Execute a system command

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Execute a system command
You are encouraged to solve this task according to the task description, using any language you may know.

In this task, the goal is to run either the ls (dir on Windows) system command, or the pause system command.


[edit] Ada

Using the IEEE POSIX Ada standard, P1003.5c:

with POSIX.Unsafe_Process_Primitives;
procedure Execute_A_System_Command is
Arguments : POSIX.POSIX_String_List;
POSIX.Append (Arguments, "ls");
POSIX.Unsafe_Process_Primitives.Exec_Search ("ls", Arguments);
end Execute_A_System_Command;

Importing the C system() function:

with Interfaces.C; use Interfaces.C;
procedure Execute_System is
function Sys (Arg : Char_Array) return Integer;
pragma Import(C, Sys, "system");
Ret_Val : Integer;
Ret_Val := Sys(To_C("ls"));
end Execute_System;

Using the GNAT run-time library:

with Ada.Text_IO; use Ada.Text_IO;
with System.OS_Lib; use System.OS_Lib;
procedure Execute_Synchronously is
Result  : Integer;
Arguments : Argument_List :=
( 1=> new String'("cmd.exe"),
2=> new String'("/C dir c:\temp\*.adb")
( Program_Name => "cmd.exe",
Args => Arguments,
Output_File_Descriptor => Standout,
Return_Code => Result
for Index in Arguments'Range loop
Free (Arguments (Index)); -- Free the argument list
end loop;
end Execute_Synchronously;

[edit] Aikido

The simplest way to do this is using the system() function. It returns a vector of strings (the output from the command).

var lines = system ("ls")
foreach line lines {
println (line)

If you don't want to process the output you can use the exec function. It writes the output to the standard output stream by default;

exec ("ls")

You also have the regular fork and execv calls available:

var pid = fork()
if (pid == 0) {
var args = ["/bin/ls"]
execv ("/bin/ls", args)
var status = 0
waitpid (pid, status)

[edit] Aime

sshell ss;
b_cast(ss_path(ss), "/bin/ls");
lf_p_text(ss_argv(ss), "ls");

[edit] ALGOL 68

Works with: ALGOL 68G version Any - tested with release mk15-0.8b.fc9 - "system" is not part of the standard's prelude.

Or the classic "!" shell escape can be implemented as an "!" operator:

Works with: ALGOL 68G version Any - tested with release mk15-0.8b.fc9 - "system" & "ANDF" are not part of the standard's prelude.
OP ! = (STRING cmd)BOOL: system(cmd) = 0;
IF ! "touch test.tmp" ANDF ( ! "ls test.tmp" ANDF ! "rm test.tmp" ) THEN
print (("test.tmp now gone!", new line))

[edit] AppleScript

do shell script "ls" without altering line endings

[edit] Applesoft BASIC


[edit] AutoHotkey

Run, %comspec% /k dir & pause

[edit] AutoIt

Run(@ComSpec & " /c " & 'pause', "", @SW_HIDE)

[edit] AWK

Using system() function:

system("ls") # Unix
#system("dir") # DOS/MS-Windows

Using getline command:

ls = sys2var("ls")
print ls
function sys2var(command ,fish, scale, ship) {
command = command " 2>/dev/null"
while ( (command | getline fish) > 0 ) {
if ( ++scale == 1 )
ship = fish
ship = ship "\n" fish
return ship

[edit] BASIC

SHELL "dir"

[edit] Batch File


[edit] BBC BASIC

On Acorn computers the *CAT command catalogues the current directory, the equivalent of the Unix ls command or the DOS/Windows dir command. The BBC BASIC OSCLI command passes a string to the Command Line Interpreter to execute a system command, it is the equivalent of C's system() command.


With BBC BASIC for Windows you can execute the Windows dir command:

OSCLI "*dir":REM *dir to bypass BB4W's built-in dir command

And if running BBC BASIC on a Unix host, you can execute the ls command:

OSCLI "ls"

[edit] Bracmat


[edit] Brat

include :subprocess 
p subprocess.run :ls #Lists files in directory

[edit] Brlcad

exec ls

[edit] C


#include <stdlib.h>
int main()
return 0;

[edit] C++

Works with: Visual C++ version 2005

[edit] C#

Using Windows / .NET:

using System.Diagnostics;
namespace Execute
class Program
static void Main(string[] args)
Process.Start("cmd.exe", "/c dir");
Works with: MCS version
using System;
class Execute {
static void Main() {
System.Diagnostics.Process proc = new System.Diagnostics.Process();

[edit] Clojure

(.. Runtime getRuntime (exec "cmd /C dir"))
user=> (use '[clojure.java.shell :only [sh]])
user=> (sh "ls" "-aul")
{:exit 0,
:out total 64
drwxr-xr-x 11 zkim staff 374 Jul 5 13:21 .
drwxr-xr-x 25 zkim staff 850 Jul 5 13:02 ..
drwxr-xr-x 12 zkim staff 408 Jul 5 13:02 .git
-rw-r--r-- 1 zkim staff 13 Jul 5 13:02 .gitignore
-rw-r--r-- 1 zkim staff 12638 Jul 5 13:02 LICENSE.html
-rw-r--r-- 1 zkim staff 4092 Jul 5 13:02 README.md
drwxr-xr-x 2 zkim staff 68 Jul 5 13:15 classes
drwxr-xr-x 5 zkim staff 170 Jul 5 13:15 lib
-rw-r--r--@ 1 zkim staff 3396 Jul 5 13:03 pom.xml
-rw-r--r--@ 1 zkim staff 367 Jul 5 13:15 project.clj
drwxr-xr-x 4 zkim staff 136 Jul 5 13:15 src
, :err }
user=> (use '[clojure.java.shell :only [sh]])
user=> (println (:out (sh "cowsay" "Printing a command-line output")))
< Printing a command-line output. >
\ ^__^
\ (oo)\_______
(__)\ )\/\
||----w |
|| ||

[edit] CMake

Works with: Unix
execute_process(COMMAND ls)

Because of a quirk in the implementation (cmExecuteProcessCommand.cxx and ProcessUNIX.c), CMake diverts the standard output to a pipe. The effect is like running ls | cat in the shell. The ls process inherits the original standard input and standard error, but receives a new pipe for standard output. CMake then reads this pipe and copies all data to the original standard output.

execute_process() can also chain commands in a pipeline, and capture output.

# Calculate pi to 40 digits after the decimal point.
COMMAND printf "scale = 45; 4 * a(1) + 5 / 10 ^ 41\\n"
COMMAND sed -e "s/.\\{5\\}$//"
message(STATUS "pi is ${pi}")
-- pi is 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841972

[edit] COBOL

Works with: OpenCOBOL

[edit] CoffeeScript

Works with: Node.js
{ spawn } = require 'child_process'
ls = spawn 'ls'
ls.stdout.on 'data', ( data ) -> console.log "Output: #{ data }"
ls.stderr.on 'data', ( data ) -> console.error "Error: #{ data }"
ls.on 'close', -> console.log "'ls' has finished executing."

[edit] Common Lisp

Works with: CMUCL
(with-output-to-string (stream) (extensions:run-program "ls" nil :output stream))
Works with: LispWorks
(system:call-system "ls")
Library: trivial-shell
(trivial-shell:shell-command "ls")

[edit] D

import std.process, std.stdio;
//these two alternatives wait for the process to return, and capture the output
//each process function returns a Tuple of (int)"status" and (string)"output
auto ls_string = executeShell("ls -l"); //takes single string
writeln((ls_string.status == 0) ? ls_string.output : "command failed");
auto ls_array = execute(["ls", "-l"]); //takes array of strings
writeln((ls_array.status == 0) ? ls_array.output : "command failed");
//other alternatives exist to spawn processes in parallel and capture output via pipes

std.process.system() is deprecated.

[edit] dc

! ls

[edit] DCL

Or, shorter

[edit] Delphi

program ExecuteSystemCommand;
uses Windows, ShellApi;
ShellExecute(0, nil, 'cmd.exe', ' /c dir', nil, SW_HIDE);

[edit] E

def ls := makeCommand("ls")
def [results, _, _] := ls.exec(["-l"])
when (results) -> {
def [exitCode, out, err] := results
} catch problem {
print(`failed to execute ls: $problem`)

[edit] Erlang


[edit] ERRE

In ERRE language you have the SHELL command followed, eventually, by a string command. SHELL itself opens a new DOS/Windows shell: you must use EXIT to end. For example


lists the current directory and then returns to the program.


[edit] Euphoria

Euphoria has 2 systems command functions: system() and system_exec().

 -- system --
-- the simplest way --
-- system spawns a new shell so I/O redirection is possible --
system( "dir /w c:\temp\ " ) -- Microsoft --
system( "/bin/ls -l /tmp" ) -- Linux BSD OSX --
-- system_exec() --
-- system_exec does not spawn a new shell --
-- ( like bash or cmd.exe ) --
integer exit_code = 0
sequence ls_command = ""
ifdef UNIX or LINUX or OSX then
ls_command = "/bin/ls -l "
elsifdef WINDOWS then
ls_command = "dir /w "
end ifdef
exit_code = system_exec( ls_command )
if exit_code = -1 then
puts( STDERR, " could not execute " & ls_command & "\n" )
elsif exit_code = 0 then
puts( STDERR, ls_command & " succeeded\n")
printf( STDERR, "command %s failed with code %d\n", ls_command, exit_code)
end if

[edit] F#

System.Diagnostics.Process.Start("cmd", "/c dir")

[edit] Factor

"ls" run-process wait-for-process

[edit] Fantom

The Process class handles creating and running external processes. in/out/err streams can be redirected, but default to the usual stdin/stdout/stderr. So following program prints result of 'ls' to the command line:

class Main
public static Void main ()
p := Process (["ls"])

[edit] Forth

Works with: gforth version 0.6.2
s" ls" system

[edit] Fortran

Works with: gfortran

The SYSTEM subroutine (and function) are a GNU extension.

program SystemTest
call system("ls")
end program SystemTest

[edit] Frink

r = callJava["java.lang.Runtime", "getRuntime"]

[edit] FunL

import sys.execute
execute( if $os.startsWith('Windows') then 'dir' else 'ls' )

[edit] Go

package main
import (
func main() {
cmd := exec.Command("ls", "-l")
cmd.Stdout = os.Stdout
cmd.Stderr = os.Stderr
if err := cmd.Run(); err != nil {

[edit] gnuplot


[edit] Groovy

println "ls -la".execute().text

[edit] GUISS

Start,Programs,Accessories,MSDOS Prompt,Type:dir[enter]

[edit] Haskell

Works with: GHCi version 6.6
import System.Cmd
main = system "ls"

See also: the System.Process module

[edit] HicEst

SYSTEM(CoMmand='dir & pause')

[edit] Icon and Unicon

The code below selects the 'ls' or 'dir' command at runtime based on the UNIX feature.

procedure main()
write("Trying command ",cmd := if &features == "UNIX" then "ls" else "dir")

Unicon extends system to allow specification of files and a wait/nowait parameter as in the examples below.

pid := system(command_string,&input,&output,&errout,"wait")
pid := system(command_string,&input,&output,&errout,"nowait")

[edit] IDL


Will execute "ls" with output to the screen.


will execute it and store the result in the string array "result".


will execute it asynchronously and direct any output from it into the LUN "unit" from whence it can be read at any (later) time.

[edit] Io

System runCommand("ls") stdout println

[edit] J

The system command interface in J is provided by the standard "task" script:

NB. Execute a command and wait for it to complete
shell 'dir'
NB. Execute a command but don't wait for it to complete
fork 'notepad'
NB. Execute a command and capture its stdout
stdout =: shell 'dir'
NB. Execute a command, provide it with stdin,
NB. and capture its stdout
stdin =: 'blahblahblah'
stdout =: stdin spawn 'grep blah'

Note that on unix systems, you can also use the 2!:x family of foreign verbs to execute system commands.

[edit] Java

Works with: Java version 1.5+
import java.util.Scanner;
import java.io.*;
public class Program {
public static void main(String[] args) {
try {
Process p = Runtime.getRuntime().exec("cmd /C dir");//Windows command, use "ls -oa" for UNIX
Scanner sc = new Scanner(p.getInputStream());
while (sc.hasNext()) System.out.println(sc.nextLine());
catch (IOException e) {
Works with: Java version 1.4+

There are two ways to run system commands. The simple way, which will hang the JVM (I would be interested in some kind of reason). -- this happens because the the inputStream buffer fills up and blocks until it gets read. Moving your .waitFor after reading the InputStream would fix your issue (as long as your error stream doesn't fill up)

import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.InputStream;
public class MainEntry {
public static void main(String[] args) {
executeCmd("ls -oa");
private static void executeCmd(String string) {
InputStream pipedOut = null;
try {
Process aProcess = Runtime.getRuntime().exec(string);
pipedOut = aProcess.getInputStream();
byte buffer[] = new byte[2048];
int read = pipedOut.read(buffer);
// Replace following code with your intends processing tools
while(read >= 0) {
System.out.write(buffer, 0, read);
read = pipedOut.read(buffer);
} catch (IOException e) {
} catch (InterruptedException ie) {
} finally {
if(pipedOut != null) {
try {
} catch (IOException e) {

And the right way, which uses threading to read the InputStream given by the process.

import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.InputStream;
public class MainEntry {
public static void main(String[] args) {
// the command to execute
executeCmd("ls -oa");
private static void executeCmd(String string) {
InputStream pipedOut = null;
try {
Process aProcess = Runtime.getRuntime().exec(string);
// These two thread shall stop by themself when the process end
Thread pipeThread = new Thread(new StreamGobber(aProcess.getInputStream()));
Thread errorThread = new Thread(new StreamGobber(aProcess.getErrorStream()));
} catch (IOException e) {
} catch (InterruptedException ie) {
//Replace the following thread with your intends reader
class StreamGobber implements Runnable {
private InputStream Pipe;
public StreamGobber(InputStream pipe) {
if(pipe == null) {
throw new NullPointerException("bad pipe");
Pipe = pipe;
public void run() {
try {
byte buffer[] = new byte[2048];
int read = Pipe.read(buffer);
while(read >= 0) {
System.out.write(buffer, 0, read);
read = Pipe.read(buffer);
} catch (IOException e) {
} finally {
if(Pipe != null) {
try {
} catch (IOException e) {

[edit] JavaScript

JavaScript does not have any facilities to interact with the OS. However, host environments can provide this ability.

Works with: JScript
var shell = new ActiveXObject("WScript.Shell");
shell.run("cmd /c dir & pause");
Works with: Rhino
runCommand("cmd", "/c", "dir", "d:\\");
var options = {
// can specify arguments here in the options object
args: ["/c", "dir", "d:\\"],
// capture stdout to the options.output property
output: ''
runCommand("cmd", options);

[edit] Joy

"ls" system.

[edit] Julia

The Julia manual has an excellent section on this topic, which is worth a read. The short answer on Linux is:

$ ls
bitmap_bresenham_line.jl   completed                  single_link_list_collection.jl
color_quantization_in.png  execute_system_command.jl  single_link_list_insert.jl
color_quantization.jl      README.md                  support
$ julia execute_system_command.jl
bitmap_bresenham_line.jl   completed                  single_link_list_collection.jl
color_quantization_in.png  execute_system_command.jl  single_link_list_insert.jl
color_quantization.jl      README.md                  support

[edit] K

Execute "ls"


Execute "ls" and capture the output in the variable "r":

   r: 4:"ls"

[edit] Lang5

'ls system

[edit] Lasso

path = file_forceroot,
ls = sys_process('/bin/ls', (:'-l', #path)),
lswait = #ls -> wait
#ls -> read
total 16
drwxr-xr-x  8 _lasso  staff  272 Nov 10 08:13 mydir
-rw-r--r--  1 _lasso  staff   38 Oct 29 16:05 myfile.lasso
-rw-r--r--@ 1 _lasso  staff  175 Oct 29 18:18 rosetta.lasso

[edit] LFE

In the LFE REPL:

> (os:cmd "ls -alrt")

That will display output on a single line, with literal newlines.

For pretty output, compose with io:format:

> (io:format (os:cmd "ls -alrt"))

[edit] Liberty BASIC

drive1$ = left$(Drives$,1)
run "cmd.exe /";drive1$;" dir & pause"

[edit] Limbo

There is no equivalent to Unix's exec() in Inferno per se; commands are just modules that have at least an init() function with the correct signature, and are loaded the same way as any other module. (As a result, there's nothing in the language or OS that prevents a program from acting as both a command and a library except convention.)

This version passes its argument list through to ls:

implement Runls;
include "sys.m"; sys: Sys;
include "draw.m";
include "sh.m";
Runls: module {
init: fn(ctxt: ref Draw->Context, args: list of string);
init(ctxt: ref Draw->Context, args: list of string)
sys = load Sys Sys->PATH;
ls := load Command "/dis/ls.dis";
if(ls == nil)
die("Couldn't load /dis/ls.dis");
ls->init(ctxt, "ls" :: tl args);
die(s: string)
sys->fprint(sys->fildes(2), "runls: %s: %r", s);
raise "fail:errors";

It's not strictly necessary to pass the graphics context to ls, but it is generally a good idea to do so when calling another program.

[edit] Locomotive Basic

The Amstrad CPC464 uses a ROM based basic interpreter, so every statement within the program is a system command. If a command without a line number is typed, whilst the computer is in a ready state, the command gets executed immediately. There is no pause command, so in this example, we use the list command (which exhibits totally different behaviour to a pause command):



Works with: UCB Logo

The lines of output of the SHELL command are returned as a list.

print first butfirst shell [ls -a]   ; ..

[edit] Lua

-- just executing the command
-- to execute and capture the output, use io.popen
local f = io.popen("ls") -- store the output in a "file"
print( f:read("*a") ) -- print out the "file"'s content

[edit] M4


[edit] Make

make can use system command in either definition of variables or in the targets

in definition

contents=$(shell cat foo)

in target

cat foo | grep mytext

[edit] Maple


[edit] Mathematica / Wolfram Language


[edit] MATLAB

To execute system commands in MATLAB, use the "system" keyword.

Sample Usage:

>> system('PAUSE')
Press any key to continue . . .
ans =

[edit] Maxima

system("dir > list.txt")$

[edit] MAXScript

dosCommand "pause"

[edit] Mercury

:- module execute_sys_cmd.
:- interface.
:- import_module io.
:- pred main(io::di, io::uo) is det.
:- implementation.
main(!IO) :-
io.call_system("ls", _Result, !IO).

[edit] Modula-2

FROM SysLib IMPORT system;
VAR fd : TextIO.File;
ch : CHAR;
PROCEDURE SystemCommand (VAR command : ARRAY OF CHAR) : BOOLEAN;
IF system (ADR (command) ) = 0 THEN
END SystemCommand;
IF SystemCommand ("ls -1 tri.mod | ") = TRUE THEN
InOut.WriteString ("No error reported.")
InOut.WriteString ("Error reported!")
InOut.Read (ch);
InOut.Write (ch);
END tri.

[edit] Modula-3

This code requires the UNSAFE keyword because M3toC deals with C strings (which are pointers), and are implemented in Modula-3 as UNTRACED, meaning they are not garbage collected, which is why the code calls FreeCopiedS().

Also note the EVAL keyword, which ignores the return value of a function.

IMPORT Unix, M3toC;
VAR command := M3toC.CopyTtoS("ls");
EVAL Unix.system(command);
END Exec.

[edit] MUMPS

ANSI MUMPS doesn't allow access to the operating system except possibly through the View command and $View function, both of which are implementation specific. Intersystems' Caché does allow you to create processes with the $ZF function, and if the permissions for the Caché process allow it you can perform operating system commands.

In Caché on OpenVMS in an FILES-11 filesystem ODS-5 mode this could work:

Set X=$ZF(-1,"DIR")

In GT.M on OpenVMS, the following will work:


GT.M on UNIX is the same:

ZSY "ls"

Note: $ZF in GT.M is Unicode version of $F[ind].

[edit] NetRexx

Translation of: Java
/* NetRexx */
options replace format comments java crossref symbols binary
import java.util.Scanner
-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
method runSample(arg) private static
parse arg command
if command = '' then command = 'ls -oa' -- for Windows change to: 'cmd /C dir'
say 'Executing command:' command
jprocess = Runtime.getRunTime().exec(command)
jscanner = Scanner(jprocess.getInputStream())
loop label scanning while jscanner.hasNext()
say jscanner.nextLine()
end scanning
catch ex = IOException

[edit] NewLISP

(exec "ls")

[edit] Nim

import osproc
let exitCode = execCmd "ls"
let (output, exitCode2) = execCmdEx "ls"

[edit] Objective-C

Works with: GCC

NSTask runs an external process with explicit path and arguments.

void runls()
[[NSTask launchedTaskWithLaunchPath:@"/bin/ls"
arguments:@[]] waitUntilExit];

If you need to run a system command, invoke the shell:

void runSystemCommand(NSString *cmd)
[[NSTask launchedTaskWithLaunchPath:@"/bin/sh"
arguments:@[@"-c", cmd]]

Complete usage example:

Works with: Cocoa

Works with: GNUstep
#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>
void runSystemCommand(NSString *cmd)
[[NSTask launchedTaskWithLaunchPath:@"/bin/sh"
arguments:@[@"-c", cmd]]
int main(int argc, const char **argv)
@autoreleasepool {
return 0;

Or use the C method above.

[edit] OCaml

Just run the command:

Sys.command "ls"

To capture the output of the command:

#load "unix.cma"
let syscall cmd =
let ic, oc = Unix.open_process cmd in
let buf = Buffer.create 16 in
while true do
Buffer.add_channel buf ic 1
with End_of_file -> ());
let _ = Unix.close_process (ic, oc) in
(Buffer.contents buf)
let listing = syscall "ls" ;;

a more complete version which also returns the contents from stderr, and checks the exit-status, and where the environment can be specified:

let check_exit_status = function
| Unix.WEXITED 0 -> ()
| Unix.WEXITED r -> Printf.eprintf "warning: the process terminated with exit code (%d)\n%!" r
| Unix.WSIGNALED n -> Printf.eprintf "warning: the process was killed by a signal (number: %d)\n%!" n
| Unix.WSTOPPED n -> Printf.eprintf "warning: the process was stopped by a signal (number: %d)\n%!" n
let syscall ?(env=[| |]) cmd =
let ic, oc, ec = Unix.open_process_full cmd env in
let buf1 = Buffer.create 96
and buf2 = Buffer.create 48 in
while true do Buffer.add_channel buf1 ic 1 done
with End_of_file -> ());
while true do Buffer.add_channel buf2 ec 1 done
with End_of_file -> ());
let exit_status = Unix.close_process_full (ic, oc, ec) in
check_exit_status exit_status;
(Buffer.contents buf1,
Buffer.contents buf2)
val syscall : ?env:string array -> string -> string * string

[edit] Octave


[edit] Oforth

System cmd("pause")

[edit] Oz

{OS.system "ls" _}

A more sophisticated example can be found here.

[edit] PARI/GP


[edit] Pascal

Works with: Free_Pascal
Library: SysUtils
Program ExecuteSystemCommand;
ExecuteProcess('/bin/ls', '-alh');

[edit] Perl

my @results = qx(ls);
# runs command and returns its STDOUT as a string
my @results = `ls`;
# ditto, alternative syntax
system "ls";
# runs command and returns its exit status; its STDOUT gets output to our STDOUT
print `ls`;
#The same, but with back quotes
exec "ls";
# replace current process with another

Also see: http://perldoc.perl.org/perlipc.html#Using-open()-for-IPC http://perldoc.perl.org/IPC/Open3.html

[edit] Perl 6

run "ls" or die $!; # output to stdout
my @ls = qx/ls/; # output to variable
my $cmd = 'ls';
@ls = qqx/$cmd/; # same thing with interpolation

[edit] PDP-11 Assembly

PDP-11 running Unix

; Execute a file - the equivalent of system() in stdio
; On entry, r1=>nul-terminated command string
; On exit, VS=Couldn't fork
; VC=Forked successfully, r0=return value
trap 2 ; fork()
br CLIchild ; Child process returns here
bcc CLIparent ; Parent process returns here
mov (sp)+,r1
tst (sp)+
sev ; Couldn't fork, set V
rts pc
mov r0,-(sp) ; Save child's PID
trap 7 ; wait()
cmp r0,(sp)
beq CLIfinished
cmp r0,#&FFFF
bne CLIwait ; Loop until child finished
tst (sp)+ ; Drop child's PID
mov r1,r0 ; R0=return value
mov (sp)+,r1 ; Restore R1
tst (sp)+ ; Drop original R0
swab r0 ; Move return value to bottom byte
rts pc
; CLI child process
; -----------------
clr -(sp) ; end of string array
mov r1,-(sp) ; => command string
mov #UXsh3,-(sp) ; => "-c"
mov #UXsh2,-(sp) ; => "sh"
mov #&890B,TRAP_BUF ; exec
mov #UXsh1,TRAP_BUF+2 ; => "/bin/sh"
mov sp,TRAP_BUF+4 ; => pointers to command strings
;mov SV_ENVPTR,TRAP_BUF+6 ; => "PATH=etc"
trap 0 ; indir()
EQUW TRAP_BUF ; exec(shell, parameters)
add #8,sp ; If we get back, we didn't fork, we spawned
mov (sp)+,r1 ; So, restore registers
clr (sp)+ ; and return exit value in R0
rts pc
.UXsh1 EQUS "/bin/sh",0
.UXsh2 EQUS "sh",0
.UXsh3 EQUS "-c",0

So, call with, for example:

mov  #cmd_ls,r1		; => "ls" command string
jsr pc,CLIsystem
.cmd_ls EQUS "ls",0

[edit] Phix

string cmd = {"dir","ls"}[platform()-1]
integer res = system_exec("pause",4)

system_exec allows you to specify whether you want a command shell or not, and whether to wait for a result. In the case of pause, the 4 signifies that we need a shell and we want to wait for it to complete.

[edit] PHP

The first line execute the command and the second line display the output:

echo nl2br($output);

Note:The '@' is here to prevent error messages to be displayed, 'nl2br' translate '\n' chars to 'br' in HTML.


$results = `ls`;
# runs command and returns its STDOUT as a string

# runs command and returns its exit status; its STDOUT gets output to our STDOUT

echo `ls`;
# the same, but with back quotes

# like system() but binary-safe

See also: proc_open()

[edit] PicoLisp

(call "ls")

[edit] Pike

int main(){
// Process.run was added in Pike 7.8 as a wrapper to simplify the use of Process.create_process()
mapping response = Process.run("ls -l");
// response is now a map containing 3 fields
// stderr, stdout, and exitcode. We want stdout.
write(response["stdout"] + "\n");
// with older versions of pike it's a bit more complicated:
Stdio.File stdout = Stdio.File();
Process.create_process(({"ls", "-l"}), ([ "stdout" : stdout->pipe() ]) );
write(stdout->read() + "\n");

[edit] Pop11

The sysobey function runs commands using a shell:


[edit] PowerShell

Since PowerShell is a shell, running commands is the default operation.


are all equivalent (the first two are aliases for the third) but they are PowerShell-native commands. If one really needs to execute dir (which is no program but rather a built-in command in cmd.exe) this can be achieved by

cmd /c dir

[edit] Prolog

Works with: SWI Prolog
Works with: GNU Prolog

[edit] PureBasic

ImportC "msvcrt.lib"
If OpenConsole()
system("dir & pause")
Print(#CRLF$ + #CRLF$ + "Press ENTER to exit")

[edit] Python

import os
exit_code = os.system('ls') # Just execute the command, return a success/fail code
output = os.popen('ls').read() # If you want to get the output data. Deprecated.


Works with: Python version 2.7 (and above)
import subprocess
# if the exit code was non-zero these commands raise a CalledProcessError
exit_code = subprocess.check_call(['ls', '-l']) # Python 2.5+
assert exit_code == 0
output = subprocess.check_output(['ls', '-l']) # Python 2.7+


Works with: Python version 2.4 (and above)
from subprocess import PIPE, Popen, STDOUT
p = Popen('ls', stdout=PIPE, stderr=STDOUT)
print p.communicate()[0]

Note: The latter is the preferred method for calling external processes, although cumbersome, it gives you finer control over the process.


Works with: Python version 2.2 (and above)
import commands
stat, out = commands.getstatusoutput('ls')
if not stat:
print out

[edit] R


[edit] Racket

#lang racket
;; simple execution of a shell command
(system "ls")
;; capture output
(string-split (with-output-to-string (λ() (system "ls"))) "\n")
;; Warning: passing random string to be run in a shell is a bad idea!
;; much safer: avoids shell parsing, arguments passed separately
(system* "/bin/ls" "-l")
;; avoid specifying the executable path
(system* (find-executable-path "/bin/ls") "-l")

[edit] Raven

Back tick string is auto executed:

`ls -la` as listing

Or specifically on any string:

'ls -la' shell as listing

[edit] REBOL

; Capture output to string variable:
x: "" call/output "dir" x
print x
; The 'console' refinement displays the command output on the REBOL command line.
call/console "dir *.r"
call/console "ls *.r"
call/console "pause"
; The 'shell' refinement may be necessary to launch some programs.
call/shell "notepad.exe"

[edit] REXX

Since REXX is a shell scripting language, it's easy to execute commands:

"dir /a:d"

[edit] Ruby

string = `ls`
# runs command and returns its STDOUT as a string
string = %x{ls}
# ditto, alternative syntax
system "ls"
# runs command and returns its exit status; its STDOUT gets output to our STDOUT
print `ls`
#The same, but with back quotes
exec "ls"
# replace current process with another
# call system command and read output asynchronously
io = IO.popen('ls')
# ... later
io.each {|line| puts line}

[edit] Run BASIC

print shell$("ls")  ' prints the returned data from the OS
a$ = shell$("ls") ' holds returned data in a$

[edit] Rust

use std::process::Command;
fn main() {
let output = Command::new("ls").output().unwrap_or_else(|e| {
panic!("failed to execute process: {}", e)
println!("{}", String::from_utf8_lossy(&output.stdout));

[edit] Scala

import scala.sys.process.Process
Process("ls", Seq("-oa"))!

[edit] Scheme

Works with: Guile
Works with: Chicken Scheme
(system "ls")

[edit] Seed7

System commands can make a program unportable. Unix, Linux and BSD use the command ls, while Windows respectively DOS use the command dir. The format written by ls respectively dir depends on operating system and locale. The library osfiles.s7i defines the function readDir, which reads the contents of a directory in a portable way. ReadDir works independend from operating system and locale and supports also Unicode filenames. Anyway, the task was to use a system command, so here is the example:

$ include "seed7_05.s7i";
include "shell.s7i";
const proc: main is func
end func;

[edit] SETL


[edit] Sidef

# Pipe in read-only mode
%p(ls).open_r.each { |line|
print line;
var str1 = `ls`; # backtick: returns a string
var str2 = %x(ls); # ditto, alternative syntax
Sys.system('ls'); # system: executes a command and prints the result
Sys.exec('ls'); # replaces current process with another

[edit] Slate

Run a command normally through the shell:

Platform run: 'ls'.

Run a command (this way takes advantage of the 'does not understand' message for the shell object and calls the Platform run: command above with a specific command):

shell ls: '*.slate'.

[edit] Smalltalk

Smalltalk system: 'ls'.

[edit] Standard ML

Just run the command:

OS.Process.system "ls"

[edit] Tcl

puts [exec ls]

This page uses "ls" as the primary example. For what it's worth, Tcl has built-in primitives for retrieving lists of files so one would rarely ever directly exec an ls command.

It is also possible to execute a system command by "open"ing it through a pipe from whence any output of the command can be read at any (later) time. For example:

set io [open "|ls" r]

would execute "ls" and pipe the result into the channel whose name is put in the "io" variable. From there one could receive it either line by line like this:

set nextline [gets $io]

or read the whole shebang in a fell swoop:

set lsoutput [read $io]

If the command is opened "rw", it is even possible to send it user input through the same handle, though care must be taken with buffering in that case.

[edit] Toka

needs shell
" ls" system


system=SYSTEM ()
IF (system=="WIN") THEN
ELSEIF (system.sw."LIN") THEN
EXECUTE "ls -l"

[edit] UNIX Shell

UNIX shells are designed to run system commands as a default operation.


If one wishes to replace the shell process with some other command (chain into some command with no return) one can use the exec shell built-in command.

exec ls

[edit] Command substitution

One can also capture the command's standard output in a variable.

With Bourne Shell:


With Korn Shell or any modern shell:

  • Note 1: in `ls`, these are "backticks" rather than quotes or apostrophes.
  • Note 2: the $(...) form works in all modern shells, including the Almquist Shell, Bash and any POSIX shell.
  • The old `backticks` can also be used in the newer shells, but their users prefer the $(...) form when discussing such things in e-mail, on USENET, or in other online forums (such as this wiki). The only reason to use `backticks` is in scripts for old Bourne Shell.

The `...` form is difficult to nest, but the $(...) form is very nestable.

output=`expr \`echo hi | wc -c\` - 1`
output=$(expr $(echo hi | wc -c) - 1)

Both forms, `backticks` and $(...), also work inside double-quoted strings. This prevents file name expansion and also prevents word splitting.

echo "Found: `grep 80/tcp /etc/services`"
echo "Found: $(grep 80/tcp /etc/services)"

[edit] C Shell

C Shell also runs system commands, and has an exec built-in command, exactly like Bourne Shell.

ls         # run command, return to shell
exec ls # replace shell with command

`Backticks` are slightly different. When inside double quotes, as "`...`", C Shell splits words at newlines, like "line 1" "line 2" ..., but preserves spaces and tabs.

set output=( "`grep 80/ /etc/services`" )
echo "Line 1: $output[1]"
echo "Line 2: $output[2]"

[edit] Ursala

The library function, ask, parameterized by a shell descriptor, such as bash, spawns a process that interacts with that shell by feeding it a list of commands, and returns a transcript of the interaction.

Note that the output from the spawned process is captured and returned only, not sent to the standard output stream of the parent.

Here is a self-contained command line application providing a limited replacement for the ls command.

#import std
#import cli
#executable ('parameterized','')
myls = <.file$[contents: --<''>]>@hm+ (ask bash)/0+ -[ls --color=no]-!

The color option is needed to suppress terminal escape sequences.

[edit] VBScript

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
objShell.Run "%comspec% /K dir",3,True

[edit] Vedit macro language

system("dir", DOS)

The above does not work on 64-bit Windows versions which do not have 16-bit DOS emulation. In this case, you need to call cmd.exe explicitly:

system('cmd /k "dir"')

[edit] Visual Basic

Shelling out a sub task in Visual Basic is rather a pain if you need to wait for the task to complete, which is probably the usual case. But it is possible.

Attribute VB_Name = "mdlShellAndWait"
Option Explicit
Private Declare Function OpenProcess Lib "kernel32" _
(ByVal dwDesiredAccess As Long, ByVal bInheritHandle As Long, _
ByVal dwProcessId As Long) As Long
Private Declare Function GetExitCodeProcess Lib "kernel32" _
(ByVal hProcess As Long, lpExitCode As Long) As Long
Private Const STATUS_PENDING = &H103&
' Little function go get exit code given processId
Function ProcessIsRunning( processId as Long ) as Boolean
Dim exitCode as Long
Call GetExitCodeProcess(lProcessId, exitCode)
ProcessIsRunning = (exitCode = STATUS_PENDING)
End Function
' Spawn subprocess and wait for it to complete.
' I believe that the command in the command line must be an exe or a bat file.
' Maybe, however, it can reference any file the system knows how to "Open"
' commandLine is an executable.
' expectedDuration - is for poping up a dialog for whatever
' infoText - text for progressDialog dialog

Public Function ShellAndWait( commandLine As String, _
expectedDuration As Integer ) As Boolean
Dim inst As Long
Dim startTime As Long
Dim expirationTime As Long
Dim pid As Long
Dim expiresSameDay As Boolean
On Error GoTo HandleError
'Deal with timeout being reset at Midnight ($hitForBrains VB folks)
startTime = CLng(Timer)
expirationTime = startTime + expectedDuration
expiresSameDay = expirationTime < 86400
If Not expiresSameDay Then
expirationTime = expirationTime - 86400
End If
inst = Shell(commandLine, vbMinimizedNoFocus)
If inst <> 0 Then
pid = OpenProcess(PROCESS_QUERY_INFORMATION, False, inst)
Do While ProcessIsRunning( pid)
If Timer > expirationTime And (expiresSameDay Or Timer < startTime) Then
Exit Do
End If
ShellAndWait = True
MsgBox ("Couldn't execute command: " & commandLine)
ShellAndWait = False
End If
Exit Function
MsgBox ("Couldn't execute command: " & commandLine)
ShellAndWait = False
End Function
Sub SpawnDir()
ShellAndWait("dir", 10)
End Sub

[edit] Wart

system "ls"

[edit] zkl

System.cmd(System.isWindows and "dir" or "ls")

[edit] ZX Spectrum Basic

The ZX Spectrum uses a ROM based basic interpreter, so every statement within the program is a system command. If a command without a line number is typed, whilst the computer is in a ready state, the command gets executed immediately:

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