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Passing paramters to another program in C ?

triz99 asked
Last Modified: 2010-04-15
I have the fallowing program with code something like this


int main()
  char test[255];
  printf("write here: ");
  scanf("%s", test);
  return 0;

My question is how to pass some data into test variable from another program

I now how to do it when program use argv/argc, with system("./program blabla-data"), but my question is how to pass it into the test variable.

It must work under Linux.

Thank you
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Kent OlsenData Warehouse / Database Architect

Hi triz99,

You can't directly pass data from one program to another by setting variable in memory.  Each program has its own memory and doesn't allow other programs to write into it.

You'll have to open a link between the two programs and exchange information that way.  You can get as involved as a full client-server implementation, but that's clearly overkill.

Pipes will do nicely.  Check out the pipe() and popen() functions.  They can establish a comm link between programs so that you can use fgets() and fputs() to exchange data between the programs.

Good Luck,
Top Expert 2009
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do you know how to call system commands?

Here is how.

Now what you can do it, compile your other program as first.out and then  you can call that program from another program like this
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

int main ()
  int res;

  puts ("Trying to execute command DIR");

  res = system ("./first.out arg1 arg2");

  if (res == -1)
      puts ("Error executing DIR");
      puts ("Command successfully executed");

  return 0;

In your first program you can get these arg1 and arg2 and assign it to test variable.
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Chapter 5 discusses more than just shared memory. It is all about interprocess communications.

You can use one of the following:
(1)  File
(2) Shared memory
(3) messaging..

Ex for using argc/argv in a program

main(int argc,
        char *argv[])
    char test[255];
    if (argc >= 2) {
        strcat(test, argv[1]);
    printf("%s", test);

I check if argc is equal or larger  the 2 to make sure that there are arguments into the program (argv[0] is equal to the program that is started)

As for launching other programs you can use execv(char *path, char *argv[])
path is the application you want to start.
argv is a list of arguments that will end up in argv for that program (remember that argv[0] should always contain the program you are launching in path)

ex. of launching process in linux

main(int argc,
         char *argv[])
    char *next_program_args[3];
    next_program_args[0] = strdup("/usr/bin/less");
    next_program_args[1] = strdup("/etc/passwd");
    next_program_args[2] = NULL; /* This is to indicate to next progrma that there are no more args*/

    execv(next_program_args[0], next_program_args);

As for includes needed for these examples use man for the different calles to get the info

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