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env - Man Page

run a program in a modified environment

Examples (TL;DR)


env [OPTION]... [-] [NAME=VALUE]... [COMMAND [ARG]...]


Set each NAME to VALUE in the environment and run COMMAND.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-a,  --argv0=ARG

pass ARG as the zeroth argument of COMMAND

-i,  --ignore-environment

start with an empty environment

-0,  --null

end each output line with NUL, not newline

-u,  --unset=NAME

remove variable from the environment

-C,  --chdir=DIR

change working directory to DIR

-S,  --split-string=S

process and split S into separate arguments; used to pass multiple arguments on shebang lines


block delivery of SIG signal(s) to COMMAND


reset handling of SIG signal(s) to the default


set handling of SIG signal(s) to do nothing


list non default signal handling to stderr

-v,  --debug

print verbose information for each processing step


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

A mere - implies -i.  If no COMMAND, print the resulting environment.

SIG may be a signal name like 'PIPE', or a signal number like '13'. Without SIG, all known signals are included.  Multiple signals can be comma-separated.  An empty SIG argument is a no-op.

Exit status


if the env command itself fails


if COMMAND is found but cannot be invoked


if COMMAND cannot be found


the exit status of COMMAND otherwise


-S/--split-string usage in scripts

The -S option allows specifying multiple parameters in a script. Running a script named 1.pl containing the following first line:

#!/usr/bin/env -S perl -w -T

Will execute perl -w -T 1.pl .

Without the '-S' parameter the script will likely fail with:

/usr/bin/env: 'perl -w -T': No such file or directory

See the full documentation for more details.

--default-signal[=SIG] usage

This option allows setting a signal handler to its default action, which is not possible using the traditional shell trap command.  The following example ensures that seq will be terminated by SIGPIPE no matter how this signal is being handled in the process invoking the command.

sh -c 'env --default-signal=PIPE seq inf | head -n1'


POSIX's exec(3p) pages says:

"many existing applications wrongly assume that they start with certain signals set to the default action and/or unblocked.... Therefore, it is best not to block or ignore signals across execs without explicit reason to do so, and especially not to block signals across execs of arbitrary (not closely cooperating) programs."


Written by Richard Mlynarik, David MacKenzie, and Assaf Gordon.

Reporting Bugs

GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
Report any translation bugs to <https://translationproject.org/team/>

See Also

sigaction(2), sigprocmask(2), signal(7)

Full documentation <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/env>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) env invocation'

Referenced By

atf-sh(1), environ(7), guestfs-release-notes-1.32(1), ksh93(1), mosh(1), pkgconf(1), pmpython(1), procenv(1), tgif.1x(1).

July 2024 GNU coreutils 9.5