python subprocess output to list or file


I want to run the following bash command in Python 3:

ls -l

I know that I can do the following:

from subprocess import call
call(['ls', '-l'])

How do I save this output to a file, or put it into lists or sets?

[-rw-r--r--]  [1] [name]  [staff]   [426] [14 Jan 21:52] [HelloWorld.class]
[-rw-r--r--@] [1] [name]  [staff]   [107] [14 Jan 21:51] []

I want to be able to access particular information directly, and then add it to the set, but I do not know how many items will be listed.

Any hints, snippets, or examples would really help.

Asked By: beoliver



from subprocess import Popen, PIPE
output = Popen(['ls', '-l'], stdout=PIPE).communicate()[0]

You can then do whatever you want with the output. See python docs for detailed documentation

Answered By: Wesley

With >= python3.5 you can use

ls_lines =['ls', '-l'], stdout=PIPE).stdout.splitlines()

With >= python2.7 or >= python3.0 you can use subprocess.check_output:

ls_lines = subprocess.check_output(['ls', '-l']).splitlines()

Prior to python2.7, you need to use the lower level api, which is a bit more involved.

ls_proc = subprocess.Popen(['ls', '-l'], stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
# check return code
ls_lines = ls_proc.stdout.readlines()
Answered By: Gary van der Merwe

Read about Popen. the set you asked for you get with

import subprocess
proc = subprocess.Popen(['ls','-l'],stdout=subprocess.PIPE,stderr=subprocess.PIPE)

or do something like

for x in proc.stdout : print x

and the same for stderr

you can examine the state of the process with


or wait for it to terminate with


also read

read subprocess stdout line by line

Answered By: Johan Lundberg

If what you really want is to list a directory, rather use os.listdir

import os
files = os.listdir('/path/to/dir')
for file in files:
Answered By: Gary van der Merwe

One way to access to the information in ls -l output is to parse it. For example, csv.DictReader could be use to map each column to a field in a dictionary:

import subprocess
import csv

process = subprocess.Popen(['ls', '-l'], stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
stdout, stderr = process.communicate()

reader = csv.DictReader(stdout.decode('ascii').splitlines(),
                        delimiter=' ', skipinitialspace=True,
                        fieldnames=['permissions', 'links',
                                    'owner', 'group', 'size',
                                    'date', 'time', 'name'])

for row in reader:

The code above will print a dictionary for each line in ls -l output such as:

{'group': '<group_name>',
 'name': '<filename>',
 'links': '1',
 'date': '<modified_date>',
 'time': '<modified_time>',
 'owner': '<user_name>',
 'permissions': '-rw-rw-r--',
 'size': '<size>'}
Answered By: jcollado

People have already responded to it. Nevertheless, just in case somebody needs it

import subprocess
Answered By: Mohit Dabas
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