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There is no file in my directory called a. I used the command "rm a 2>a" to redirect the standard output error to file a. But when I tried the "ls" command, there is no file called a. Can someone explain this?

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    voting to move to superuser – Ben Voigt Aug 2 '10 at 17:07
  • Well ... what happens when you do not redirect? Is anything printed to stdout? – Fantomas Aug 2 '10 at 17:11
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    Is this merely an academic question? What's your use case for using the same file name both for deletion and capturing the output? – Doug Harris Aug 2 '10 at 18:09
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2>a causes the shell to redirect the standard error stream to a file called a. This file is created before the command is started. rm is then executed. It finds a file called a (already created by the shell) and unlinks it.

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    Right... the file still exists, so that anything rm writes to stderr after calling unlink can go into it, but it no longer has its name. When the process quits, the file finally goes away. – Ben Voigt Aug 2 '10 at 17:17
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a is created bbefore the rm command executes....its as simple as that!

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