Is there any real benefit to using bash -c 'some command' over using bash <<< 'some command'

They seem to achieve the same effect.

  • 3
  • Hi @Patrick thanks for the notice. I really wasn't sure about where the best place to post was. Since, on the one hand this is a Linux question, but on the other hand bash is a kind of scripting language and the other site has more visitors. In a case like this, where would the more appropriate place be to post?
    – yosefrow
    Jun 4 '17 at 4:53
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    @yosefrow: Either site would have been fine IMHO; but crossposting is obnoxious (you're asking people on both sites to spend time on your question, without giving them the benefit of each others' answers).
    – ruakh
    Jun 4 '17 at 5:51
  • Would it be appropriate to delete the post from one of the sites then?
    – yosefrow
    Jun 4 '17 at 8:22
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    Another minor difference is that bash -c '...' will work in shells that do not have herestrings. You are assuming that bash will be called within a bash shell but this will not always be the case. Jun 4 '17 at 13:52

bash -c 'some command' retains access to the standard input of the caller, so read or commands reading from standard input will work normally. bash <<< 'some command' replaces that input with the line being passed in, so bash -c cat and bash <<< cat do different things.

$ bash -c cat
$ bash <<< cat

On the other hand, you could make use of that feature to provide your own standard input to be used through $'...', if you're very careful:

$ bash <<< $'read x y\nabc def ghi\necho $y'
def ghi

I wouldn't want to rely on that, but it could be convenient sometimes.

bash -c also allows arguments to be passed to the script, and $0 to be set:

bash -c 'some command' sh abc def

will set $1 to abc and $2 to def inside some command.

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    Syntax errors will also produce slightly different wording. Mainly that the bash -c ones mention -c, AFAIK. Not entirely pointless, as that can help track them down. bash <<< 'script' errors look just like ones in the parent script; bash -c 'script' ones do not. You can even label them: bash -c 'script' label.
    – derobert
    Jun 4 '17 at 3:43
  • Well, bash <<< 'echo $1' /dev/stdin foo works too, and prints foo. Though setting $0 is somewhat more limited.
    – ilkkachu
    Jun 4 '17 at 20:17
  • bash <<< 'echo "$1"' /dev/stdin foo doesn't always work.  I got bash <<< 'echo "$1"' -s foo to work. Jun 5 '17 at 0:59

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