Questions about either the shell builtin or `/bin/echo`. This tag should not be used if your question is simply about printing to the terminal, only apply it if your question is specific to the `echo` command.

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144
votes
5answers
47k views

Why is printf better than echo?

I have heard that printf is better than echo and I can recall only one instance from my experience where I had to use printf because echo didn't work for feeding some text into some program on RHEL ...
5
votes
3answers
625 views

Construct a command by putting a string into a tty

I managed to do this echo -n "command" > /dev/tty1 The letters appear, and the cursor moves, but they are "ghosts" - if you hit enter, nothing happens (they are not in stdin). Edit: In the ...
10
votes
3answers
20k views

How do I set an environment variable on the command line and have it appear in commands?

If I run export TEST=foo echo $TEST It outputs foo. If I run TEST=foo echo $TEST It does not. How can I get this functionality without using export or a script?
85
votes
3answers
8k views

Why is “echo” so much faster than “touch”?

I'm trying to update the timestamp to the current time on all of the xml files in my directory (recursively). I'm using Mac OSX 10.8.5. On about 300,000 files, the following echo command takes 10 ...
9
votes
3answers
681 views

What defines the maximum size for a command single argument?

I was under the impression that the maximum length of a single argument was not the problem here so much as the total size of the overall argument array plus the size of the environment, which is ...
3
votes
3answers
98 views

Print a message from the left-hand side of a pipe

I want to use a variable from the main shell in a sub shell. I did: export mysql_root_password="test" ( echo $mysql_root_password ) | dialog --gauge "Working hard..." 6 50 There is no output. ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Escape sequences with “echo -e” in different shells

I just noticed that it seems like the flag -e does not exist for the echo command in my shell on Linux. Is this just a messed up setting or is it "normal"? Some code as an example: #!/bin/sh echo -e ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Why is echo ignoring my quote characters?

The echo command isn't including the complete text that I give it. For example, if I do: $ echo ' echo PARAM=` grep $ARG /var/tmp/setfile | awk '{print $2}' ` ' It outputs: echo PARAM=` ...
5
votes
2answers
480 views

Quoted vs unquoted string expansion

for i in $(xrandr); do echo "$i" ; done for i in "$(xrandr)"; do echo "$i"; done for i in "$(xrandr)"; do echo $i; done I understand why 1 differs from 2. But why does 3 give a different output ...