I'm trying to write the output of strace ls to a file. I know that I need to use > in order to forward output of a command to a file, but it doesn't work. It creates a file but the command prints the output of strace ls to stdout but writes the file name into the file.

$ strace ls > ls_sys.txt
strace output
$ cat ls_sys.txt
  • Related: piping strace to grep however it will likely be simpler to use the strace -o option rather than shell redirection Aug 27, 2020 at 17:57
  • Have you tried strace -o ls_sys.txt ls?
    – fpmurphy
    Aug 27, 2020 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


By default strace outputs to stderr. By simply typing man strace, you will have the full documentation of strace. In the manual page, it states that the -o option can be used to output it to a file instead of stderr. You can type man [insert command here] for the vast majority of programs, and have all the documentation you will need to effectively use them.

  • By default strace outputs to stderr, which is not accessible via grep or file redirection. Good to know! And I looked at the manual page of strace but I didn't see the -o option, my fault. Thanks! Aug 27, 2020 at 18:11
  • no problem, I actually just figured out this strace option myself yesterday. When you are in a man page, you can press / and it will bring a dialog that you can search. In my case, I simply searched for output and found the part of the man page I was looking for.
    – john doe
    Aug 27, 2020 at 18:13
  • 2
    What on Earth makes you think that you cannot redirect standard error or arrange for it to be sent through a pipe to grep?
    – JdeBP
    Aug 27, 2020 at 18:15
  • 6
    stderr can be redirected, using 2>. See this question. Aug 27, 2020 at 18:16
  • @JdeBP lack of knowledge
    – john doe
    Aug 27, 2020 at 18:19

For those looking for a command to run:

strace ./elf_file 2>strace_output.txt

  • 8
    Note that it redirects both the strace tracing and the ./elf_file errors to strace_output.txt. For that reason, it's better to use strace -o strace_output.txt ./elf_file or strace -o strace_output.txt ./elf_file 1> stdout.txt 2> stderr.txt if you want traces, stdout and stderr in different files. Jan 7, 2022 at 12:57

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