I was trying to have the output of a command as a target of redirection like this:

echo .envrc >> $(git config --global core.excludesfile)

But I get this error instead, where ~/.gitignore_global is the output of git config --global core.excludesfile.

bash: ~/.gitignore_global: No such file or directory

I was able to get it working using eval:

eval "echo .envrc >> $(git config --global core.excludesfile)"

Why didn't it work previously and is there a better way?

2 Answers 2


The problem is that the global git config contains a literal ~ (tilde) which is not interpreted by the shell when emitted as the result of a command substitution. Your global git config likely contains the following:

    excludesfile = ~/.gitignore_global

Your first command is the equivalent of the following construct, which uses single quotes to prevent shell interpretation of the ~ character:

echo .envrc >> '~/.gitignore_global'

Using eval fixes this because it causes (re-)intepretation of its string argument (in this case, the exact line above), including tilde expansion, which results in the expected command:

echo .envrc >> /home/your_user/.gitignore_global

Another way to fix this is to ensure the value in your global git config is a full path:

git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore_global

In this case, the shell will expand ~ to /home/your_user, so the contents of your global git config file will read something like:

    excludesfile = /home/your_user/.gitignore_global

It's better not to use tildas like this outside of an interactive shell. (Shell scripts usually use the $HOME environment variable). If you must, the better way is to do the expansion safely and that isn't easy: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3963716/how-to-manually-expand-a-special-variable-ex-tilde-in-bash/29310477#29310477

If it's just a one-time command, and you know what git config --global core.excludesfile evaluates to and that it's safe to eval that, then your solution is fine.

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