The power of >, >>, &, &&, and || on Linux

Some of the most convenient “tricks” on Linux depend on the use of a handful of special characters. This post takes a look at a number of them and shows how they work.

Using > and >>

Using the > and >> characters will have similar but different effects, and both depend on how you use them in a command. The > character can be used to direct output into a file. For example, these commands will put the specified text into a file. If the file exists, however, any former content will be overwritten. Notice how only one “hello” remains in the file.

$ echo hello > world
$ echo hello > world
$ cat world

Using >>, on the other hand, will add the text provided to the end of a file. If the file doesn’t exist, the command will create it.

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