Automatically re-execute a command by a given time interval in bash

There are several use cases where we need to execute a command every 5 seconds or so. Typical examples are watching dynamic directory content, monitoring how a file grows, monitoring disk/memory/CPU usage. In such cases you have to type over and over one command. Here are two examples how to automate this.

Plain old endless loop

The first option is just loop over and over while executing the command and sleep for a couple of seconds before iterations. Here's a sample that lists the content of /some/dir every 3 seconds:

while true;
    ls -al /some/dir
    sleep 3

The watch program

There's a dedicated program which does pretty much the same as above - watch. Just append you command and you're done. It also displays fancy header with the actual command, time interval and last refresh time. This example checks the free space every ten seconds:

watch -n 10 df -h


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This page was last modified on 2024-02-28 04:55:08