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In a bash script, there are the following 2 lines:

segments=`echo $ipaddr | cut --delimiter=. --fields=2-3 --output-delimiter=/`

I do not know how to interpret the second line where the variable $segments is created.

How does this part work?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Here is the breakdown.

The echo will output whatever is in the variable $ipaddr

echo $ipaddr

This is then piped through to the following command.

Cut can be used to delimit (i.e. split into parts) a string. A parameter to cut tells it where to "cut" the string (here it is on points, so if the IP address is of the following format: "", it will be split into 198 51 100 and 0). Another parameter tells it which parts, of the string that it has cut, it should take. Here it is parts 2 and 3. In the example ip I gave above, this would give 51 and 100. A final paramter tells it to put together the parts it has selected (parts 2 and 3) with a new delimiter (here a slash). The result would be 51/100.

cut --delimiter=. --fields=2-3 --output-delimiter=/

The result of all this (in my example being 51/100) is saved inside the segments variable. Whenever you run the following:


whatever is between the backticks is executed. What it returns is passed to the left side of the equals sign.

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$somevar=`somecommand` should not have a dollar sign in the LHS. I tried to edit the post but lack the privileges. – tripleee Jan 24 '13 at 19:50

Let's dissect this.

echo $ipaddr

Assuming this is an IPv4 address written in decimal, this gives something like This we pipe to

`cut --delimiter=. --fields=2-3 --output-delimiter=/

This will chop each of its input lines (just one in this case) at '.', so we now have 100 90 80 70. It selects fields 2 to 3 from here, i.e. we keep 90 80. This is written out, separated by '/'. Result is 90/80, as a rapid experiment shows.

The above mostly from looking at the manual page for cut(1), my memory isn't that good.

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