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SC2002: when cat is on a line on its own, suggest putting the redirection before the command instead #1640

pabs3 opened this issue Jul 14, 2019 · 0 comments


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commented Jul 14, 2019

For bugs

  • Rule Id: SC2002
  • My shellcheck version: 0.5.0

Here's a snippet or screenshot that shows the problem:

cat file |
tr '[:cntrl:]' '?' |
sort |
uniq -c

Here's what shellcheck currently says:

In line 2:
cat file |
    ^-- SC2002: Useless cat. Consider 'cmd < file | ..' or 'cmd file | ..' instead.

Here's what I wanted or expected to see:

In line 2:
cat file |
tr '[:cntrl:]' '?' |
    ^-- SC2002: Useless cat. Consider this instead:
< file \
cmd |


Having the filename first is more aesthetically pleasing, especially with multi-line pipelines, which is why many people use cat, but they don't know about "< file cmd" redirections so then end up with useless-use-of-cat.

I'm not sure about the multi-line suggestion, but I think a quoted string would be more confusing due to the line continuation character and then escaped newline: "< file \ncmd".

The rule's wiki page does put the filename before the command in one case, but doesn't have a multi-line case and the suggestions ShellCheck produces for SC2002 should reflect the multi-line case.

I found some discussion about this on StackOverflow.

I can't check because it uses JavaScript.

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