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Perl Programming Language

FAQ 8.26 Why doesn't open() return an error when a pipe open fails?


This is an excerpt from the latest version perlfaq8.pod, which
comes with the standard Perl distribution. These postings aim to
reduce the number of repeated questions as well as allow the community
to review and update the answers. The latest version of the complete
perlfaq is at http://faq.perl.org .

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8.26: Why doesn't open() return an error when a pipe open fails?

    If the second argument to a piped open() contains shell metacharacters,
    perl fork()s, then exec()s a shell to decode the metacharacters and
    eventually run the desired program. If the program couldn't be run, it's
    the shell that gets the message, not Perl. All your Perl program can
    find out is whether the shell itself could be successfully started. You
    can still capture the shell's STDERR and check it for error messages.
    See "How can I capture STDERR from an external command?" elsewhere in
    this document, or use the IPC::Open3 module.

    If there are no shell metacharacters in the argument of open(), Perl
    runs the command directly, without using the shell, and can correctly
    report whether the command started.

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The perlfaq-workers, a group of volunteers, maintain the perlfaq. They
are not necessarily experts in every domain where Perl might show up,
so please include as much information as possible and relevant in any
corrections. The perlfaq-workers also don't have access to every
operating system or platform, so please include relevant details for
corrections to examples that do not work on particular platforms.
Working code is greatly appreciated.

If you'd like to help maintain the perlfaq, see the details in
perlfaq.pod.

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