The splice family of Linux system calls can transfer data between file
descriptors without the need to copy data into userspace. Instead of a
userspace buffer, they rely on an ordinary Unix pipe as a kernel-level
Efficient zero-copy I/O avoids data copies into userspace,
reducing garbage for the Ruby garbage collector as a side effect.
More flexible than sendfile, may be used to enable copies between
arbitrary file descriptors (assuming kernel support), not just
Thread-safe blocking operations under Ruby 1.9, releases GVL
if blocking operations are used.
Safely usable with non-blocking I/O frameworks (unlike IO.copy_stream)
when combined with the IO::Splice::F_NONBLOCK flag.
Fully-documented library API and
Operating system support for the splice(2), tee(2) and vmsplice(2)
system calls is required. Currently, only Linux 2.6.17 or later with a
modern C library (glibc 2.5 or later) support these system calls. Using
the latest stable Linux kernel is HIGHLY recommended as there have
been numerous bugs in the early releases of these system calls.
If you’re using a packaged Ruby distribution, make sure you have a C
compiler and the matching Ruby development libraries and headers.
If you use RubyGems:
gem install io_splice
Otherwise grab the latest tarball from:
Unpack it, and run “ruby setup.rb”
Our API matches the C API closely, see the RDoc for full API
documentation and the Linux manpages for more details.
All of these system calls are fairly new have seen limited usage
anywhere, even outside of the Ruby world.
If you encounter problems (privilege escalation, memory leaks (in the
kernel), poor performance, corrupt data, etc…), try upgrading the Linux
kernel to the latest stable version.
These system calls have a lot of potential, and will hopefully be
standardized and available in non-Linux kernels some day.
You can get the latest source via git from the following locations:
You may browse the code from the web and download the latest snapshot
- http://git.bogomips.org/cgit/ruby_io_splice.git (cgit)
- http://repo.or.cz/w/ruby_io_splice.git (gitweb)
Inline patches (from “git format-patch”) to the mailing list are
preferred because they allow code review and comments in the reply to
We will adhere to mostly the same conventions for patch submissions as
git itself. See the Documentation/SubmittingPatches document
distributed with git on on patch submission guidelines to follow. Just
don’t email the git mailing list or maintainer with io_splice patches.
All feedback (bug reports, user/development discussion, patches, pull
requests) go to the mailing list: mailto:[email protected]