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«Rethinking the shell pipeline»: typed and structured streams in shell pipes. - http://blogs.gnome.org/alexl/2012/08/10/rethinking-the-shell-...
«My approach is a kind of middle ground between free-form text and objects, in the form of glib GVariants. GVariant is a size-efficient binary data format with a powerful recursive type system and a textual form that is pretty nice. I created a format negotiation system for pipes such that for “normal” pipes or other types of output we output textual data, one variant per line. But, if the destination process specifies that it supports it we pass the data in raw binary form» ‎- 9000