I started using sed recently. One handy way I use it is to ignore unimportant lines of a log file:

tail -f example.com-access.log | sed '/;/ELB-/d;/408 0 "-" "-"/d;'

But when I try to use it similarly with find, the results aren't as expected. I am trying to ignore any line that contains "Permission denied" like this:

find . -name "openssl" | sed '/Permission denied/d;'

However, I still get a whole bunch of "Permission denied" messages in stdout.


As mentioned in the correct answer below, the "Permission denied" messages are appearing in stderr and NOT stdout.

marked as duplicate by Michael Mrozek Sep 26 '13 at 12:57

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

migrated from serverfault.com Jul 10 '13 at 16:16

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

  • You should look into grep/egrep. – Michael Hampton Jul 10 '13 at 2:13
  • @MichaelHampton I don't see how grep would help me out here. – Ben Harold Jul 10 '13 at 2:14
  • By filtering things out of the log file that you don't want to see, of course. – Michael Hampton Jul 10 '13 at 2:17
  • 1
    @Ben You can, however, exclude the results that you do know. (-v) – Andrew B Jul 10 '13 at 2:53
  • 2
    Last comment, because this is about to get locked. If this works, upvote with no reply. find . -name "openssl" 2>&1 | grep -v "Permission denied" – Andrew B Jul 10 '13 at 4:35

The problem is error ouput printed to stderr, so the sed command can't catch the input. The simple solution is: redirecting stderr to stdout.

find . -name "openssl" 2>&1 | sed '/Permission denied/d;'
  • Beat me to it. The subshell isn't necessary though. – Andrew B Jul 10 '13 at 2:58
  • So the error is printed to stderr whereas sed is reading from stdout? Also, could you explain "2>&1" specifically? – Ben Harold Jul 10 '13 at 3:18
  • @Ben Output redirection only effects STDOUT. 2>&1 redirects file descriptor 2 (STDERR) to file descriptor 1 (STDOUT). – Andrew B Jul 10 '13 at 3:45
  • @Andrew: edited answer. And I think 2>1 is the same as 2>&1. – cuonglm Jul 10 '13 at 4:55
  • 3
    @Gnouc: "2>1" redirects stdout (file descriptor 2) to a file named "1". It isn't the same as "2>&1", where the "&1" indicates "file descriptor 1, aka stdout". – ThatGraemeGuy Jul 10 '13 at 7:57

I'm not sure why you are trying to use sed to remove permission denied messages from output of find - unless you are trying to learn how to use sed.

I would simply run this instead:

find . -name "openssl" 2>/dev/null

Here, I'm redirecting stderr (file descriptor 2) over to /dev/null (refer to man null). In other words, 2>/dev/null simply discards everything written to stderr.

  • Great stuff. You wouldn't believe how many verbose and needlessly complex answers I've seen for this... – Robbie Dee Nov 2 '16 at 9:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.