TIL of stdbuf permalink

Today, I learned of stdbuf from a member of my team, Jim Werwath. stdbuf allows you to modify the default buffering behavior of an existing program’s handling of *nix’s standard streams: stdin, stdout and stderr.

I haven’t found an actual use for it yet, but it seems to be best suited for when a program, such as cut, waits until reading the entire input or writing the entire output to one of the standard streams before flushing. Using stdbuf allows you to process every line (or otherwise defined “chunk”) as soon as its written to one of the standard streams. Jim used it in one of our CI/CD jobs, but I didn’t look too closely at it yet.

I almost wasn’t going to write todays post. I learned of this much earlier today, but didn’t grok what it did until this evening. I’m glad I took the time to dig in a bit further.


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