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I keep wondering why there isn't a libredis you can just link into your program without needing to run a server and all that. It sounds very useful, but I'm not sure how hard it would be to develop.

For the same reason you can't do that with MySQL or Postgres or any other database server. Redis intended to be ran as a server listening for TCP connections, and communicating over a TCP/IP network. If you're running it on localhost, the communication should generally be pretty fast, but you're right that overhead will still be incurred.

It would require adding a lot more code to allow for typical interprocess communication.

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