I have a script that expects files as arguments, and for each executes a set of instructions. How should I write it to be able to pipe it to find? In the example below, I haven't used find as such. I assume its output has the same structure as printf "%s\n..." (has it not?)


# !/bin/bash

    echo "help"

while [[ $# -gt 0 ]]
    case $1 in
            echo "$1"
            shift # past argument


$ cat foo; echo; cat bar

$ ./my-script.sh foo bar

But then:

$ printf "%s\n%s\n" "./foo" "./bar" | xargs -n 1 ./my-script.sh
./my-script.sh: 9: ./my-script.sh: [[: not found
./my-script.sh: 9: ./my-script.sh: [[: not found
  • Seek for error in line 14 of actual script
    – Archemar
    Feb 18, 2022 at 17:21
  • 2
    You show the code for my-script.sh but you're piping to foo.sh. Can you show the actual code that is failing? You can also checkout shellcheck for help.
    – doneal24
    Feb 18, 2022 at 17:22
  • @doneal24 the code is now copy pasted from cat my-script.sh
    – Erwann
    Feb 18, 2022 at 17:29
  • 4
    Your shebang # !/bin/bash is broken I think - you may have whitespace after #! but not between the # and the !. Likely xargs is defaulting to /bin/sh in this case - which doesn't support the ksh/bash/zsh [[ ... ]] extended test construct Feb 18, 2022 at 17:44
  • ... whereas when you run it directly from your (bash?) interactive shell, it's likely being executed using bash in spite of the broken shebang. See for example Which shell interpreter runs a script with no shebang? Feb 18, 2022 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


Your shebang

# !/bin/bash

is invalid (it just looks like a comment). Whitespace is permitted after the #!, but not between the # and the !.

Because of that, the script run via xargs is being interpreted by /bin/sh - which does not support the [[ ... ]] extended test syntax (originally from ksh).

When you run the script directly from your interactive shell instead of via xargs, it is likely being interpreted by a bash child shell. See Which shell interpreter runs a script with no shebang?

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