Python – Store output of subprocess.Popen call in a string


I'm trying to make a system call in Python and store the output to a string that I can manipulate in the Python program.

import subprocess
p2 = subprocess.Popen("ntpq -p")

I've tried a few things including some of the suggestions here:

Retrieving the output of

but without any luck.

Best Solution

In Python 2.7 or Python 3

Instead of making a Popen object directly, you can use the subprocess.check_output() function to store output of a command in a string:

from subprocess import check_output
out = check_output(["ntpq", "-p"])

In Python 2.4-2.6

Use the communicate method.

import subprocess
p = subprocess.Popen(["ntpq", "-p"], stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
out, err = p.communicate()

out is what you want.

Important note about the other answers

Note how I passed in the command. The "ntpq -p" example brings up another matter. Since Popen does not invoke the shell, you would use a list of the command and options—["ntpq", "-p"].