I am attempting to redirect all output of a program (Steam) to /dev/null so it doesn't show up in the terminal.

Here's what I've tried: steam & > /dev/null 2>/dev/null and steam & > /dev/null 2>&1

Neither of which suppress it's messages whatsoever (as far as I can tell.)

My understanding is that & detaches the process from the terminal, and > redirects input/output, with the default/blank > being stdout and 2> being stderr. Are there more outputs than those two? Why am I still seeing output if I'm redirecting all of it away?

1 Answer 1



steam 2>&1 > /dev/null &

2>&1 redirects stderr to stdin, and > /dev/null redirects stdin to /dev/null.

The & to background the process was misplaced. It must go at the end of the line. If placed after steam but before >, nothing from steam will be redirected, though the process will properly background.

  • Can you explain why this should work?
    – Seth
    Mar 28, 2013 at 4:05
  • @Seth: 2>&1 redirects stderr to stdin, and > /dev/null redirects stdin to /dev/null.
    – Adobe
    Mar 28, 2013 at 4:06
  • That works perfectly. My best guess as to what I was doing wrong was redirecting the output of the "&" command, since it was placed right after the command (as opposed to at the end, which backgrounds it and redirects properly.)
    – Gary
    Mar 28, 2013 at 4:07
  • 1
    @Adobe You should edit that into your question :)
    – Seth
    Mar 28, 2013 at 4:10

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