Bash command runs in shell but not via python subprocess

When working with Python, it is common to encounter situations where you need to run a Bash command from within your Python script. One way to achieve this is by using the subprocess module, which allows you to spawn new processes, connect to their input/output/error pipes, and obtain their return codes.

Option 1: Using

The function was introduced in Python 3.5 and provides a high-level interface for running shell commands. It is a convenient way to execute a command and wait for its completion. Here’s how you can use it:

import subprocess

command = "ls -l"
result =, shell=True, capture_output=True, text=True)

In this example, we are running the “ls -l” command and capturing its output. The shell=True argument tells subprocess to use the shell as the program to execute. The capture_output=True argument captures the command’s output, and the text=True argument ensures that the output is returned as a string.

Option 2: Using subprocess.Popen()

If you need more control over the execution of the command or want to interact with the process while it is running, you can use the subprocess.Popen() function. This function allows you to spawn a new process, connect to its pipes, and communicate with it. Here’s an example:

import subprocess

command = "ls -l"
process = subprocess.Popen(command, shell=True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.PIPE, text=True)
output, error = process.communicate()

In this example, we are running the same “ls -l” command, but this time we are using subprocess.PIPE to redirect the command’s output to a pipe. We can then use the communicate() method to read the output and error streams of the process. The output variable contains the command’s output as a string.

Option 3: Using os.system()

Another way to run a Bash command from within Python is by using the os.system() function. This function allows you to execute a command in a subshell and returns the exit status of the command. Here’s an example:

import os

command = "ls -l"
exit_status = os.system(command)

In this example, we are running the “ls -l” command and storing its exit status in the exit_status variable. The exit status is an integer that represents the command’s exit code. A value of 0 usually indicates success.

After considering the three options, the best approach depends on your specific requirements. If you simply need to run a command and capture its output, is a convenient and straightforward option. If you require more control over the process or need to interact with it while it is running, subprocess.Popen() is the way to go. However, if you only need to execute a command and check its exit status, os.system() can be a simpler alternative.

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9 Responses

  1. Option 2 is the way to go! Popen() provides more flexibility and control. Who needs simplicity, right? #PythonPower

  2. Option 2: Using subprocess.Popen() seems like a solid choice, but what about Option 4: Using a magic spell? 🧙‍♂️

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