stdin, stdout, stderr - standard I/O streams
extern FILE *stdin;
extern FILE *stdout;
extern FILE *stderr;
Under normal circumstances every UNIX program has three streams opened
for it when it starts up, one for input, one for output, and one for
printing diagnostic or error messages. These are typically attached to
the user's terminal (see tty(4) but might instead refer to files or
other devices, depending on what the parent process chose to set up.
(See also the "Redirection" section of sh(1).)
The input stream is referred to as "standard input"; the output stream
is referred to as "standard output"; and the error stream is referred
to as "standard error". These terms are abbreviated to form the
symbols used to refer to these files, namely stdin, stdout, and stderr.
Each of these symbols is a stdio(3) macro of type pointer to FILE, and
can be used with functions like fprintf(3) or fread(3).
Since FILEs are a buffering wrapper around UNIX file descriptors, the
same underlying files may also be accessed using the raw UNIX file
interface, that is, the functions like read(2) and lseek(2).
On program startup, the integer file descriptors associated with the
streams stdin, stdout, and stderr are 0, 1, and 2, respectively. The
preprocessor symbols STDIN_FILENO, STDOUT_FILENO, and STDERR_FILENO are
defined with these values in <unistd.h>. (Applying freopen(3) to one
of these streams can change the file descriptor number associated with
Note that mixing use of FILEs and raw file descriptors can produce
unexpected results and should generally be avoided. (For the
masochistic among you: POSIX.1, section 8.2.3, describes in detail how
this interaction is supposed to work.) A general rule is that file
descriptors are handled in the kernel, while stdio is just a library.
This means for example, that after an exec(3), the child inherits all
open file descriptors, but all old streams have become inaccessible.
Since the symbols stdin, stdout, and stderr are specified to be macros,
assigning to them is nonportable. The standard streams can be made to
refer to different files with help of the library function freopen(3),
specially introduced to make it possible to reassign stdin, stdout, and
stderr. The standard streams are closed by a call to exit(3) and by
normal program termination.
The stdin, stdout, and stderr macros conform to C89 and this standard
also stipulates that these three streams shall be open at program
The stream stderr is unbuffered. The stream stdout is line-buffered
when it points to a terminal. Partial lines will not appear until
fflush(3) or exit(3) is called, or a newline is printed. This can
produce unexpected results, especially with debugging output. The
buffering mode of the standard streams (or any other stream) can be
changed using the setbuf(3) or setvbuf(3) call. Note that in case
stdin is associated with a terminal, there may also be input buffering
in the terminal driver, entirely unrelated to stdio buffering.
(Indeed, normally terminal input is line buffered in the kernel.) This
kernel input handling can be modified using calls like tcsetattr(3);
see also stty(1), and termios(3).
csh(1), sh(1), open(2), fopen(3), stdio(3)
This page is part of release 4.09 of the Linux man-pages project. A
description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the
latest version of this page, can be found at
Personal Opportunity - Free software gives you access to billions of dollars of software at no cost. Use this software for your business, personal use or to develop a profitable skill. Access to source code provides access to a level of capabilities/information that companies protect though copyrights. Open source is a core component of the Internet and it is available to you. Leverage the billions of dollars in resources and capabilities to build a career, establish a business or change the world. The potential is endless for those who understand the opportunity.
Business Opportunity - Goldman Sachs, IBM and countless large corporations are leveraging open source to reduce costs, develop products and increase their bottom lines. Learn what these companies know about open source and how open source can give you the advantage.
Free Software provides computer programs and capabilities at no cost but more importantly, it provides the freedom to run, edit, contribute to, and share the software. The importance of free software is a matter of access, not price. Software at no cost is a benefit but ownership rights to the software and source code is far more significant.
Free Office Software - The Libre Office suite provides top desktop productivity tools for free. This includes, a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation engine, drawing and flowcharting, database and math applications. Libre Office is available for Linux or Windows.
The Free Books Library is a collection of thousands of the most popular public domain books in an online readable format. The collection includes great classical literature and more recent works where the U.S. copyright has expired. These books are yours to read and use without restrictions.
Source Code - Want to change a program or know how it works? Open Source provides the source code for its programs so that anyone can use, modify or learn how to write those programs themselves. Visit the GNU source code repositories to download the source.
Study at Harvard, Stanford or MIT -
Open edX provides free online courses from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, UC Berkeley and other top Universities. Hundreds of courses for almost all major subjects and course levels. Open edx also offers some paid courses and selected certifications.
Linux Manual Pages - A man or manual page is a form of software documentation found on Linux/Unix operating systems. Topics covered include computer programs (including library and system calls), formal standards and conventions, and even abstract concepts.