I want to source a file in bash script. I know we can do -

. /path/to/file/file.cfg
source /path/to/file/file.cfg

But I am writing a single bash script in the world of Python scripts and need to use a config file created for Python scripts -

Python config file -

[section 1]

[section 2]

bash script -

source /path/to/python_config_file

echo $param1

Error I get -

/path/to/python_config_file: line 1: $'[section 1]\r': command not found

I tried to remove the [ ] lines -

source `sed -e 's/\[[^][]*\]//g' /path/to/python_config_file`
echo $param1

It dumps all the variables as output -

source $'\r' $'param1=val1\r' $'param2=val2\r' $'param1=val11\r' $'param2=val22\r'

: No such file or directory + echo

How do I resolve this? I know I can create a config file for bash but the issue is that the client doesn't want multiple config files as it'll become maintenance nightmare plus python + bash configs have to be synced.

  • Your file has CRLF line endings not standard LF endings. Convert it to unix style using unix2dos /path/to/python_config_file
    – Inian
    Apr 28, 2020 at 13:19
  • 2
    The bigger problem I see is that bash's value for "param1" (for example) would be overwritten with the last value in the file; you haven't distinguished "section 1" from "section 2" & etc.
    – Jeff Schaller
    Apr 28, 2020 at 13:25
  • Hi @Jeff, good catch! but this is temp file I had created quickly to demonstrate my problem.
    – sopana
    Apr 28, 2020 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


First, you need to remove the Windows-style endings from your file. If you don't need to use the file on Windows, you can simply run dos2unix /path/to/file/file.cfg. Then, if you're using bash, you can use process substitution:

. <(grep = /path/to/file/file.cfg)

This will let you source only those lines of file.cfg that contain a =, which should be exactly what you need.

If you can't/don't want to modify the file to remove the \rs, you can do thsi when reading it instead:

. <(grep = /path/to/file/file.cfg | tr -d '\r')
  • Hi @terdon, thanks for the solution. It worked!
    – sopana
    Apr 28, 2020 at 13:36
  • Hi @terdon, I think I'm facing the issue what Jeff has pointed out so is it possible to read only the lines after a particular section - [section 1] or [section 2]. If I supply the section name while executing the bash script?
    – sopana
    Apr 29, 2020 at 6:28
  • @sopana that's a considerably more complicated question. Can't you just change the names of the config variables so they are not repeated? Make it section1_param1 instead of param1? You can't use source to get different values into a variable of the same name. So if you can't change the names, then please ask a new question explaining the entire situation.
    – terdon
    Apr 30, 2020 at 12:42

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