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Re: Cygwin passes through null writes to other software when redirecting standard input/output (i.e. piping)

On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 09:18:27PM -0000, James Johnston wrote:
>========== SenderC.c: Sender program in Visual C++ 2008 ==========
>#include <windows.h>
>int main() {
>	char * test = "Hello world!\n";
>	DWORD written;
>	HANDLE h = GetStdHandle(STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE); /* Get standard output
>file handle */
>	Sleep(1000); /* wait for pipes to set up and for receiving app to
>block on first ReadFile call */
>	WriteFile(h, test, 0, &written, NULL); /* do null write */
>	Sleep(1000); /* wait for receiving app to get the null write */
>	WriteFile(h, test, lstrlenA(test), &written, NULL); /* print hello
>message */
>	return 0;
>========== ReceiverCPP.cpp: Receiver program in Visual C++ 2008 that
>demonstrates bug in VC++ 2008 runtime / STL ==========
>#include <iostream>
>#include <string>
>using namespace std;
>int main() {
>	/* you have to use a retry loop, for exact same reasons given for C#
>receiver program:
>	there is no way to tell difference between end-of-file and null
>write. */
>	for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
>		string str;
>		/* BUG: cin will indicate end-of-file on a null write. */
>		getline(cin, str);
>		if (cin.eof()) {
>			cout << "Got end-of-file" << endl;
>		} else {
>			cout << "Got line " << str << endl;
>		}
>		cin.clear(); /* future getline calls will always immediately
>fail without attempting another read unless we clear EOF/fail flags */
>	}
>	return 0;
>========== Test results ==========
>The test programs are designed so that they can be run in any combination
>from the command prompt.  The output from a sender is piped to the input of
>a receiver.  Each combination delivers identical output to the other
> * ./SenderCS | ./ReceiverCS
> * ./SenderCS | ./ReceiverCPP
> * ./SenderC | ./ReceiverCS
> * ./SenderC | ./ReceiverCPP
>Output from Cygwin will always be:
>Got end-of-file
>Got line Hello world!
>Got end-of-file
>Got end-of-file

Nope, it won't always be that because I get what's expected.  I built
the C++ files using mingw g++.  Although I actually expected the reader
to honor the null byte, it did not.  Perhaps you are using a different
version of Windows than I am or a different runtime.

What you are seeing may be because Cygwin was changed to use
message-type pipes a couple of revisions ago.  This is not going to
change.  The change was adopted to fix a problem with Cygwin programs
and those are obviously our #1 priority.

>This is wrong, because the program received end-of-file before it was
>actually at the end of the input stream, due to the bug in its runtime's
>handling of return values from ReadFile API.  I did not do any tests using
>standard error, but I assume Cygwin redirects standard error in the same way
>it redirects standard output, in which case it would have the same problem.
>I think a workable fix would be for Cygwin not to pass through null writes
>it receives on an output/error pipe.  For example, somewhere in Cygwin I
>assume there is a loop that calls ReadFile to read the redirected standard
>output from the first program, and then calls WriteFile to send this output
>to the second program's standard input.  If the call to WriteFile was
>skipped if it would write zero bytes (i.e. so Cygwin doesn't do null writes
>itself), I think it would fix the problem and work around all these buggy

There's no way that Cygwin could know to "skip" a call to WriteFile().
Cygwin doesn't interpose itself in the middle of a pipe.  That would be
truly disastrous.  If it somehow looked at every pipe read/write rather
than just allowing I/O to flow from one end to the other, the mailing
list would be even more filled with people complaining that Cygwin is

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