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Bash Reference Manual

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3.6.7 Duplicating File Descriptors

The redirection operator
 
[n]<&word
is used to duplicate input file descriptors. If word expands to one or more digits, the file descriptor denoted by n is made to be a copy of that file descriptor. If the digits in word do not specify a file descriptor open for input, a redirection error occurs. If word evaluates to `-', file descriptor n is closed. If n is not specified, the standard input (file descriptor 0) is used.

The operator
 
[n]>&word
is used similarly to duplicate output file descriptors. If n is not specified, the standard output (file descriptor 1) is used. If the digits in word do not specify a file descriptor open for output, a redirection error occurs. As a special case, if n is omitted, and word does not expand to one or more digits, the standard output and standard error are redirected as described previously.


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