[erlang-questions] escript cutting output

Bob Gustafson <>
Fri Nov 18 05:44:56 CET 2011

Yes, by having a separate io:flush which is waited on allows the maximum
parallelization in your program:

        % construct output
        io:format(IoDev, FormatString) % no wait here for completion.
        % do something else not related to the io:
        io:flush(IoDev) % waits here. May have completed already.
        exit or quit % safely end the process
 On Thu, 2011-11-17 at 22:32 +0000, Robert Virding wrote:
> io:format/3 already exists, io:format(IoDev, FormatString, Args). This
> problem actually exists with all io functions as they work in the same
> way so adding an extra argument to io:format is not a good solution. A
> better solution would probably be to add an io:flush which flushes an
> IoDev and waits until everything has been written out. At least as far
> as it is possible for erlang to detect that everything has been
> flushed.
> Robert
> ______________________________________________________________________
>         io:format sends to another Erlang process and returns
>         immediately.  If you then exit you can cause the emulator to
>         die before the file process has fully flushed its data.  You
>         just need to stay alive long enough for the other process to
>         do its work, it is not wrong, remember that Erlang is designed
>         to be a concurrent/distributed system.
>         I do, however, wish that there was an io:format/3 that is like
>         io:format/2 but with one extra parameter at the end that lets
>         you either pass in a positive integer or the atom infinite to
>         wait that length of time and when it flushes it then returns
>         (unless it times out first if not infinite), or you can pass
>         in a pid (or pass in a {pid(), ref()}) and it will send a
>         message to that process when the flush is complete.  I wish we
>         had a lot of io functions like that...
>         On Nov 17, 2011 2:56 AM, "Samuel" <>
>         wrote:
>                 > Erlang IO is handled by a separate process. It is
>                 probably still
>                 > outputting when your escript exits.
>                 > Using "|cat" speed up the output.
>                 > Using timer:sleep() wait for it to finish.
>                 > Both are right. You are not doing anything wrong.
>                 My feeling is that using cat makes it work until I
>                 output enough so
>                 that cat isn't fast enough either. Anyway, it feels
>                 like a hack,
>                 basically I'm redirecting output to cat so that it
>                 could handle it
>                 because the escript fails at it.
>                 I disagree the sleep solution is right. That's waiting
>                 a fixed period
>                 of time that turns out to be greater than the time I
>                 should really
>                 wait for the io system to finish flushing everything.
>                 One bad thing is
>                 that I'm wasting a lot of time (the real escript run
>                 in a for loop in
>                 a shell script) and other bad thing is that it can go
>                 wrong anyway if
>                 I try to minimise the time I'm sleeping.
>                 I'd like a solution that allowed me to wait until the
>                 exact moment
>                 (roughly) all io has been done.
>                 Researching a bit more, if I use erl -eval instead of
>                 an escript this
>                 example works as I expect:
>                 erl -eval 'io:format("~p~p~n",
>                 [lists:duplicate(100000, $a), b]), halt(0).'
>                 The vm waits until io finishes before evaluating halt.
>                 But if I use
>                 -noshell then the output is cut again.
>                 Curiously, in the later case it work again if I use
>                 init:stop(0).
>                 instead of halt(0), so I thought that init:stop
>                 effectively waited
>                 until the io system had flushed everything, but that
>                 didn't work in my
>                 escript either:
>                 erl -eval 'io:format("~p~p~n",
>                 [lists:duplicate(100000, $a), b]),
>                 init:stop().' -noshell
>                 So my current idea is to get rid of the escript,
>                 compile main into a
>                 module and use erl -eval with init:stop from a shell
>                 script, but I
>                 still think it would be reasonable to be able to wait
>                 for io in
>                 escripts, it sounds weird otherwise.
>                 Best
>                 --
>                 Samuel
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