Linux File Descriptors

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It's an index table from 0..n per process that indicates what files,pipes,sockets the process has open.

File Descriptors 0,1,2 are reserved for OS, for:

  • 0 - STDOUT
  • 1 - STDIN
  • 2 - STDERR

Following script demonstrates FD usage:

echo "File name to read: "
read FILE  # type 'cities.txt', this file must exist

# assign/create FD '5' to a file, what we can refere as a strem to read or write in the future
exec 5<>$FILE   # open a file for read and write (aka open a file handle)
# >  open for write
# <  open for read
# <> open for rw

while read -r CITY; do # read a file line-by-line
  echo "City name: $CITY"
done <&5 # instead redirecting a file value, we redirect a FD for reading '<'
# &<number> - ampersand indicates that it's FD

# Write to a file but instead using a file we use FD for writting '>'
echo "File was read on: $(date)" >&5

# Close FD, otherwise will stay open forever (aka close file handle)
exec 5>&-

File to read

cat > cities.txt << EOF