collect all of standard input until its end, then output it all of it at once to standard output.
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Avril 14f32d6262
Explicitly closes `stdout` before process exits.
6 months ago
src Explicitly closes `stdout` before process exits. 6 months ago
.gitignore TODO: Find out how to set the length of stdout if possible, so that the consumer of `collect` in a pipeline need only use one syscall splice() to read all the collected data at once, like a file. 6 months ago
Cargo.lock Explicitly closes `stdout` before process exits. 6 months ago
Cargo.toml Explicitly closes `stdout` before process exits. 6 months ago
LICENSE Create LICENSE 7 months ago Fix README 7 months ago
TODO TODO: Find out how to set the length of stdout if possible, so that the consumer of `collect` in a pipeline need only use one syscall splice() to read all the collected data at once, like a file. 6 months ago

collect - Collect all input until it's closed, then output it all at once.

This small tool can be used to ensure all data between pipes is synchronised, and/or to ensure the 2nd program in the pipe doesn't start processing before the first one has finished outputting her data.


For example, in the pipeline x | collect | y, where x is a program who's output is sporadic (something like a network connection, reading and processing a segmented file, etc) y will receive all of xs output at once as soon as x closes her standard output pipe. So y will not start processing until x has completed hers.

There are no runtime flags (unless logging is enabled, in which case, see below), it simply reads from stdin and writes to stdout. (When logging is enabled, and the log-level is set to a level that will enabled common info logging, it is written to stderr only to not interfere with the data collected from stdin.)


When compiled with the logging feature (default), you can control the log level with the RUST_LOG environment variable (the default for release builds is info, for debug builds, debug.)

Available levels

To set the level, run with RUST_LOG= one of the below values:

  • trace - The lowest level of logging, all information will be printed.
  • debug - The 2nd lowest level, debugging-relevent information (such as buffer sizes, file descriptor numbers/names, read/write segment sizes, allocations, etc.) will be printed. (default for debug builds.)
  • info - Will print information when collection has started, finished, and output is over. (default for release builds.)
  • warn - Will print only warnings. Most of these that will be seen will be related to additionally required syscalls for fd-size truncation, which are only efficiency-related and not warnings to the user herself's use of the program. But some will be.
  • error - Only print error messages.
  • off - Print no messages at all.


Building requires rust and Cargo.

To build with the default configuration:

$ cargo build --release

Will build the binary into ./target/release/collect.

Debug builds

To create a debug build:

$ cargo build

Will build the binary into ./target/debug/collect. NOTE: when logging feature is enabled, the default logging level will be debug instead of info.

To create a release build that is not symbol-stripped:

$ cargo build --profile symbols

Will build the binary into ./target/symbols/collect.

Modes & features

There are two major operative modes: mode-memfile (default [+logging]) and mode-buffered. These are collections of features specific to each operating mode.


Each mode feature can be chosen by building with a Cargo incantation in the following format:

$ cargo build --release --no-default-features --features mode-<name>[,logging]
  • mode-memfile - This is the default used mode, which will use the feature memfile-preallocate. NOTE: The default enabled features chooses this mode and the logging feature.
  • mode-buffered - This will use jemalloc and bytes-allocated buffers instead of file-descriptors.

NOTE: If both modes are specified at once, mode-memfile will take precidence by the program, and mode-buffered will not be used.


The user can also compile the program with individual features specific to her needs.

They can be specified as such:

Feature name Description Notes
memfile Use an in-memory file-descriptor pointing to unmapped physical pages of memory. This will allow the program to make use of the more efficient splice() and send_file() syscalls where possible. WARNING: Can potentially cause a full system OOM if used incorrectly or irresponsibly. (See below)
memfile-preallocate memfile, but when unable to determine the size of stdin, will pre-allocate it to a multiple of the system page size. NOTE: Requires int getpagesize() to be availble in your used libc implementation. (It ususally will exist unless you're using some meme implementation of libc.) This is enabled by default with the memfile mode.
jemalloc Use jemalloc instead of system malloc() when allocating memory. This is only really helpful when not using memfile, but the program heap is still used for error propagating and log reporting in either mode. jemalloc incorporates a lot of redundant (in this case) locking mechanisms, but causes a generally lower used memory profile than system malloc, however it does allocate far more virtual memory pages than is generally needed. This is enabled by default with the buffered mode.
bytes Use the bytes crate to manage memory allocations in buffered mode instead of native vector implementations, this can potentially save on some copying operations. Some crude benchmarks have shown this to be mildly more efficient in buffered mode than without it.
disable-logging Removes all runtime logging code. Span-traces are still captured, however, they just are never used. This won't save you much compared to just disabling the logging feature (below.)
logging Enable the capture and reporting of span-traces and events. (See the section on logging above.) This does cause a slowdown, but can provide useful information to the user about error locations, warnings, when and where input and output have finished and the sizes of both, etc. If you're only using it in scripts however, it'd be better to disable. (default enabled)
Notes about memfile feature/mode

If memfile is enabled, and the input size can be determined by the program, it will preallocate the required space for the input. If this input were to exceed the amount of physical memory available (since this is unpaged memory being allocated,) it could hang and/or then cause the kernel to OOMkill basically everything except collect.

Please note however, this would only typically happen in instances where a file is passed as input (where the length can be determined, the source it usually not segmented at all); in which case collect is just going to slow down your pipe. (It is still worth using for scripts where the script doesn't know if the standatd input is a file or not.)

In the current version, this is not yet accounted for, so passing massive files, for example:

$ collect <10-gb-file | wc -c

Will try to allocate 10GB of physical memory for the collection.

In future versions, a warning for large known-size inputs will be displayed, and an error for known-size inputs so large they would cause an OOM. (Same for unknown-sized inputs that grow the backing memfd to a size that would start to become an issue or would use too much physical memory.) But currently, this is a pitfall of the memfile mode that, while very unlikely to ever be encountered, could still bite the user if it is encountered.

If something like this may be a concern for your usecase, please fall-back to using the buffered mode instead, which, while significantly slower, will only OOM itself if the input is too large and cannot eat physical memory directly, only its already-large VM page maps which are, for most instances, mostly empty.


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