4. pipe and tee

Let's get into some plumbing now, not really but kinda. Let's try a command:

$ ls -la /etc

You should see a very long list of items, it's a little hard to read actually. Instead of redirecting this output to a file, wouldn't it be nice if we could just see the output in another command like less? Well we can!

$ ls -la /etc | less 

The pipe operator |, represented by a vertical bar, allows us to get the stdout of a command and make that the stdin to another process. In this case, we took the stdout of ls -la /etc and then piped it to the less command. The pipe command is extremely useful and we will continue to use it for all eternity.

Well what if I wanted to write the output of my command to two different streams? That's possible with the tee command:

$ ls | tee peanuts.txt

You should see the output of ls on your screen and if you open up the peanuts.txt file you should see the same information!


Try the following commands:

$ ls | tee peanuts.txt banan.txt


What key represents the pipe operator?