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Script command

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The script  command makes a copy (type script) of a terminal session. It probably would be better called carboncopy. The most common use of script  is to document terminal session. By running script  you log all the information displayed on your terminal. You can then print the log file or view it with an editor. In a way script is a specialized tee for the shell.

When you run script  a new shell is forked. This new shell makes a complete copy of everything displayed on your terminal. It reads standard input and output for your terminal tty and stores the data in a file. The default filename is typescript.

To exit from a script  session you simply press Ctrl-D  or type exit.

Format of the script command.

script [ -a ] [ typescript_file ]


-a  Append the output of scriptto file. Normally script begins writing to a new file; if the file exists it is overwritten unless you specify the -a option. This is the only option present in all versions of Unix.

Gnu version (Linux) has three additional options

Flush output after each write. This is nice for telecooperation: One person does `mkfifo foo; script -f foo' and another can supervise real-time what is being done using `cat foo'.
Be quiet.
Output timing data to standard error. This data contains two fields, separated by a space. The first field indicates how much time elapsed since the previous output. The second field indicates how many characters were output this time. This information can be used to replay typescripts with realistic typing and output delays.

typescript file specifies output file. If no output file is specified, the output of scriptis placed in the file named typescript

 If  applications with cursor control were used, control characters will reside in the output file produced by script. Therefore, if you send the file to a printer or terminal, it may not print or display properly. You can use the col command to remove control characters from the typescript file.

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[Oct 01, 2017] How to Use Script Command To Record Linux Terminal Session

Oct 01, 2017 |

How to Use "Script" Command To Record Linux Terminal Session May 30, 2014 By Pungki Arianto Updated June 14, 2017 Facebook Google+ Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn StumbleUpon Reddit Email This script command is very helpful for system admin. If any problem occurs to the system, it is very difficult to find what command was executed previously. Hence, system admin knows the importance of this script command. Sometimes you are on the server and you think to yourself that your team or somebody you know is actually missing a documentation on how to do a specific configuration. It is possible for you to do the configuration, record all actions of your shell session and show the record to the person who will see exactly what you had (the same output) on your shell at the moment of the configuration. How does script command work?

script command records a shell session for you so that you can look at the output that you saw at the time and you can even record with timing so that you can have a real-time playback. It is really useful and comes in handy in the strangest kind of times and places.

The script command keeps action log for various tasks. The script records everything in a session such as things you type, things you see. To do this you just type script command on the terminal and type exit when finished. Everything between the script and the exit command is logged to the file. This includes the confirmation messages from script itself.

1. Record your terminal session

script makes a typescript of everything printed on your terminal. If the argument file is given, script saves all dialogue in the indicated file in the current directory. If no file name is given, the typescript is saved in default file typescript. To record your shell session so what you are doing in the current shell, just use the command below

# script shell_record1
Script started, file is shell_record1

It indicates that a file shell_record1 is created. Let's check the file

# ls -l shell_*
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Jun 9 17:50 shell_record1

After completion of your task, you can enter exit or Ctrl-d to close down the script session and save the file.

# exit
Script done, file is shell_record1

You can see that script indicates the filename.

2. Check the content of a recorded terminal session

When you use script command, it records everything in a session such as things you type so all your output. As the output is saved into a file, it is possible after to check its content after existing a recorded session. You can simply use a text editor command or a text file command viewer.

# cat shell_record1 
Script started on Fri 09 Jun 2017 06:23:41 PM UTC
[root@centos-01 ~]# date
Fri Jun 9 18:23:46 UTC 2017
[root@centos-01 ~]# uname -a
Linux centos-01 3.10.0-514.16.1.el7.x86_64 #1 SMP Wed Apr 12 15:04:24 UTC 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
[root@centos-01 ~]# whoami
[root@centos-01 ~]# pwd
[root@centos-01 ~]# exit

Script done on Fri 09 Jun 2017 06:25:11 PM UTC

While you view the file you realize that the script also stores line feeds and backspaces. It also indicates the time of the recording to the top and the end of the file.

3. Record several terminal session

You can record several terminal session as you want. When you finish a record, just begin another new session record. It can be helpful if you want to record several configurations that you are doing to show it to your team or students for example. You just need to name each recording file.

For example, let us assume that you have to do OpenLDAP , DNS , Machma configurations. You will need to record each configuration. To do this, just create recording file corresponding to each configuration when finished.

# script openldap_record
    configuration step
# exit

When you have finished with the first configuration, begin to record the next configuration

# script machma_record
     configuration steps
# exit

And so on for the other. Note that if you script command followed by existing filename, the file will be replaced. So you will lost everything.

Now, let us imagine that you have begun Machma configuration but you have to abort its configuration in order to finish DNS configuration because of some emergency case. Now you want to continue the machma configuration where you left. It means you want to record the next steps into the existing file machma_record without deleting its previous content; to do this you will use script -a command to append the new output to the file.

This is the content of our recorded file

Now if we want to continue our recording in this file without deleting the content already present, we will do

# script -a machma_record
Script started, file is machma_record

Now continue the configuration, then exit when finished and let's check the content of the recorded file.

Note the new time of the new record which appears. You can see that the file has the previous and actual records.

4. Replay a linux terminal session

We have seen that it is possible to see the content of the recorded file with commands to display a text file content. The script command also gives the possibility to see the recorded session as a video. It means that you will review exactly what you have done step by step at the moment you were entering the commands as if you were looking a video. So you will playback/replay the recorded terminal session.

To do it, you have to use --timing option of script command when you will start the record.

# script --timing=file_time shell_record1
Script started, file is shell_record1

See that the file into which to record is shell_record1. When the record is finished, exit normally

# exit
Script done, file is shell_record1

Let's see check the content of file_time

# cat file_time 
0.807440 49
0.030061 1
116.131648 1
0.226914 1
0.033997 1
0.116936 1
0.104201 1
0.392766 1
0.301079 1
0.112105 2
0.363375 152

The --timing option outputs timing data to the file indicated. This data contains two fields, separated by a space which indicates how much time elapsed since the previous output how many characters were output this time. This information can be used to replay typescripts with realistic typing and output delays.

Now to replay the terminal session, we use scriptreplay command instead of script command with the same syntax when recording the session. Look below

# scriptreplay --timing=file_time shell_record1

You will that the recorded session with be played as if you were looking a video which was recording all that you were doing. You can just insert the timing file without indicating all the --timing=file_time. Look below

# scriptreplay file_time shell_record1

So you understand that the first parameter is the timing file and the second is the recorded file.


The script command can be your to-go tool for documenting your work and showing others what you did in a session. It can be used as a way to log what you are doing in a shell session. When you run script, a new shell is forked. It reads standard input and output for your terminal tty and stores the data in a file.

The Unix script command

script is a standard Unix command that records a script of your interaction with the Unix system. Once it's started, it works "in the background", meaning that you continue to work normally, but the script session is dumping everything that shows up on your screen (more or less*) into some file. To start a script session, issue the command script to the Unix shell; then continue on working normally as long as you like. If you don't provide a file name to the script command, it places its output in a default file named typescript, but for CS125, I recommend you name your script file hwn.txt, where n is the number of the programming assignment you're doing. Whatever you do, do not use the name of your program's source code file as the filename for the output of the script command. If you type script hello.c, the output from the script command will overwrite and destroy whatever used to be in hello.c

When you decide you don't need to record stuff anymore, exit from the scripting session by issuing the command exit to the Unix shell. Here's a picture and some further discussion:

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Script makes a typescript of everything printed on your terminal. It is useful for students who need a hardcopy record of an interactive session as proof of an assignment, as the typescript file can be printed out later with lpr(1).

If the argument file is given, script saves all dialogue in file If no file name is given, the typescript is saved in the file typescript


Append the output to file or typescript retaining the prior contents.
Flush output after each write. This is nice for telecooperation: One person does `mkfifo foo; script -f foo' and another can supervise real-time what is being done using `cat foo'.
Be quiet.
Output timeing data to standard error. This data contains two fields, separated by a space. The first field indicates how much time elapsed since the previous output. The second field indicates how many characters were output this time. This information can be used to replay typescripts with realistic typing and output delays.

The script ends when the forked shell exits (a control-D to exit the Bourne shell ( sh(1)) and exit , logout or control-d (if ignoreeof is not set) for the C-shell, csh(1)).

Certain interactive commands, such as vi(1), create garbage in the typescript file. Script works best with commands that do not manipulate the screen, the results are meant to emulate a hardcopy terminal.


Makes a typescript of a terminal session.

script [ -a ] [ File ]

-a Appends the typescript to the specified file or to the typescript file.

The script command makes a typescript of everything displayed on your terminal. The typescript is written to the file specified by the File parameter. The typescript can later be sent to the line printer. If no file name is given, the typescript is saved in the current directory with the file name typescript.

The script ends when the forked shell exits.

This command is useful for producing hardcopy records when hardcopy terminals are in short supply. For example, use the script command when you are working on a CRT display and need a hardcopy record of the dialog.

Since the script command sets the SetUserID mode bit, due to security reasons the value of LIBPATH variable is unset when the command is invoked. However, LIBPATH is automatically reset in the forked shell if it is defined in the environment file. For related information, see the exec subroutine.



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