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Whether you are a new Linux consumer or an professional bash programmer, it is very possible that you encountered the cryptic command 2>/dev/null. Whilst this command seems technically intricate, its reason is incredibly very simple. It refers to a null product that is used to suppress outputs of numerous commands. This post will split down every section of the 2>/dev/null command, clarify its reason, and see illustrations of how it is applied.

Null Gadget – ‘/dev/null’

All Linux-centered programs have a feature referred to as virtual gadgets. These digital products interact like genuine data files in the working method. The operating of such digital equipment is very similar to authentic gadgets they are made use of to publish and go through details. The most important variation between the two is that the details for the virtual devices are equipped by the functioning process.

/dev/null is a null device–a special form of digital system. It is present in each individual Linux system, and the goal of this unit is to discard just about anything despatched to it and read through the Stop of File (EOF). Most virtual equipment are made use of to read through data having said that, /dev/null is distinctive considering the fact that it is applied to suppress any information created to it. In easy text, it acts as a black hole for any info that is created to it in Linux running methods.

Now, let us just take a look at the remaining parts of the 2 > /dev/null command

File descriptor – ‘2’

Just about every command execution in Linux generates three associated files: normal input, typical output, and regular mistake data files. The Linux functioning method refers to every single of these files with a special non-detrimental integer.

  • ‘0’ for normal enter
  • ‘1’ for regular output
  • ‘2’ for regular mistake

The specialized terms for normal enter, typical output, and normal error streams are stdin, stdout, and stderr, respectively.

We know that the number ‘2’ in the command ‘2>/dev/null’ refers to the typical error (stderr) stream.

File redirection operator – ‘>’

The ‘>’ image is identified as the file redirection operator. Its intent is to immediate what is to its still left to the commands on the correct side. In simpler words and phrases, any string of data to the left will be directed to the proper side of the operator.

So considerably, we have understood the function behind each part of the 2>/dev/null command. It sends the error stream to /dev/null, which discards it. In other terms, this command is employed to discard and suppress error outputs. On the other hand, if you are an professional Linux veteran, you can glance at the contents of the /dev/null file by managing the adhering to command in the terminal:

This command is normally employed in eventualities exactly where we will need to filter output based on glitches or when we want to discard any output associated with faulty descriptions. Transferring forward, we will be seeking at examples of its utilization on a Ubuntu method.

Utilizing 2>/dev/null

Considering the fact that we know that the command 2>/dev/null is utilised to discard faults, it will generally be utilised in conjunction with other commands. We will see a related method in the adhering to illustrations. You can open the terminal either by accessing it via the apps menu or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T.

In the to start with case in point, we will be conducting a research in the /sys/ listing for a random string (helloworld in this scenario). The command for searching is grep, and its argument will be the lookup string. Enter the following command to lookup for your string.

$ grep -r helloworld /sys/

This lookup command is bound to screen various glitches considering that it is being made use of without root accessibility. We will ship its error stream to /dev/null by making use of the command 2>/dev/null to discard these glitches.

$ grep -r helloworld /sys/ 2> /dev/null

We can see that the output of the command is a lot neater and simpler than the final a person. The motive is that the glitches are currently being discarded by applying 2> /dev/null, and since the grep command was unable to find any file matching our string ‘helloworld’, it doesn’t demonstrate any output.

To realize the utilization of /dev/null improved, we will be seeking at the following instance of pinging any internet site ( in our case). You can ping by executing the adhering to command:

If we would like to exclude all the unsuccessful pings, we can use the 2>/dev/null command:

$ ping 2> /dev/null

In this scenario, the normal mistake stream (which displays the unsuccessful pings to is despatched to the digital gadget /dev/null that discards them.

Even so, if we desire to see only the unsuccessful pings, we can execute the following command:

$ ping 1> /dev/null

Listed here, we mail the normal output stream (stdout) to the /dev/null machine that discards it. Consequently, we are only left with the pings that unsuccessful to get to the server. On the other hand, in our case, there ended up no failed pings. We can also immediate stdout and stderr to unique destinations. This is beneficial if we want to discard output and keep problems in a log or vice versa. You can operate the pursuing command to retail outlet the unsuccessful pings in an error log whilst discarding the standard output of the ping command:

$ ping 1> /dev/null 2> mistake.log

On events, you may well want to suppress all output of a command (including common output and conventional errors). We can achieve this by making use of the /dev/null device in a marginally diverse manner. You can sort the next command to suppress all output:

$ ping >/dev/null 2>&1

Observe that the order of commands here is quite important. Soon after executing the ping command, ‘>/dev/null’ tells the technique to suppress the output, and ‘2>&1’ directs the conventional error stream to typical output. In this way, all output of the command is discarded.


We have dissected the 2>/dev/null command and very simple illustrations in this post, and with any luck ,, now you have an understanding of what each little bit of it does. Nonetheless, this is just the tip of the iceberg null units are utilized in a multitude of ways in bash programming. Some of the more highly developed works by using include things like examining file existence, automating package deal installations, and avoiding scripts from operating into unwanted exceptions.

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