Take the 2-minute tour ×
Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems.. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was originally of the impression that

$ ./myprog

is exactly the same as

$ echo moo > cow
$ ./myprog < cow

But I found that myprog always counts one more \n in the second version than in the first. Why is this?

Turns out wc does the same thing...

$ wc -l

(Apparently zero lines is possible?)

$ echo moo > cow
$ wc -l < cow

Can anyone explain this to me?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

echo appends a newline, unless you tell it not to, by putting -n first or \c at the end, or putting -e first and \c at the end or... you really don't want to know all the varieties of echo. Use printf moo > cow and you'll have a file with zero lines.

share|improve this answer
+1: printf is much more portable than echo. –  jw013 Sep 4 '12 at 0:21

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.