How do I execute a program or call a system command in Python?

Better Stack Team
Updated on January 24, 2023

In Python, you can execute a system command using the os.system. However, subprocess.run is a much better alternative. The official also documentation recommends subprocess.run over the os.system.

Let’s look at an example. In the following code, ls command will be executed along with the -la option:

import subprocess

subprocess.run(['ls', '-la'])
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The run method takes an array argument where the first element of the array is the program, you want to call and the rest of the elements are program arguments that will be passed to the program, unlike the c/c++ equivalent exec where the first argument has to be the name of the program. The method also returns an integer value representing the exit code of the called program.

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