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I feed mplayer with file list from another command:

beet ls somequery -p | xargs -d '\n' mplayer

When invoked this way, mplayer doesn't react on any standard keys, all I can do is to C-c interrupt it.

  1. Why does this happen?
  2. How to make mplayer behave (without writing any bigger code, no loops, regexp or multiple pipes)?
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James's idea can be implemented without an extra file descriptor:

beet ls QUERY | xargs -d '\n' sh -c 'mplayer "$@" < /dev/tty'

The same approach is suggested in xargs manual page (the last example, spawning copies of emacs).

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  • It seems that BSD version of xargs has an -o (--open-tty) option exactly for that. – denshion Nov 29 '19 at 0:50
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Based on this answer which passes args from find, I came up with the following script:

$ beet ls QUERY | mplayer -playlist /dev/fd/3 3<&0 </dev/tty

Quick explanation as how I understand it: mplayer is told to read /dev/fd/3 as a playlist file. File descriptor 3 (/dev/fd/3) is filled by the standard input (3<&0) from the beet command. And input to mplayer is specified as the controlling terminal (</dev/tty). Because mplayer is reading from a file and not stdin, you can control it with the keyboard.

This works for me under Mac OS 10.8.3.

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