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Co-processes - Part II - Introduction

Understanding what background processes are (see last week's tip), and how to create them should make it easier for you to grasp the concept of co-processes.

Co-processes, sometimes called co-routines, consist of two or more processes programmed to run simultaneously, and typically communicate with each other.  The parent program (script) will start a command or program in the background that is able to have two-way communication with it.  In more technical terms, the standard input and output of the background program is connected to the parent program with a pipe.  There may also be scenarios when you want more than one background program communicating with the parent program.

Co-processes are useful if you want to provide an interface to existing/legacy programs, but even more important, it is possible to improve the performance of a program by using co-processes.

The next part of this series will introduce the syntax for starting and communicating with a co-process, and will also include a simple example to demonstrate the concept.

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If you are new to the UNIX or Linux operating system and would like to learn more, you may want to consider registering for LiveFire Labs' UNIX and Linux Operating System Fundamentals online training course.

If you already have a solid grasp of the fundamentals but would like to learn more about the Korn shell and basic and advanced shell scripting, taking our Korn Shell Scripting course will be beneficial to you.

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