In technology, a Pipe is a method used in Unix and Linux operating systems to send data from one program to another. This occurs without saving the data to a temporary file or using additional processing power. It permits sequential data flow between two processes and allows them to run concurrently.


The phonetics of the keyword “Pipe” is /paɪp/.

Key Takeaways

I’m sorry, your request is a little abstract. Please provide me with more details on the topic ‘Pipe’. For example, are you asking about a plumbing pipe, pipe smoking, or some kind of software named ‘Pipe’?


The technology term “pipe” is important because it refers to a method used in operating systems to allow different software procedures to communicate with each other. Specifically, it enables the output of one program to become the input of another. This becomes particularly significant in the realm of programming and data management, as it facilitates the efficient and smooth flow of data from one operation to another, thereby helping in the creation of versatile and effective systems. This concept is primarily used in Unix and Linux environments, as well as in other operating systems inspired by them. The powerful technique of piping can help streamline tasks and reduce the need for temporary storage, thereby enhancing overall system performance and efficiency.


In the realm of information technology, Pipe is a method used primarily in Unix and Linux operating systems, designed to take the output of one process and use it as the input of another. Serving essentially as a tool for communication between programs, this procedure thus facilitates a type of communication commonly referred to as inter-process communication (IPC). The purpose of a Pipe is to enable data to move seamlessly from one process to another without the need for temporary files or human intervention. In doing so, it essentially redirects the program output, routing it instantly to another program for further processing.A Pipe, represented by the vertical bar (|) in command line interfaces, can be used to create powerful commands and workflows by combining simpler, smaller utilities. This capacity is an implementation of the Unix philosophy of creating complex tools by combining simpler ones. For instance, users could pipe the output of a search command into a sort command to arrange the results according to certain criteria. Another common use-case involves piping the output of a command into a command that writes to a file, thus saving the output for later reference. In this way, the Pipe allows for the creation of more efficient workflows, making the management and manipulation of data significantly easier.


1. Linux/Unix Pipelining: In Linux/Unix computing environment, a pipe is a method used to enable various processes to communicate with each other. The concept is often used in command-line interfaces. The simplest form is a “pipe” between two commands where the output of one command directly acts as the input for the next. 2. Software Development: When developing software, a data pipeline could refer to a set of data processing elements connected in series, where the output of one element is the input of the next. It’s used to manage and automate workflows. Apache Beam, Google Cloud Dataflow and Amazon Kinesis are all examples of tools that can create such data pipelines.3. Plumbing: Pipes are physical conduits that carry water from one place to another — this is an example of a real-world, non-computing pipe metaphor. Similarly, in technology, we often refer to data being passed through “pipes” or “pipelines” – the conduit that moves it from one place (or process) to another. This can be seen as similar to the pipe in your house that carries water from the tap to the drain.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: What is a Pipe in technology terms? A: A Pipe, in technology terms, is a method used in Unix and Unix-like operating systems to send data from one program to another in a way that the output of one program becomes the input of the other program.Q: How do Pipes work?A: Pipes work by connecting the output of one program directly to the input of another, allowing them to run simultaneously and enabling the second program to start processing before the first one has finished.Q: What are the symbols used to represent Pipes?A: The most common symbol used to represent a pipe is the vertical bar “|”. This symbol is commonly found on the same keyboard key as the backslash “\”. Q: Can Pipes be used in Windows operating system?A: Yes, even though Pipes originated in Unix systems, they have been adopted in other operating systems, such as Windows, and are extensively used in a variety of programming languages.Q: Where are Pipes commonly used?A: Pipes are commonly used in command-line interfaces (CLI), such as Unix shell or Windows PowerShell, to create complex commands that allow greater functionality and control over the operating system.Q: Can you give an example of a Pipe?A: Sure, a simple example in Unix-like systems could be “ls | grep myfile”, where “ls” lists all files and directories in the current directory, and “grep myfile” would filter out and display only the entries containing the term “myfile”.Q: Are there any limitations or drawbacks to using Pipes?A: Pipes are generally considered efficient and fast. However, they may not be suitable for very large amounts of data, as they require enough physical memory to accommodate all the data being passed.

Related Tech Terms

  • Pipeline
  • Named Pipe
  • Data Pipe
  • Byte Stream Pipe
  • Unix Pipe

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents