XARGS(1) BSD Reference Manual XARGS(1)
xargs - construct argument list(s) and execute utility
xargs [-t] [[-x]-n number] [-s size] [utility [arguments ...]]
The xargs utility reads space, tab, newline and end-of-file delimited ar-
guments from the standard input and executes the specified utility with
them as arguments.
The utility and any arguments specified on the command line are given to
the utility upon each invocation, followed by some number of the argu-
ments read from standard input. The utility is repeatedly executed until
standard input is exhausted.
Spaces, tabs and newlines may be embedded in arguments using single
(`` ' '') or double (``"'') quotes or backslashes (``\''). Single quotes
escape all non-single quote characters, excluding newlines, up to the
matching single quote. Double quotes escape all non-double quote charac-
ters, excluding newlines, up to the matching double quote. Any single
character, including newlines, may be escaped by a backslash.
The options are as follows:
Set the maximum number of arguments taken from standard input for
each invocation of the utility. An invocation of utility will
use less than number standard input arguments if the number of
bytes accumulated (see the -s option) exceeds the specified size
or there are fewer than number arguments remaining for the last
invocation of utility. The current default value for number is
Set the maximum number of bytes for the command line length pro-
vided to utility. The sum of the length of the utility name and
the arguments passed to utility (including NULL terminators) will
be less than or equal to this number. The current default value
for size is ARG_MAX - 2048.
-t Echo the command to be executed to standard error immediately be-
fore it is executed.
-x Force xargs to terminate immediately if a command line containing
number arguments will not fit in the specified (or default) com-
mand line length.
If no utility is specified, echo(1) is used.
Undefined behavior may occur if utility reads from the standard input.
The xargs utility exits immediately (without processing any further in-
put) if a command line cannot be assembled, utility cannot be invoked, an
invocation of the utility is terminated by a signal or an invocation of
the utility exits with a value of 255.
The xargs utility exits with a value of 0 if no error occurs. If utility
cannot be invoked, xargs exits with a value of 127. If any other error
occurs, xargs exits with a value of 1.
The xargs utility is expected to be IEEE Std1003.2 (``POSIX'') compliant.
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