The intention of this post is to provide a solution (with examples) to a somewhat uncommon issue in Erlang. I hate searching for answers to the same problems over and over, and I had a hard time finding answers to this particular problem, so I wrote it all down once I figured it out. If one day you decide to read and write data through fifo's (named pipes) and then decide you want to read or write the other end of the pipe from Erlang, this post is for you.
I wanted to read and write to a fifo from a C/C++ app and have an Erlang app communicate over the other end of that fifo. Put simply, Erlang doesn't really support what I was trying to do. You cannot just
file:open/2 a fifo, or any special device for that matter, in Erlang and expect it to work. This is documented in Erlang's FAQ.