xargs - construct argument list(s) and execute utility
xargs [ -t ][[ -x ] -n number ][ -s size ][ utility [ arguments... ]]
The xargs utility reads space, tab, newline and end-of-file delimited arguments from the
standard input and executes the specified utility with them as arguments.
The utility and any arguments specified on the command line are given to the utility upon
each invocation, followed by some number of the arguments read from standard input. The
utility is repeatedly executed until standard input is exhausted.
Spaces, tabs and newlines may be embedded in arguments using single (`` ' '') or double
(``"'') quotes or backslashes (``\''). Single quotes escape all non-single quote charac-
ters, excluding newlines, up to the matching single quote. Double quotes escape all non-
double quote characters, excluding newlines, up to the matching double quote. Any single
character, including newlines, may be escaped by a backslash.
The options are as follows:
-n number Set the maximum number of arguments taken from standard input for each invoca-
tion of the utility. An invocation of utility will use less than number stan-
dard input arguments if the number of bytes accumulated (see the s option)
exceeds the specified size or there are fewer than number arguments remaining
for the last invocation of utility. The current default value for number is
-s size Set the maximum number of bytes for the command line length provided to utility.
The sum of the length of the utility name and the arguments passed to utility
(including /dev/null terminators) will be less than or equal to this number.
The current default value for size is ARG_MAX - 2048.
-t Echo the command to be executed to standard error immediately before it is exe-
-x Force xargs to terminate immediately if a command line containing number argu-
ments will not fit in the specified (or default) command line length.
If no utility is specified, echo(1) is used.
Undefined behavior may occur if utility reads from the standard input.
The xargs utility exits immediately (without processing any further input) if a command
line cannot be assembled, utility cannot be invoked, an invocation of the utility is ter-
minated by a signal or an invocation of the utility exits with a value of 255.
The xargs utility exits with a value of 0 if no error occurs. If utility cannot be
invoked, xargs exits with a value of 127. If any other error occurs, xargs exits with a
value of 1.
The xargs utility is expected to be IEEE Std 1003.2("POSIX") compliant.
June 6, 1993 XARGS(1)