FAQ: Redirection - <

This community-built FAQ covers the “<” exercise from the lesson “Redirection”.

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This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

Web Development

Learn the Command Line

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What is the point of using “<” for the line cat < deserts.txt when you can just type cat deserts.txt
Isn’t it essentially doing the same thing?


why cat < file.txt when the command out the same result as cat file.txt.


please answer these questions


I have the same question. Could we please get a response?


I have opened a new topic thread to try and get a response:


In the first case,the shell opens the file passing it as cat’s standard input, and in the second case, cat opens the file.

Sometimes the output it’s not exactly the same.
Imagine that we do have a file called movies.txt, with the following information:

The Godfather
The Dark Knight
Pulp Fiction

If we use the command for word count “wc”:

wc -l movies.txt
Output: 3 movies.txt

wc -l < movies.txt
Output: 3

The ouput is different because when using the file as a parameter of the command he knows the origin of the file, otherwise when using the redirection < the data is sent anonymously. I don’t think its usage is common because most commands provide the needed infromation for the file passed as an argument. But maybe for other cases it’s easier to use this redirection depending of the needed data.


Well THANK YOU!!! At last…

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