Perl Executing External Commands

There are many ways to execute external commands from Perl. The most commons are:

  • system function
  • exec function
  • backticks (“) operator
  • open function

All of these methods have different behaviour, so you should choose which one to use depending of your particular need. In brief, these are the recommendations:

 

method use if …
system() you want to execute a command and don’t want to capture its output
exec you don’t want to return to the calling perl script
backticks you want to capture the output of the command
open you want to pipe the command (as input or output) to your script

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