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I created a two backup scripts - one for files (filebackup.sh) and another for database (dbbackup.sh). filebackup.sh calls dbbackup.sh and stores the output in a variable. The output returned by dbbackup.sh is the tar filename in which the script has stored all the backed up databases.

The script dbbackup.sh contains the following at the end:

echo $TARFILE > /dev/tty

The script filebackup.sh calls dbbackup.sh like this:

DBBACKUP="`/scripts/dbbackup.sh &>/dev/null`"

This dumps all extra output from the script to /dev/null and ensures only the filename is returned.

Everything works except when I call filebackup.sh, the filename is printed to screen. The variable $DBBACKUP remains empty. What am I doing wrong here?

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In short: just remove the >/dev/tty part from dbbackup.sh; use just:


This will print $TARFILE to the standard output, i.e., to the screen if you're running dbbackup.sh in a terminal, or to the a file/pipe if redirection is in place (as happens with the shell backquote/$(...) expansion).

There is also another reason why the thing won't work, even if you correct the issue above: your dbbackup.sh script prints the tar file name to standard output, but in the line

DBBACKUP="`dbbackup.sh >&/dev/null`"

you are discarding any output coming from dbbackup.sh (by redirecting it to /dev/null). If you only wanted to discard errors, then use the 2>/dev/null redirection.

Longer story: the line

echo $TARFILE > /dev/tty

redirects the output of the echo command to /dev/tty (the terminal to which the current process is attached) instead of printing to the standard output stream shared by other commands in the dbbackup.sh script. Therefore, when you further redirect the output of dbbackup.sh in dbbackup.sh >&/dev/null, this second redirection does not affect the echo command.

You might want to read a bit more on shell redirection and command substitution.

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