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Using Bash and Python Together

Hello Coders!

Using Bash and Python together to automate tasks on a Linux system is a powerful combination. Bash is the default shell in most Linux distributions, and Python is a versatile scripting language. Thanks for reading!

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Here's a step-by-step guide on how to get started with using them together for automation:

Install Python

Most Linux distributions come with Python preinstalled. You can check the installed Python version by running:

$ python --version
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If Python is not installed or you want to use a specific version, you can install it using your distribution's package manager. For example, on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install python3
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Write Python Scripts

Create Python scripts to perform specific tasks or automation. Python is a versatile language for various automation needs, from file manipulation to web scraping.
You can use Python's built-in libraries or install additional packages as needed.

Here's a simple example of a Python script that prints "Hello, World!" to the terminal:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

print("Hello, World!")
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Make Scripts Executable:

To run Python scripts as executable files from the command line, you need to make them executable. You can do this using the chmod command. For example:

chmod +x
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Use Bash for Script Execution

You can use Bash to call and execute your Python scripts. For instance:


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Pass Command-Line Arguments

You can pass command-line arguments to your Python script from Bash. These arguments can be used to customize the behavior of your script.
In Python, you can access these arguments using the sys.argv list from the sys module. For example:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import sys

if len(sys.argv) > 1:
    print("Hello, " + sys.argv[1] + "!")
    print("Hello, World!")
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When calling this script from Bash, you can provide a name as an argument: ./ Alice will print "Hello, Alice!"

Automate Common Tasks

Identify tasks you want to automate on your Linux system. These tasks can range from file operations, backups, system maintenance, and more.

Write Python scripts that perform these tasks, and use Bash scripts to schedule them with tools like cron for regular execution.

Error Handling and Logging

Implement error handling and logging in your Python scripts to capture and handle exceptions gracefully. This ensures that you can troubleshoot issues and monitor the automation process effectively.

Security Considerations

Be mindful of security when automating tasks. Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords in plain text within your scripts. Instead, use secure methods like environment variables or encrypted files.

Testing and Debugging

Test your scripts thoroughly in a safe environment before deploying them for production use. Use debugging tools available in both Bash and Python to troubleshoot issues.

✅ More Advanced Samples

Here are a few more advanced examples of using Bash and Python together for automation on a Linux system:

Automated Backup Script

This script combines Bash and Python to create an automated backup system. It identifies files to back up, compresses them, adds a timestamp, and stores them in a specified backup directory.


# Define backup directory and create it if it doesn't exist
mkdir -p $backup_dir

# Create a timestamp for the backup
timestamp=$(date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S)

# Define directories to back up

# Archive and compress the source directory
tar -czf $backup_dir/backup_$timestamp.tar.gz -C $source_dir .

# Optionally, remove old backups to save space
find $backup_dir -type f -mtime +7 -exec rm {} \;
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Automated System Monitoring Script

This script uses Bash to collect system information and Python to send notifications.
It periodically checks system metrics like CPU usage, memory usage, and disk space and sends an email notification if any metrics exceed predefined thresholds.


# Define threshold values

# Get system metrics
cpu_usage=$(top -b -n 1 | awk '/%Cpu/{print $2}')
memory_usage=$(free -m | awk '/Mem/{printf("%.2f", $3/$2*100)}')
disk_space=$(df -h / | awk '/\//{print $5}' | sed 's/%//')

# Check and send notifications if thresholds are exceeded
if (( $(echo "$cpu_usage > $max_cpu_usage" | bc -l) )); then
    python3 "High CPU Usage Alert: $cpu_usage%"

if (( $(echo "$memory_usage > $max_memory_usage" | bc -l) )); then
    python3 "High Memory Usage Alert: $memory_usage%"

if (( $(echo "$disk_space < $min_disk_space" | bc -l) )); then
    python3 "Low Disk Space Alert: $disk_space%"
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In this script, is a Python script that sends email or other types of notifications using libraries like smtplib.

Web Scraping and Data Analysis Script

This script uses Python's BeautifulSoup library for web scraping and data analysis. It fetches data from a website, parses it, and performs data analysis or visualization tasks.

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import requests
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
import pandas as pd
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

# Define the URL to scrape
url = ""
response = requests.get(url)

# Parse HTML content
soup = BeautifulSoup(response.text, "html.parser")

# Extract and process data
data = []
for item in soup.find_all("div", class_="data-item"):
    value = item.find("span", class_="value").text
    label = item.find("span", class_="label").text
    data.append((label, float(value)))

# Create a DataFrame
df = pd.DataFrame(data, columns=["Label", "Value"])

# Plot data["Label"], df["Value"])
plt.title("Data Visualization")

# Save or display the plot
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These advanced examples demonstrate the flexibility and power of combining Bash and Python for automation on a Linux system.

Critical Files Monitoring

Monitoring critical files for changes and sending email notifications when edits occur can be a valuable security and auditing measure. Here's a Bash and Python script combination to achieve this:

Bash Script (

This Bash script will periodically check the critical files for changes using their checksums (MD5 in this example). If a change is detected, it will trigger a Python script to send an email notification.


# Define the critical files to monitor

# Store the initial checksums
md5sum1=$(md5sum "$file1")
md5sum2=$(md5sum "$file2")

while true; do
    # Calculate the current checksums
    current_md5sum1=$(md5sum "$file1")
    current_md5sum2=$(md5sum "$file2")

    # Compare checksums to detect changes
    if [[ "$md5sum1" != "$current_md5sum1" ]]; then
        python3 "Change detected in $file1 by $(whoami)"

    if [[ "$md5sum2" != "$current_md5sum2" ]]; then
        python3 "Change detected in $file2 by $(whoami)"

    # Adjust the sleep interval (e.g., 5 minutes)
    sleep 300
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Python Script (

This Python script sends email notifications when changes are detected. It uses the smtplib library to send emails via SMTP. You'll need to configure your SMTP server and credentials.

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import smtplib
from email.mime.text import MIMEText
from email.mime.multipart import MIMEMultipart

# Email configuration
sender_email = ""
receiver_email = ""
password = "your_email_password"
smtp_server = ""
smtp_port = 587

# Create the email message
subject = "File Change Alert"
body = "A change was detected in one of the critical files."
msg = MIMEMultipart()
msg['From'] = sender_email
msg['To'] = receiver_email
msg['Subject'] = subject
msg.attach(MIMEText(body, 'plain'))

# Send the email
    server = smtplib.SMTP(smtp_server, smtp_port)
    server.login(sender_email, password)
    server.sendmail(sender_email, receiver_email, msg.as_string())
    print("Email sent successfully.")
except Exception as e:
    print("Email sending failed:", str(e))
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  1. Replace the paths to your critical files in the Bash script.
  2. Configure the email settings (sender_email, receiver_email, password, SMTP server, and SMTP port) in the Python script.
  3. For security reasons, it's recommended to use an application-specific password if you're using Gmail or a similar email service.
  4. You may need to allow less secure apps to access your Gmail account if you're using Gmail for sending emails.

This combination of Bash and Python scripts will monitor the specified files and send an email notification whenever a change is detected, including the user who made the edit.

In summary, By combining the power of Bash and Python, you can automate a wide range of tasks on your Linux system, making your administration and workflow more efficient.

Remember to continuously improve and refine your automation scripts based on your evolving needs.


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Top comments (6)

felipearcaro profile image
Felipe Arcaro

This is great content! I've tried combining Python and Bash in the past and it worked great - the only problem I ran into was that, depending on the script, I would have to use sudo and type my user's password. That became annoying when I added the script to a crontab but I am sure there are many workarounds.

sm0ke profile image

Ty Felipe!

Noted your use case. Regarding the CLI authentication, I've used .netrc in the past.

dedsyn4ps3 profile image
Ed Rutherford

Nice work!

For a long time I tended to use Python for most scripting tasks until feeling more comfortable writing Bash, but still use both regularly together!

I actually use a similar notification script as a cronjob on one of my cloud instances to run certain backup and alerting tasks!

sm0ke profile image

cool. Ty for reading Ed.

devsecbbs_dev profile image

i appreciate your writing. but, can't i just use system command execution is python & do all those stuff?...

sm0ke profile image

Hello! The same thing can be done in BASH, or Python, but sometimes you might need to use the best from both.

  • Regarding file processing, crawling .. and other things that require more code, I prefer Python (cURL is also nice, but using requests is better IMO)

  • For native support, BASH is king.