How to run a command in your shell until it succeed

mayeu profile image Mayeu Originally published at mayeu.me ・1 min read

I am regularly copying big files over the internet via rsync, and since I am travelling a lot, I don't generally have access to stable internet connection, so I end-up rerunning the command multiple times until it succeeds.

Turns out there is a better way. Of course you could use while and test the return of the command, but that sounds like a lot of work for a ad hoc command. But I am lazy and I recently discovered that an until command exists!

Pretty straightforward to use:

$ until <put your command here>; do echo "Retrying at `date -Iminutes`"; done

So with rsync you get:

$ until rsync -aP src:/path/to/src dest/; do echo "Retrying at `date -Iminutes`"; done

And if you are really lazy, just create an alias (left as an exercise ;) ).

This post was originally published on mayeu.me.

Posted on by:

mayeu profile



🌏 Remote #DevOps & #Automation ⚙️ nerd to hire | 💞 Make love, not #startup 💕 | 🗝️ #CryptoPonyCypherpunkUtopia 🎠 often | In tea I trust 🍵


Editor guide

To maximize laziness, you can make it into a function called retry() and have the rsync command as the first argument.


Yup, but I'm too lazy to maximize my laziness :D

Anyway, if somebody is wondering, something like that should do it (ugly, may be unsafe, you are warned):

function retry() {
  until $1 ;
    echo "Retrying at `date -Iminutes`";

Hey, thank you for your reply :)

This is not really the same, thefuck correct spelling errors of the previous command you do. While using until will perpetually re-run the command until the exit code is 0 (i.e.: until it is a success).

In the case of rsync that allow you to continue the download until it succeed :)