Austin Piel Austin Piel - 4 months ago 31
C Question

C - Child Process Not Executing

So for this practice exercise I was assigned we are practicing process control. I'm simply wondering why it seems that my child process will never execute (when child_pid == 0). Any help on this issue would be greatly appreciated!
Also, safe_fork() is a function our instructor wrote in order to avoid students opening too many processes.

#include "safe-fork.h"
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <sys/types.h>

int main(void) {

pid_t child_pid;
int pipefd[2];
int pipe_result;
int count;

pipe_result = pipe(pipefd);

if (pipe_result == -1) {
perror("pipe failure");

child_pid = safe_fork();

/*Parent Process*/
if (child_pid > 0) {
dup2(pipefd[0], STDIN_FILENO);
scanf("%d", &count);

if (count > 200) {
printf("Long enough!\n");
else {
printf("Too short!\n");

/* Child Process */
else {
dup2(pipefd[1], STDOUT_FILENO);
execl("/usr/bin/wc", "-w");
return 0;


Here is a suggestion, check for child_pid == 0 explicitly cause it could also be the case that your safe_fork() function failed, also check for those errors i.e child_pid < 0. Add debug printf statements to check control flow if you already haven't and finally check if the execl call failed.

Also please have a look at this tutorial for creating pipes in C and using them to communicate between a parent and a child process. As I feel there are some issues with how you are handling those file descriptors. A possible reason that you can't see any output is that wc might still waiting for some input.

And another thing you might need to wait for the child process to complete/do something useful or actually be run before checking for its output. Check the other issues first before you worry about this.

Hope this Helps :)