Differences between “>” and “>>” in Linux

Sandeep Agrawal
2 min readOct 17, 2023

Linux, a powerful and versatile operating system, offers a plethora of commands and tools to manage files and processes.

Among these are two important operators for redirecting output: > and >>. While they may seem similar at first glance, they serve distinct purposes and have unique behaviors.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between “>” and “>>” in Linux.

The Basics

Practical Scenarios

Use Cases

Cautionary Notes

  1. Overwriting: Be cautious when using “>”, as it will overwrite an existing file without any prompt.
    Always double-check your command and the file name.
  2. Permissions: Ensure you have the necessary permissions to read and write to the file you’re redirecting output to.
  3. Errors: If an error occurs, it’s typically written to the standard error (stderr) stream, which is not affected by either “>” or “>>”.
    To capture errors as well, you would need to use “2>" or "2>>"

Conclusion

Understanding the distinction between > and >> in Linux is fundamental for effective file management and automation.
While > creating or overwriting files, >> appending to existing ones.

By leveraging these operators effectively, you can efficiently manage outputs and logs in your Linux environment.

Remember to exercise caution, especially when overwriting files, and always verify your commands before execution. Happy scripting!

Visit Techtalkbook to find more related topics.

Originally published at https://techtalkbook.com on October 17, 2023.

--

--