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LPI Linux LPIC-1 101 and CompTIA Linux+

Use Streams, Pipes, and Redirects

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LPIC1 & CompTIA Linux+ Intro

Hardware Settings

Boot the System

Change Runlevels and Reboot or Shutdown the System

Design Hard Disk Layout

Install a Boot Manager

Manage Shared Libraries

Debian Package Management

RPM & YUM Package Management

Work on the Command Line

Process Text Streams Using Filters

Perform Basic File Management

Use Streams, Pipes, and Redirects

00:00:00 - Okay, welcome to Nugget 103.4 where we're going
00:00:03 - to talk about using streams, pipes and redirects for, well, basically
00:00:08 - text that comes out of and goes into a standard program. So
00:00:11 - we're going to talk about three things. We're going to talk about standard input,
00:00:14 - standard output and standard error. Now, if that seems a little
00:00:18 - bit confusing, don't worry. We're going to explain those as well. But then we're going
00:00:22 - to talk about what we can do with those things. We're going to
00:00:24 - learn to pipe it using the pipe symbol which is on your keyboard.
00:00:28 - We're going to use the tee which is just like a plumber would
00:00:31 - use a tee.
00:00:33 - Well, I don't think a plumber would use a tee that I drew. But basically, it's
00:00:37 - where one thing goes in and several things come out. And then
00:00:41 - we're going to learn how to make the output of one command
00:00:44 - the input of another command using xargs. Alright, so before
00:00:48 - we do any of that, let's take a closer look at what standard
00:00:50 - input, standard output and standard error are all about.
00:00:55 - Alright, it's pretty simple. The standard input is the stuff a
00:00:59 - program chews up. For example, if it's a program that manipulates
00:01:03 - a bunch of texts, this is a way that you can send that bunch of text
00:01:06 - to it. Then the standard output is the stuff a program
00:01:10 - spits out. If you type ls, it's the results that it puts on the
00:01:13 - screen. So that's the standard output. And then standard error is
00:01:16 - something that you generally don't see unless something goes
00:01:19 - wrong. If something goes wrong or, or it wants to spit
00:01:22 - out an error, that is the way that it complains. It's like another
00:01:26 - output file. Generally, it goes right to the console, but you can
00:01:30 - redirect that separately from the standard output when there's
00:01:32 - not something that goes wrong. So let's look at those things
00:01:35 - in action.
00:01:36 - Alright, first let's start with standard input, alright. Now, you
00:01:40 - might remember the wc command is word count. But let's see
00:01:43 - what we have in here. We have file1, file2, file3 and they each have
00:01:47 - like one word or something in it, just a little bit of text in
00:01:49 - each file, all right. So let's do the word count command. We did learn
00:01:53 - that a nugget or two ago on this. Now, we see there's one word, one
00:01:58 - line, eight characters in file1.txt, alright. Word count will
00:02:02 - tell us what file it's working on so we could actually do star
00:02:07 - and remember file globbing, and it's going show us every one of
00:02:10 - them and then the total at the end, alright. So it tells us the,
00:02:14 - the characters, the lines, the,
00:02:17 - or I'm sorry, the lines, the words, the characters, and then the
00:02:20 - name of the file. Well, we could actually instead of giving it
00:02:23 - a file as a command, we could feed it standard input and it will work
00:02:28 - on whatever we, whatever we send it. So if we do the standard
00:02:31 - input command, a less than character, file1.txt, now
00:02:36 - what this is doing, the wc command isn't going to know
00:02:40 - that it's working on file1.txt. It's just gonna
00:02:43 - see in the standard input that it's getting the contents of that.
00:02:46 - So how does that look, how does that work differently? Well, the
00:02:49 - results are still the same. I mean it still has the same data,
00:02:52 - but again it doesn't know that it was file1. So it doesn't
00:02:55 - report any file name because it's just standard input. It's
00:02:59 - like that file1 was kind of like shoved into its mouth and
00:03:02 - it didn't even know what it was that, that it was working on, alright.
00:03:05 - So that's how you give something standard input. That's
00:03:09 - how you direct data into a program with standard input, with that
00:03:12 - less than sign. And it's a little bit confusing, but instead
00:03:16 - of an argument, it's just a way that you can feed some programs.
00:03:19 - Now, some programs don't accept data from the standard
00:03:23 - input, alright. So it's important to know that it doesn't work
00:03:26 - for all files, and we're going to learn later on what you do
00:03:29 - when those type of programs
00:03:31 - don't accept standard input, how you do that. But anyway, that's
00:03:34 - how standard input works.
00:03:36 - Alright, next I want to show you how standard output works.
00:03:39 - Let's clear the screen. I'll see what files we have in there. Now, we can
00:03:43 - redirect the standard output. See. what happened is we, we typed
00:03:47 - ls and the standard output was for it to say file1, file2
00:03:50 - file3 right on the console. Now, if we wanted to redirect
00:03:53 - the standard output into a file like ls.txt,
00:03:58 - what we're going to see here is, now there's two ways to
00:04:01 - write this. We can just do ls > means redirect standard
00:04:03 - output into this file, ls.txt. When we do that, we'll get
00:04:07 - no output on the screen. But if you look, now there's a file called ls.txt
00:04:12 - and inside there are going to be the files listed
00:04:16 - right there that it saw, alright, so that it redirects the
00:04:20 - output into, the standard output into there. But there, you can
00:04:24 - also do this, ls 1 > ls.txt. Alright,
00:04:30 - now what that means is one signifies standard output and the
00:04:34 - only reason you need to, need to know that is that ls 2
00:04:39 - greater than
00:04:41 - ls.txt. This is going to redirect something to, that is
00:04:46 - going to redirect the errors, but there were no errors. So
00:04:49 - right now if you look,
00:04:52 - that file is empty. It has zero length, ls.txt, because while
00:04:57 - it did show the, the standard output on the screen it
00:05:01 - redirected the error or standard error to this file but
00:05:05 - there were no errors. If we want to see something go into
00:05:08 - there, what we could do is say, ls bob. Now, there is no bob so
00:05:13 - it should give us an error. And if we redirect the error into
00:05:17 - ls.txt,
00:05:19 - nothing appeared on the screen. However, if we look inside
00:05:24 - that, again we used cat from a previous nugget as well, concatenate,
00:05:27 - it will type this out on the screen, if we look inside ls.txt,
00:05:31 - we'll see that it stored this error, okay. Now, it didn't
00:05:36 - come on the regular screen like ls did. It went into the
00:05:39 - standard error and we redirected that into a file. So again,
00:05:43 - you have, up here this is a, whoop, I didn't mean to do that.
00:05:48 - This shows you two different things. This one redirects the standard
00:05:52 - output when there's no errors, just whatever the program outputs
00:05:56 - into a file called ls.txt. We did that and it, it will
00:06:00 - put these contents just like up here into that file. And then
00:06:04 - ls 2 > is going to redirected it in, just the
00:06:08 - standard error into ls.txt which is what happened
00:06:11 - down here, alright. It's important to know that there's like two different avenues
00:06:15 - a program can output stuff. Either the standard output when when
00:06:18 - it does what it's supposed to and nothing's going wrong,
00:06:21 - and then it's almost like a different channel on TV that it sends
00:06:24 - the errors when something goes wrong. Now, by default they both
00:06:27 - go to the command or to the, to the console, right. So if we
00:06:31 - didn't redirect anything, they both go to the console. Ls goes right
00:06:34 - to the console,
00:06:37 - and the error, standard error goes right to the console, see.
00:06:40 - But we redirected those to files and you have to specify which
00:06:43 - you're redirecting, alright. So that's, that's how those two things
00:06:47 - work. I guess the only other thing that you want to know is that
00:06:52 - if you just use the >, it's going to overwrite
00:06:54 - the file every time. Let's say we wanted to keep a log or
00:06:57 - something, then you would want to
00:07:01 - do the greater than greater than (>>). And what that's going to do is
00:07:03 - append onto the end of ls.txt, alright.
00:07:07 - So if we do that a few times,
00:07:10 - now we'll see that it's going to append onto the end of ls.txt
00:07:14 - instead of writing over it every time. So see, it just keeps adding
00:07:18 - to the end if you do >>. And the same
00:07:21 - thing with.
00:07:23 - ls bob 2>> ls.txt.
00:07:27 - Now, what this is going to do, let's walk through
00:07:29 - this, ls bob, we know that bob doesn't exist, right? So we're expecting
00:07:33 - an error. Well, what it's doing is taking, redirecting the standard
00:07:37 - error. But instead of just one greater than sign, we have two
00:07:41 - so it's going to append it to the existing ls.txt.
00:07:44 - So we'll do that a couple times, three times. And now let's look at
00:07:49 - ls.txt, which is getting significantly big now.
00:07:53 - And you'll see it just like it was before, but then we added these errors onto the
00:07:56 - end. Now, one last thing I want to show you is how you can redirect,
00:08:02 - well, I'll show you two more things. One, alright, let's clear the screen.
00:08:05 - Let's get rid of our ls.txt. So we're back at the
00:08:08 - beginning. We just have these three files, right? Now, you can
00:08:12 - redirect these things separately, alright. So you can say,
00:08:16 - ls bob. We know that's going to create an error. And we're
00:08:21 - going to put the standard error into or the standard output.
00:08:27 - We're going to put that into results.txt and we're
00:08:32 - going to put the standard error into errors.txt, alright.
00:08:37 - So ls bob.
00:08:39 - And now nothing comes out because we're redirected both of these
00:08:41 - separately. But if we look,
00:08:44 - ls bob, now the results has zero file length, right,
00:08:48 - because there were no, there was nothing in standard output.
00:08:52 - But there was a lot in the standard error which we've redirected
00:08:56 - into errors.txt, alright. So what if
00:09:00 - we instead of saying ls bob
00:09:03 - we just did ls, right? So now this is going to take ls and
00:09:07 - it's going to redirect the standard output into
00:09:10 - results.txt. Now, we would expect that to actually return
00:09:14 - results and we would expect results to get stuff in it. And
00:09:16 - errors we would expect nothing to show up in there. So
00:09:19 - let's see.
00:09:22 - And that's exactly what we would expect to happen. So if we cat errors,
00:09:28 - yes, there's stuff in there. But remember that's from the first time
00:09:30 - we did it, okay. We didn't erase it afterwards. So that's the
00:09:33 - very first time we did ls bob. That's where it actually
00:09:38 - put it into the errors.txt.
00:09:42 - Now, if we looked in results, it's going to be those files again. So
00:09:46 - that's the standard output that was redirected, alright. One last thing
00:09:50 - and then we'll, we'll be done and you're going to be professionals
00:09:52 - on the whole standard output, standard error and standard input, alright.
00:09:57 - Okay, the one thing you can do is what if you want both standard
00:10:01 - output and standard error in one place, alright? Now, you could
00:10:05 - just redirect them both to the same place. But what you usually
00:10:07 - see is, now let's see. What do we have in here? We just have, okay,
00:10:12 - I've erased all the other stuff. We just have our original three files, okay. So let's
00:10:16 - say that we want to do an ls bob. Now, we know that's
00:10:21 - going to create an error. See, no such file or directory, alright.
00:10:24 - But let's say we want to redirect the standard output into
00:10:29 - output.txt. Now, again we're, I'll run it just to show you, step by step,
00:10:34 - okay. Nothing is going to be in output.txt because
00:10:38 - that was standard output that we redirected, and this is a
00:10:40 - standard error, alright. So output.txt is here zero length,
00:10:45 - nothing in it, alright. Let's get rid of it
00:10:49 - so that, you know, we just have these three files again. So what
00:10:51 - we're going to do is the same thing. We're going to do ls bob. We know that
00:10:54 - that's going to create output into standard error. We're going
00:10:58 - to redirect standard output into output.txt, but here is where
00:11:02 - we're going to get tricky. We're going to redirect standard error
00:11:07 - into standard output. So both of them end up in standard output, alright.
00:11:13 - It's kinda like we're just going to send all the errors into our
00:11:16 - standard output too so they all end up in that output.txt. Now,
00:11:20 - you can't just say standard error into one because what that's
00:11:24 - going to do is going to, going to create a file called 1 and
00:11:26 - that's what want. We wanted to go into standard output.
00:11:30 - So if you put &1, that tells it that, okay, you
00:11:34 - don't want me to create a file called 1. You want standard
00:11:38 - error redirected into standard output. So if we do this, what
00:11:42 - we're going to end up with
00:11:44 - is the standard error redirected into the same place as standard
00:11:48 - output. So here you should see
00:11:51 - output now
00:11:54 - has an error in it. Now, again we tried it up here and it had nothing
00:11:58 - in it, right, because the error, the standard error wasn't redirected there.
00:12:02 - Well, here it's standard output, it's output.txt, but
00:12:05 - we've redirected the standard error into standard output.
00:12:10 - I know that's a lot of confusing lingo. But hopefully, if you look through the
00:12:13 - examples, you'll see exactly what it is that's going on, alright.
00:12:16 - And that's how standard output, standard error work. Now, let's
00:12:20 - move on and talk about manipulating some, with pipes
00:12:24 - and xargs and stuff like that.
00:12:27 - Alright, the first thing we're going to look at is the pipe symbol.
00:12:30 - Now, if we do an ls, the output that we get is file1, file2,
00:12:33 - file3. We get a listing of the files in the directory.
00:12:36 - Now, what you can do is use this pipe character. This is
00:12:39 - generally right above the enter key on your keyboard. It's
00:12:42 - like shift back, yeah, shift backslash usually. But the pipe
00:12:46 - command will take the standard output from the program that you're
00:12:50 - using and put it as the standard input for whatever goes
00:12:55 - after the pipe. So one of the things that you'll commonly
00:12:58 - do is use grep
00:13:00 - and let's see. We're going to grep which searches for something
00:13:03 - in the, in the string that it's given. So we know that the output from
00:13:07 - ls, the standard output is going to be this list of files.
00:13:10 - So let's grep the number three. So what we should see now
00:13:15 - is that what it does, it took the standard output from ls,
00:13:18 - these three file names, and it searched for the number three
00:13:23 - and it found that in one line, the one called file3.txt.
00:13:26 - So what it's done again, it's kind of easy to visualize. You
00:13:31 - just take the output of this and pipe it into whatever is after the pipe symbol.
00:13:35 - And the downside is this doesn't work for every application.
00:13:40 - Not all applications accept standard input as a way to get
00:13:45 - information. Now, grep does thankfully because this is a really handy thing
00:13:49 - to do, you know. You can search for a big list of files or,
00:13:53 - you know all that kind of stuff. Pipe it into grep and search for what you're
00:13:55 - looking for. But some programs don't accept things on standard
00:14:00 - input, and that's where the next application we're going to
00:14:03 - look at comes in and that is xargs.
00:14:07 - So let's do a similar situation, but instead of using grep,
00:14:12 - let's try to use echo, alright. Now, we know how echo works. We say
00:14:16 - echo hello and it says hello. But let's say we wanted to echo what
00:14:22 - came out of ls. Well, if we just use the pipe, we would expect
00:14:27 - that if we did this, it would echo the list of file names. But
00:14:32 - it doesn't and that's because echo doesn't accept things on
00:14:36 - standard input. So basically, all it did was echo this blank, you know.
00:14:40 - We put nothing after it. It didn't accept anything on standard
00:14:42 - input. So it just printed a blank for us. So what would you want
00:14:47 - to do if you wanted to do that? Well, that's where the xargs
00:14:50 - command comes into play. So what you do is you do ls
00:14:54 - and you pipe, but this time you pipe into xargs, okay.
00:14:59 - And what this does, and then you do echo. So what this does, we're
00:15:03 - piping in standard output into xargs standard input this
00:15:08 - list of files. And then what xargs does is it runs whatever command
00:15:12 - you tell it to and then it, it kind of plunks in what it took on
00:15:16 - standard input as arguments for that command. So if we do this,
00:15:22 - sure enough we get the list of files just like out of the ls
00:15:25 - command, alright. So ls gave us this, you know, this output. We piped
00:15:29 - that into the xargs command and then xargs in turn ran
00:15:34 - echo with that as an argument and then it printed it out. So see the difference
00:15:38 - here. We just piped it directly into echo and it doesn't accept standard
00:15:41 - input. But xargs kind of does a nice little work around and it will
00:15:47 - put it as arguments at the end instead of trying to put it
00:15:49 - into echo, the echo program, the standard input. So again,
00:15:53 - this is kind of a confusing,
00:15:56 - you know, concept to wrap your mind around. But kind of look
00:15:58 - what happened and what the differences here and hopefully that
00:16:00 - will make sense because understanding standard input, standard
00:16:04 - output, standard error and then xargs and pipes; it's kind
00:16:07 - of important if you're going to work on the command line a
00:16:10 - lot. And hopefully this has cleared it up quite a bit. Now, there's
00:16:13 - one more thing to look at and then we're going to move
00:16:16 - on from a redirection.
00:16:18 - So in this instance what we want to do is we want to both
00:16:22 - display things on the console like we type ls and the standard
00:16:26 - output comes right here in the console. But we also want to log it to
00:16:30 - a file. Well, it's actually more difficult than it seems. You could
00:16:33 - run it twice. You could do, you know, ls and then ls
00:16:37 - and then redirect it into a file standard output. But what if
00:16:40 - you want to do both which is something that you would want to do
00:16:43 - if you're writing a program and you want to see what it's doing
00:16:45 - but also keep a log. And that's where the nice little program tee
00:16:49 - comes into place. So what we do is ls. Now, if we just redirected
00:16:53 - that into output.txt, we would see
00:16:59 - in output those files, right? Well, let's get rid of output
00:17:04 - and, but when we did that, see,
00:17:06 - there was no output on the screen, right? We didn't see the actual
00:17:10 - ls command because we redirected it. But if we were to do this and
00:17:14 - we pipe it,
00:17:16 - the standard output into the tee program, okay, so just like
00:17:20 - we piped into the xargs program, now we're going pipe the standard
00:17:25 - output into the tee program,
00:17:28 - and we'll make a file output.txt. Now remember we just
00:17:32 - deleted this. So there is no file called output.txt
00:17:35 - right now. But if we do this, it's going to do two things.
00:17:39 - It's going to show us the results of that ls command but also
00:17:46 - it's going to add that to a file, see. So it seems pretty simple,
00:17:52 - but in practice it's rough to do without this nice little command
00:17:55 - called tee which does, it both puts it into a file and displays
00:17:59 - it on the screen, alright. So that's tee in a nutshell and that pretty
00:18:03 - much finishes up our section on file and text redirection, alright.
00:18:08 - So let's go back over, make sure we covered anything and
00:18:10 - then we'll move on to the next nugget.
00:18:12 - Alright, so looking at the topics we need to cover in this nugget, we went over standard
00:18:17 - input, standard output, standard error in some depth quite
00:18:21 - a bit. Hopefully, you understand what those are. We talked
00:18:23 - about pipes and how that takes the output and makes it the
00:18:26 - input of another program. Again, the standard output and the standard
00:18:29 - input. Then tee, we actually just finished learning about tee which
00:18:33 - basically just takes it and sends it in two different directions. Again,
00:18:37 - forgive my graphics here. And right before that we learned about
00:18:40 - xargs which is kind of a neat program that just gets around
00:18:43 - those certain programs that don't accept commands on standard
00:18:47 - input so that you can just make them arguments on a command
00:18:50 - that otherwise wouldn't be able to do those. So this is how
00:18:53 - this works, and I hope that this has been informative for you.
00:18:57 - And I would like to thank you for watching.

Create, Monitor, and Kill Processes

Process Priorities

Search Text Files with Regular Expressions

Perform Basic File Editing Operations Using vi

Create Partitions and Filesystems

Maintain the Integrity of Filesystems

Control Mounting and Unmounting of Filesystems

Manage Disk Quotas

Manage File Permissions and Ownership

Create and Change Hard and Symbolic Links

Find System Files and Place Files in the Correct Location

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Shawn Powers

Shawn Powers

CBT Nuggets Trainer

Certifications:
LPIC-1; CompTIA Linux+, A+; Cisco CCNA

Area Of Expertise:
Linux

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