I have a text file with various IP addresses.

I would like to cycle through each, and issue a command:

cat ips.txt | xargs -L 1 `ssh me@__IP__ echo "text" > file; reboot;`

But I'm unsure how to pass the xargs value to _IP_.

Could someone explain how this could be accomplished?

2 Answers 2


You don't need either cat or xargs for this: a simple read in a loop would suffice:

while read -r IP;do
    ssh me@$IP echo "text" > file
done < ips.txt

For future reference, what you want for xargs can be achieved with the -I option: you supply a name after -I and any instances of that name in the command itself will be replaced by the arguments xargs receives on the pipe:

... | xargs -L 1 -I myip ssh me@myip 'echo "text">file;reboot'
  • Thanks! I was using -I earlier, which was actually rebooting my server by mistake for some reason :) thanks this is very helpful!
    – d-_-b
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 22:55
  • 2
    @d-_-b This is because the shell (rightfully) interprets the semicolon as terminating the xargs command. To avoid this, quote your arguments: ... shh me@myip 'echo text > file;reboot'
    – Joseph R.
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 23:05
  • From man page: -I Implies -x and -L 1
    – Pablo A
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 0:46

With GNU Parallel you can do it in parallel:

parallel --slf ips.txt --nonall 'echo "text" > file; reboot;'

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