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There are always three default files
stdin (the keyboard),
stdout (the screen), and
stderr (error messages output to the
screen). These, and any other open files, can be redirected.
Redirection simply means capturing output from a file, command,
program, script, or even code block within a script (see Example 3-1 and Example 3-2) and sending it as
input to another file, command, program, or script.
Each open file gets assigned a file descriptor.
The file descriptors for
0, 1, and 2, respectively. For opening additional files, there
remain descriptors 3 to 9. It is sometimes useful to assign one of
these additional file descriptors to
as a temporary duplicate link.
This simplifies restoration to normal after complex redirection
and reshuffling (see Example 19-1).
COMMAND_OUTPUT > # Redirect stdout to a file. # Creates the file if not present, otherwise overwrites it. ls -lR > dir-tree.list # Creates a file containing a listing of the directory tree. : > filename # The > truncates file "filename" to zero length. # If file not present, creates zero-length file (same effect as 'touch'). # The : serves as a dummy placeholder, producing no output. > filename # The > truncates file "filename" to zero length. # If file not present, creates zero-length file (same effect as 'touch'). # (Same result as ": >", above, but this does not work with some shells.) COMMAND_OUTPUT >> # Redirect stdout to a file. # Creates the file if not present, otherwise appends to it. # Single-line redirection commands (affect only the line they are on): # -------------------------------------------------------------------- 1>filename # Redirect stdout to file "filename." 1>>filename # Redirect and append stdout to file "filename." 2>filename # Redirect stderr to file "filename." 2>>filename # Redirect and append stderr to file "filename." &>filename # Redirect both stdout and stderr to file "filename." # # Note that &>>filename #+ -- attempting to redirect and *append* #+ stdout and stderr to file "filename" -- #+ fails with the error message, #+ syntax error near unexpected token `>'. M>N # "M" is a file descriptor, which defaults to 1, if not explicitly set. # "N" is a filename. # File descriptor "M" is redirect to file "N." M>&N # "M" is a file descriptor, which defaults to 1, if not set. # "N" is another file descriptor. #============================================================================== # Redirecting stdout, one line at a time. LOGFILE=script.log echo "This statement is sent to the log file, \"$LOGFILE\"." 1>$LOGFILE echo "This statement is appended to \"$LOGFILE\"." 1>>$LOGFILE echo "This statement is also appended to \"$LOGFILE\"." 1>>$LOGFILE echo "This statement is echoed to stdout, and will not appear in \"$LOGFILE\"." # These redirection commands automatically "reset" after each line. # Redirecting stderr, one line at a time. ERRORFILE=script.errors bad_command1 2>$ERRORFILE # Error message sent to $ERRORFILE. bad_command2 2>>$ERRORFILE # Error message appended to $ERRORFILE. bad_command3 # Error message echoed to stderr, #+ and does not appear in $ERRORFILE. # These redirection commands also automatically "reset" after each line. #=======================================================================
2>&1 # Redirects stderr to stdout. # Error messages get sent to same place as standard output. i>&j # Redirects file descriptor i to j. # All output of file pointed to by i gets sent to file pointed to by j. >&j # Redirects, by default, file descriptor 1 (stdout) to j. # All stdout gets sent to file pointed to by j.
0< FILENAME < FILENAME # Accept input from a file. # Companion command to ">", and often used in combination with it. # # grep search-word <filename [j]<>filename # Open file "filename" for reading and writing, #+ and assign file descriptor "j" to it. # If "filename" does not exist, create it. # If file descriptor "j" is not specified, default to fd 0, stdin. # # An application of this is writing at a specified place in a file. echo 1234567890 > File # Write string to "File". exec 3<> File # Open "File" and assign fd 3 to it. read -n 4 <&3 # Read only 4 characters. echo -n . >&3 # Write a decimal point there. exec 3>&- # Close fd 3. cat File # ==> 1234.67890 # Random access, by golly. | # Pipe. # General purpose process and command chaining tool. # Similar to ">", but more general in effect. # Useful for chaining commands, scripts, files, and programs together. cat *.txt | sort | uniq > result-file # Sorts the output of all the .txt files and deletes duplicate lines, # finally saves results to "result-file".
command < input-file > output-file command1 | command2 | command3 > output-file
ls -yz >> command.log 2>&1 # Capture result of illegal options "yz" in file "command.log." # Because stderr is redirected to the file, #+ any error messages will also be there. # Note, however, that the following does *not* give the same result. ls -yz 2>&1 >> command.log # Outputs an error message and does not write to file. # If redirecting both stdout and stderr, #+ the order of the commands makes a difference.
Close input file descriptor
- 0<&-, <&-
Close output file descriptor
- 1>&-, >&-
# Redirecting only stderr to a pipe. exec 3>&1 # Save current "value" of stdout. ls -l 2>&1 >&3 3>&- | grep bad 3>&- # Close fd 3 for 'grep' (but not 'ls'). # ^^^^ ^^^^ exec 3>&- # Now close it for the remainder of the script. # Thanks, S.C.
For a more detailed introduction to I/O redirection see Appendix E.
By convention in UNIX and Linux, data streams and peripherals (device files) are treated as files, in a fashion analogous to ordinary files.