What's the difference between semicolon and double ampersand &&
What is the difference between
echo "Hello " ; echo "world"
echo "Hello " && echo "world"
Both seems to run the two commands after each other.
echo "Hello" ; echo "world" means sequentially run
echo "world" no matter the exit status of the previous command
echo "Hello". In other words,
echo "world" will run irrespective of success or failure of the prior command
In case of
echo "Hello" && echo "world",
echo "world" will only run if the first command (
echo "Hello") is a success (i.e. exit status 0). This is called short circuit evaluation.
The following examples show how the shell handles command chaining with different operators:
$ false ; echo "OK" OK $ true ; echo "OK" OK $ false && echo "OK" $ true && echo "OK" OK $ false || echo "OK" OK $ true || echo "OK" $
The final case doesn’t print
OK because it was short circuited by
; is a separator,
&& is logical AND,
|| is logical OR (read more here).
In addition to @heemayl’s answer,
&& (and also
||) will result in the shell only handling a single exit code for all the chained commands. So if you have a
trap [...] ERR or
set -o errexit line it will process all the commands before doing the exit code handling.
Every command in Linux returns an exit code when it finishes running. The exit code is assigned to a special variable
?, so you can easily check the status of last command, e.g. by
echo $?. This is often utilised in scripts. If the command finishes successfully, it returns an exit code 0, whereas if there are any errors during the execution, the exit status is non-zero. See example below:
$ echo "Hello" Hello $ echo $? 0 $ rm nonexistent-file rm: cannot remove ‘nonexistent-file’: No such file or directory $ echo $? 1
Now, this leads us to your question. The
&& is a special operator that says ‘execute the next command only if the previous command was successful, i.e. returned with an exit code of zero’. There is also a reverse operator
||, which only executes the following command if the previous command failed, i.e. exited with non-zero. See example below:
$ echo "Hello" && echo "Previous command was successful" Hello Previous command was successful $ rm nonexistent-file && echo "This will not be printed" rm: cannot remove ‘nonexistent-file’: No such file or directory $ rm nonexistent-file || echo "But this will be shown" rm: cannot remove ‘nonexistent-file’: No such file or directory But this will be shown
EDIT: The qustion was about the difference betweem
; so for this to be a full answer I need to add that a semicolon simply divides one command from another. No checking of the exit code takes place, so if you have several commands separated by semicolons, they are simply executed sequentially, i.e. one after another, completely independently from each other.