transparency, namely that calling procedures are largely the same whether they are local or remote, but usually they are not identical, so local calls can be distinguished from remote calls. Remote calls are usually orders of magnitude slower and less reliable than local calls, so distinguishing them is important.
In computer networking, Server Message Block (SMB), one version of which was also known as Common Internet File System, is a network communication protocol for providing shared access to files, printers, and serial ports between nodes on a network. It also provides an authenticated inter-process communication mechanism. Most usage of SMB involves computers running Microsoft Windows, where it was known as "Microsoft Windows Network" before the introduction of Active Directory. Corresponding Windows services are LAN Manager Server for the server component, and LAN Manager Workstation for the client component.
In computer science, message queues and mailboxes are software-engineering components used for inter-process communication (IPC), or for inter-thread communication within the same process. They use a queue for messaging – the passing of control or of content. Group communication systems provide similar kinds of functionality.
The V operating system is a discontinued microkernel operating system that was developed by faculty and students in the distributed systems group at Stanford University from 1981 to 1988, led by Professors David Cheriton and Keith A. Lantz. V was the successor to the Thoth and Verex operating systems that Cheriton had developed in the 1970s. Despite very similar names and close development dates, it is unrelated to UNIX System V.
In computing, a named pipe is an extension to the traditional pipe concept on Unix and Unix-like systems, and is one of the methods of inter-process communication (IPC). The concept is also found in OS/2 and Microsoft Windows, although the semantics differ substantially. A traditional pipe is "unnamed" and lasts only as long as the process. A named pipe, however, can last as long as the system is up, beyond the life of the process. It can be deleted if no longer used. Usually a named pipe appears as a file, and generally processes attach to it for IPC.
In computer science, message passing is a technique for invoking behavior on a computer. The invoking program sends a message to a process and relies on that process and its supporting infrastructure to select and then run the code it selects. Message passing differs from conventional programming where a process, subroutine, or function is directly invoked by name. Message passing is key to some models of concurrency and object-oriented programming.
Spring is a discontinued project/experimental microkernel-based object oriented operating system developed at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s. Using technology substantially similar to concepts developed in the Mach kernel, Spring concentrated on providing a richer programming environment supporting multiple inheritance and other features. Spring was also more cleanly separated from the operating systems it would host, divorcing it from its Unix roots and even allowing several OSes to be run at the same time. Development faded out in the mid-1990s, but several ideas and some code from the project was later re-used in the Java programming language libraries and the Solaris operating system.
Vanguard is a discontinued experimental microkernel developed at Apple Computer's research group (ATG) in the early 1990s. Based on the V-System, Vanguard introduced standardized object identifiers and a unique "message chaining" system for improved performance. Vanguard was not used in any of Apple's commercial products, and development ended in 1993 when Ross Finlayson - the project's principal investigator - left Apple.
In computing, D-Bus is a software bus, inter-process communication (IPC), and remote procedure call (RPC) mechanism that allows communication between multiple processes running concurrently on the same machine. D-Bus was developed as part of the freedesktop.org project, initiated by Havoc Pennington from Red Hat to standardize services provided by Linux desktop environments such as GNOME and KDE.
A Mailslot is a one-way interprocess communication mechanism, available on the Microsoft Windows operating system, that allows communication between processes both locally and over a network. The use of Mailslots is generally simpler than named pipes or sockets when a relatively small number of relatively short messages are expected to be transmitted, such as for example infrequent state-change messages, or as part of a peer-discovery protocol. The Mailslot mechanism allows for short message broadcasts ("datagrams") to all listening computers across a given network domain.
The Local Inter-Process Communication is an internal, undocumented inter-process communication facility provided by the Microsoft Windows NT kernel for lightweight IPC between processes on the same computer. As of Windows Vista, LPC has been rewritten as Asynchronous Local Inter-Process Communication in order to provide a high-speed scalable communication mechanism required to efficiently implement User-Mode Driver Framework (UMDF), whose user-mode parts require an efficient communication channel with UMDF's components in the executive.
In computer science, an anonymous pipe is a simplex FIFO communication channel that may be used for one-way interprocess communication (IPC). An implementation is often integrated into the operating system's file IO subsystem. Typically a parent program opens anonymous pipes, and creates a new process that inherits the other ends of the pipes, or creates several new processes and arranges them in a pipeline.
A hybrid kernel is an operating system kernel architecture that attempts to combine aspects and benefits of microkernel and monolithic kernel architectures used in computer operating systems.
A Unix domain socket or IPC socket is a data communications endpoint for exchanging data between processes executing on the same host operating system. Valid socket types in the UNIX domain are:
.NET Remoting is a Microsoft application programming interface (API) for interprocess communication released in 2002 with the 1.0 version of .NET Framework. It is one in a series of Microsoft technologies that began in 1990 with the first version of Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for 16-bit Windows. Intermediate steps in the development of these technologies were Component Object Model (COM) released in 1993 and updated in 1995 as COM-95, Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM), released in 1997, and COM+ with its Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), released in 2000. It is now superseded by Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), which is part of the .NET Framework 3.0.
Synchronous Interprocess Messaging Project for LINUX (SIMPL) is a free and open-source project that allows QNX-style synchronous message passing by adding a Linux library using user space techniques like shared memory and Unix pipes to implement
ReplyMssg inter-process messaging mechanisms.
In computer science, shared memory is memory that may be simultaneously accessed by multiple programs with an intent to provide communication among them or avoid redundant copies. Shared memory is an efficient means of passing data between programs. Depending on context, programs may run on a single processor or on multiple separate processors.
Enduro/X is an open-source middleware platform for distributed transaction processing. It is built on proven APIs such as X/Open group's XATMI and XA. The platform is designed for building real-time microservices based applications with a clusterization option. Enduro/X functions as an extended drop-in replacement for Oracle Tuxedo. The platform uses in-memory POSIX Kernel queues which insures high interprocess communication throughput.