Retrieving the output of subprocess.call()


Question

How can I get the output of a process run using subprocess.call()?

Passing a StringIO.StringIO object to stdout gives this error:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.6/lib/python2.6/subprocess.py", line 444, in call
    return Popen(*popenargs, **kwargs).wait()
  File "/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.6/lib/python2.6/subprocess.py", line 588, in __init__
    errread, errwrite) = self._get_handles(stdin, stdout, stderr)
  File "/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.6/lib/python2.6/subprocess.py", line 945, in _get_handles
    c2pwrite = stdout.fileno()
AttributeError: StringIO instance has no attribute 'fileno'
>>> 
1
243
1/16/2018 7:31:24 PM

Accepted Answer

Output from subprocess.call() should only be redirected to files.

You should use subprocess.Popen() instead. Then you can pass subprocess.PIPE for the stderr, stdout, and/or stdin parameters and read from the pipes by using the communicate() method:

from subprocess import Popen, PIPE

p = Popen(['program', 'arg1'], stdin=PIPE, stdout=PIPE, stderr=PIPE)
output, err = p.communicate(b"input data that is passed to subprocess' stdin")
rc = p.returncode

The reasoning is that the file-like object used by subprocess.call() must have a real file descriptor, and thus implement the fileno() method. Just using any file-like object won't do the trick.

See here for more info.

190
5/6/2014 12:33:11 PM

If you have Python version >= 2.7, you can use subprocess.check_output which basically does exactly what you want (it returns standard output as string).

Simple example (linux version, see note):

import subprocess

print subprocess.check_output(["ping", "-c", "1", "8.8.8.8"])

Note that the ping command is using linux notation (-c for count). If you try this on Windows remember to change it to -n for same result.

As commented below you can find a more detailed explanation in this other answer.


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