I am trying to print git clone progress in a minimalistic way for my project.


Instead of printing a whole git clone output on screen

remote: Enumerating objects: 1845678, done.        
remote: Counting objects: 100% (503/503), done.        
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (79/79), done.        
Receiving objects:  28% (54112/1845678), 10.10 MiB | 2.00 MiB/s

I want to abstract the lengthy lines of git output and only output the realtime progress of the clone in this format:

Cloning [$percentage]

What I have got so far

git clone --progress https://somerepo 2>&1 |tee gitclone.file | tr \\r \\n | total="$(awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}')" | echo "$total"

Note: Since git clone only returns to stderr stream, I have redirected it to stdout stream. Even with the redirection I faced few issues, so I used progress option on git command.

I wanted to store output on the file (for debugging script) without disturbing stdout stream, so I used tee command. Since git clone returns \r instead of \n, I have replaced it to capture the output in proper manner. For more info on this part you can take a look at this question and its answer Git produces output in realtime to a file but I'm unable to echo it out in realtime directly in a while loop

Then I pick a line which has the keyword Receiving objects and print/store third keyfield value of that line.

What is my problem

My command is working fine if I am not storing output of awk and just printing it on screen:

git clone --progress https://somerepo 2>&1 |tee gitclone.file | tr \\r \\n | awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}'

But, I am unable to store the awk output in a shell variable and echo it back:

git clone --progress https://somerepo 2>&1 |tee gitclone.file | tr \\r \\n | total="$(awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}')" | echo "$total"

So what could be a possible solution for this issue?

3 Answers 3


As the bash manual says:

Each command in a pipeline is executed as a separate process (i.e., in a subshell).

So, the output saved in the total variable is lost when the sub-shell exits. You can see this if you run this:

git clone --progress https://somerepo |& tee gitclone.file \
| tr \\r \\n | { total="$(awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}')" ; \
 echo "$total" ; }

Since the variable total is lost after the above command line (i.e. pipe of commands) is finished, you should put the whole line into the "command substitution" parentheses like this:

total=$(git clone --progress https://somerepo |& tee gitclone.file | tr \\r \\n | awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}')
echo "$total"

However, if you want the pipeline (starting with the git command) to be run in the background, then you have to redirect awk's output to a file and later read that file. For example:

git ... >"$tmpfile" &
# ...
# Do other stuff...
# ...
wait # for background process to complete.
total=$(cat "$tmpfile")
rm "$tmpfile"
echo "$total"

A hint: To redirect stdout and stderr of the git command to the tee command you can use the |& shorthand like this: git clone --progress https://somerepo |& tee gitclone.file | ...

  • Hello, Thanks for time and efforts. But i am still not getting the output through total variable.Since i need to run perform this operation i have ran ur suggested command in background like below. total=$(git clone --progress somerepo 2>&1 |tee gitclone.file | tr \\r \\n | awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}')& echo "$total" So is there any other way we i could try. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 9:46
  • @EswarReddy remove the & - if you send it to the background, the whole thing will be done in a subshell and the parent shell won't see changes in the variable.
    – muru
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 9:50
  • Thanks for the suggestion muru.I totally agree with you. But if i run this command on foreground i won't get terminal until the clone is completed right?. I need to do clone and print the progress on the same terminal. So can i pipe the echo command. like this total=$(git clone --progress somerepo 2>&1 |tee gitclone.file | tr \\r \\n | awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}')|echo "$total Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 9:59
  • 1
    Your requirement is not clear: You need to run the command in the background, but obtain the value in total when? You cannot do this as long as the command is not finished. Please, edit your question and make it more clear.
    – FedKad
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 10:30
  • Hello Fed, I have editied my question aim part.Please havea look at it Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 11:31

I think that the problem is with git's output. I does not complete new lines while rewriting the "Receiving objects:" line.

You can tell this is the case by looking at the output of

GIT_FLUSH=1 git clone --progress $repo 2>&1 | cat -bu

You will not see line numbers after the first occurance of the "Receiving" line. Here is an example where i pipe the output into "od" to make the \r and \n visible:

0000200                   \n                       4  \t   R   e   c   e
0000220    i   v   i   n   g       o   b   j   e   c   t   s   :        
0000240        0   %       (   1   /   1   1   0   3   8   )  \r   R   e
0000260    c   e   i   v   i   n   g       o   b   j   e   c   t   s   :
0000300                0   %       (   4   9   /   1   1   0   3   8   )
0000320    ,       8   .   8   8       M   i   B       |       2   .   8
0000340    4       M   i   B   /   s  \r 

A program that reads input line by line (like awk) will not see those lines until git is finished.

  • Ya....if possible, can you suggest me a possible workaround. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 11:32
  • You could try changing RS (the input record separator in AWK) from newline to carriage return: BEGIN { RS="\r" }
    – neuhaus
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 11:38

You've fundamentally got a pipeline buffering issue. The input and/or output buffers used by the programs in the pipeline are too big. Fortunately there is a way to tell each program in the pipeline to buffer only one line.

This is the program you need: https://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/bionic/man1/unbuffer.1.html.

It's installed by default in Ubuntu Desktop, I think, but if not:

sudo apt install expect

Then you can include the unbuffer command in your pipeline to solve the problem:

REPO_URL = https://something or git@something
unbuffer git clone --progress $REPO_URL 2>&1 | \
  unbuffer  -p tr \\r \\n | \
  { awk '/Receiving objects/{print $3}' ;  echo "$total" ; }

It prints 0%, 1%, ...100%, then because "total" is the last of those, prints 100% again, and it does so as the progress progresses, not all at the end or in large chunks.

  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .