Modifying “… | tee -a out.txt” to stream output live, rather than on completion?


I would need to output the output of a command on a file. Let's say my command is zip -r zip.zip directory , I would need to append/write (any of these options would be fine) to a file (let's say out.txt). I got zip zip.zip directory | tee -a out.txt so far, but it doesn't seem to work, it just writes the whole output when the command is over... How can I achieve this?

Thanks ;)

<h3>Background (ie. Why?)</h3>

Redirections are immediate -- when you run somecommand | tee -a out.txt, somecommand is set up with its stdout sent <em>directly</em> to a tee command, which is defined by its documentation to be unbuffered, and thus to write anything available on its input to its specified output sinks as quickly as possible. Similarly, somecommand >out.txt sets somecommand to be writing to out.txt literally <em>before</em> it's even started.

What's not immediate is flushing of buffered output.

That is to say: The standard C library, and most other tools/languages, <em>buffer</em> output on stdout, combining small writes into big ones. This is generally desirable, inasmuch as decreases the number of calls to and from kernel space ("context switches") in favor of doing a smaller number of more efficient, larger writes.

So your program isn't really waiting until it exits to write its output -- but it <em>is</em> waiting until its buffer (of maybe 32kb, or 64kb, or whatever) is full. If it never generates that much output at all, then it only gets flushed when closing the output stream.

<hr /><h3>Workarounds (How? -- GNU version)</h3>

If you're on a GNU platform, and your program is leaving its file descriptors the way it found them rather than trying to configure buffering <em>explicitly</em>, you can use the stdbuf command to configure buffering like so:

stdbuf -oL somecommand | tee -a out.txt

defines stdout (-o) to be line-buffered (L) when running somecommand.

<hr /><h3>Workarounds (How? -- Expect version)</h3>

Alternately, if you have expect installed, you can use the unbuffer helper it includes:

unbuffer somecommand | tee -a out.txt

...which will actually simulate a TTY (as expect does), getting the same non-buffered behavior you have when somecommand is connected directly to a console.


Did you try option command > out.log 2>&1 this log to file everything without displaying anything, everything will go straight to the file



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