I'm trying to create some error reporting using a Trap to call a function on all errors:

Trap "_func" ERR

Is it possible to get what line the ERR signal was sent from? The shell is bash.

If I do that, I can read and report what command was used and log/perform some actions.

Or maybe I'm going at this all wrong?

I tested with the following:


echo hello | grep "asdf"

And $LINENO is returning 2. Not working.

  • You can look at the bash debugger script bashdb. It seems that the first argument to trap can contain variables that are evaluated in the desired context. So trap 'echo $LINENO' ERR' should work. – donothingsuccessfully May 29 '12 at 18:53
  • hmm just tried this with a bad echo | grep command and it returns the line of the Trap statement. But I'll take a look at bashdb – Mechaflash May 29 '12 at 18:56
  • I'm so sorry... I didn't specify in my original question that I need a native solution. I edited the question. – Mechaflash May 29 '12 at 19:05
  • Sorry, I borked the example line: trap 'echo $LINENO' ERR. The first argument to trap is the entire echo $LINENO hardquoted. This is in bash. – donothingsuccessfully May 29 '12 at 19:43
  • 4
    @Mechaflash It would have to be trap 'echo $LINENO' ERR, with single quotes, not double quotes. With the command you wrote, $LINENO is expanded when line 2 is parsed, so the trap is echo 2 (or rather ECHO 2, which would output bash: ECHO: command not found). – Gilles May 29 '12 at 23:56

As pointed out in comments, your quoting is wrong. You need single quotes to prevent $LINENO from being expanded when the trap line is first parsed.

This works:

#! /bin/bash

err_report() {
    echo "Error on line $1"

trap 'err_report $LINENO' ERR

echo hello | grep foo  # This is line number 9

Running it:

 $ ./test.sh
 Error on line 9
  • thanks for the example with a function call. I didn't know that double quotes expanded the variable in this case. – Mechaflash May 30 '12 at 14:23
  • echo hello | grep foo doesn't seem to throw error for me. Am I misunderstanding something? – geotheory Dec 2 '15 at 22:15
  • @geotheory On my system grep has an exit status of 0 if there was a match, 1 if there was no match and >1 for an error. You can check the behavior on your system with echo hello | grep foo; echo $? – Patrick Dec 7 '15 at 23:17
  • No you're right it is an error :) – geotheory Dec 8 '15 at 9:56
  • Don't you need to use -e on the invocation line, to cause error on command failure? That is: #!/bin/bash -e ? – Tim Bird Mar 31 '17 at 22:39

You can also use the bash builtin 'caller':


err_report() {
  echo "errexit on line $(caller)" >&2

trap err_report ERR

echo hello | grep foo

it prints filename too:

$ ./test.sh
errexit on line 9 ./test.sh

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