I have an executable that starts a user-interactive shell. I would like to, upon launch of the shell, inject a few commands first, then allow the user to have their interactive session. I can do this easily using echo:

echo "command 1\ncommand 2\ncommand3" | ./shell_executable

This almost works. The problem is that the echo command that is feeding the process's stdin hits EOF once it's done echoing my commands. This EOF causes the shell to terminate immediately (as if you'd pressed Ctrl+D in the shell).

Is there a way to inject these commands into stdin without causing an EOF afterwards?

  • Have you tried adding ./shell_executable to the end of the list of commands? That might keep it going, although you'll have two running instances (parent & child). – goldilocks Dec 5 '13 at 17:31

Found this clever answer in a similar question at stackoverflow

(echo -e "cmd 1\ncmd 2" && cat) | ./shell_executable

This does the trick. cat will pump in the output of echo into input stream of shell_executable and wait for more inputs until EOF.


The cleanest way to do this is probably to look for something like bash's --rcfile option. Put your custom commands in your custom file and pass it to the interactive shell to run on start-up.

If no such option exists you can also try the following:

cat custom_commands_file - | ./shell_executable

cat will interpret - as stdin.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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