echo (1p) - Linux Man Pages
echo: write arguments to standard output
PROLOGThis manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.
echo - write arguments to standard output
The echo utility shall not recognize the "--" argument in the manner specified by Guideline 10 of the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines; "--" shall be recognized as a string operand.
The following operands shall be supported:
- A string to be written to standard output. If the first operand is -n, or if any of the operands contain a backslash ( '\' ) character, the results are implementation-defined.
On XSI-conformant systems, if the first operand is -n, it shall be treated as a string, not an option. The following character sequences shall be recognized on XSI-conformant systems within any of the arguments:
- Write an <alert>.
- Write a <backspace>.
- Suppress the <newline> that otherwise follows the final argument in the output. All characters following the '\c' in the arguments shall be ignored.
- Write a <form-feed>.
- Write a <newline>.
- Write a <carriage-return>.
- Write a <tab>.
- Write a <vertical-tab>.
- Write a backslash character.
- Write an 8-bit value that is the zero, one, two, or three-digit octal number num.
The following environment variables shall affect the execution of echo:
- Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 8.2, Internationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)
- If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.
- Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments).
- Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.
Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES
The echo utility arguments shall be separated by single <space>s and a <newline> shall follow the last argument. Output transformations shall occur based on the escape sequences in the input. See the OPERANDS section.
The following exit values shall be returned:
- Successful completion.
- An error occurred.
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
It is not possible to use echo portably across all POSIX systems unless both -n (as the first argument) and escape sequences are omitted.
The printf utility can be used portably to emulate any of the traditional behaviors of the echo utility as follows (assuming that IFS has its standard value or is unset):
The historic System V echo and the requirements on XSI implementations
in this volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001
are equivalent to:
printf "%b\n" "$*"
The BSD echo is equivalent to:
if [ "X$1" = "X-n" ] then shift printf "%s" "$*" else printf "%s\n" "$*" fi
The echo utility has not been made obsolescent because of its extremely widespread use in historical applications. Conforming applications that wish to do prompting without <newline>s or that could possibly be expecting to echo a -n, should use the printf utility derived from the Ninth Edition system.
As specified, echo writes its arguments in the simplest of ways. The two different historical versions of echo vary in fatally incompatible ways.
The BSD echo checks the first argument for the string -n which causes it to suppress the <newline> that would otherwise follow the final argument in the output.
The System V echo does not support any options, but allows escape sequences within its operands, as described for XSI implementations in the OPERANDS section.
COPYRIGHTPortions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .